Calderones project

ANSE project funded by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge in collaboration with the Azul Marino Foundation
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Phase 3:

Evaluation of the population status of pilot whales

At the Azul Marino Foundation we work in collaboration with the ANSE association in its project Evaluation of the population status of the Pilot whale (Globicephala melas) in the Gulf of Vera and eastern Alboran (GlobalGove). This is done with the support of the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.

The objective is to determine the population status of the pilot whale in the area between Motril and Cabo de Palos, covering the provinces of Granada, Almería and Murcia.

The project consists of several navigation campaigns to collect data on the groups of pilot whales that feed in the deep waters of the submarine canyons of the southern and southeastern coasts of the peninsula. This is an area where this species is most abundant within the Mediterranean.

The photo-identification technique is the key to this project. This technique consists of photographing the dorsal fins of these cetaceans, which show unique marks for each individual.

The analysis of the photos taken in each sighting and subsequent comparison with the corresponding catalog allows for the estimation of population parameters, including number of individuals and survival or mortality, as well as identifying the area used by the individuals being studied.

The updating of the catalogs is essential to accurately monitor their populations.


Threatened species

The main threats to this species in the Mediterranean are noise, disturbances from ships, water pollution by toxic substances and viral diseases: in 2006 and 2007 the Mediterranean population suffered an epidemic of morbillivirus from which recovery was extremely difficult

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