Our research vessels

The BDRI has owned multiple research vessels, initially in Sardinia, Italy (2005-2013), and currently in Galicia, Spain (2014-present). Our vessels consistently meet the range, endurance, and technical requirements essential for supporting marine biology and oceanographic research. Adhering to the highest safety standards and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, our vessels are fully capable of conducting in-depth marine mammal science. Additionally, we occasionally utilize other research vessels for surveys in different study areas.


Presently, we conduct year-round data collection in the southern waters of Galicia, NW Spain. The current BDRI research vessel is stationed at the harbor of O Grove, a convenient 10-minute walk from the BDRI research lab.

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2017-current: "Benur"

In 2017, we acquired our small research vessel, 'Benur,' which has been an essential asset for our coastal research surveys in the Ría de Arousa. Benur is a 5.5-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) that supports our research team in conducting surveys along the coastal waters of the Ría of Arousa. Its high performance, speed (up to 40 knots), and capacity (up to 9 people) make it ideal for close-to-shore research surveys and bioacoustic research.


We primarily collect data on the behavior and ecology of coastal bottlenose dolphins, as well as harbor porpoises, common dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and various marine bird species. Additionally, Benur serves as a platform for teaching field research sampling techniques to our students, interns and volunteers.


Equipped with advanced technology including sonar, GPS, surface water thermometer, anemometer, Secchi disk, compass, refractometer, pH meter, binoculars, digital time recorders, stationary hydrophone with a professional digital recorder, headphones, loudspeakers, photographic and video equipment for both surface and underwater, Benur ensures our data collection is comprehensive. Safety is paramount, and the vessel is equipped with a compass, mobile phone, life jackets, first-aid kit, flashlights, flares and smoke signals, navigation lights, anchor, nautical charts, water pump, and various other safety devices. The research vessel complies with all safety and inspection standards mandated by the Spanish Government and Coast Guard.


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2014-2023: "Tyba III"

In 2013, the BDRI acquired its inaugural Galician research vessel, "Tyba III," which underwent conversion to become suitable for marine research in coastal waters and along the continental shelf. Exclusively owned by the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, its name originates from an Arabic word meaning 'good' and 'pure.' Since its arrival in O Grove in April 2014 until its retirement in October 2023, Tyba III has played a pivotal role in studying the distribution of marine mammals, marine birds, and other megafauna in Galician waters. It has been instrumental in testing and deploying new instruments, such as a drone for studying cetacean behavior, identifying dolphins and whales, and providing hands-on field research sampling techniques for both undergraduate and graduate students.


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Tyba III was a very well-regarded sea boat with good economy and sensible cruising speed thanks to its planing hull. Tyba III is a Princess 37 V Hull (11 m long), the first Princess flybridge motor yacht to be built with high performance inboard diesel Volvo 240Hp engines. Thanks to the folding radar arch it was also well suited to exploring inland waterways or Galician rías, making it a perfect candidate for long term research surveys. Tyba III had 5 berths in 3 cabins with a bathroom and laboratory room included. The boat was equipped with a GPS plotter, radar, echo-sounder and, thanks to the cooperation with scientists from the Marine Research Institute (IIM) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), it was also equipped with an oceanographic station with water samplers for the measurement of nutrients, pollutants, oxygen, chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, sea surface salinity, pH, conductivity plankton net, Secchi disk, and more. It was used by BDRI scientists to conduct oceanographic surveys. Tyba III could accommodate up to 12 people for day trips.



Additionally, the vessel was equipped with VHF, compass, two way radios, mobile phone, lifejackets, first-aid kit, flashlights, flares and smoke signals, navigation lights, bell, life-rings, fire extinguishers, anchor, nautical charts, radio-stereo, water pumps and a number of other safety devices. The research vessel met all safety and inspection standards required by the Spanish Government and Coast Guard.


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2008-2013: "Spartana"

In 2008, the BDRI added its second Italian research vessel, 'Spartana,' to its fleet. This 10-meter wooden research vessel, equipped with two engines, underwent conversion to facilitate marine research in pelagic waters. Utilizing Spartana, we gathered valuable data on the ecology of fin whales, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and striped dolphins along the northeastern shore of Sardinia, Italy.


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2005-2013: "BDRI"

In 2004, at the inception of the BDRI, we acquired our inaugural research vessel, aptly named 'BDRI.' This vessel has been instrumental in our primary focus—studying the population of bottlenose dolphins in the coastal waters of the Gulf of Olbia and Gulf of Congianus in Sardinia, Italy. The 'BDRI' facilitated data collection on dolphin interactions with human activities, especially around marine finfish farms and gillnet fisheries. Additionally, it served as a platform for the study of dolphin communication through bioacoustics. The 'BDRI' was a 5-meter vessel powered by a 40-horsepower outboard motor.


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