Cetacean density and abundance in the Central and Western Mediterranean Sea


Another freshly accepted paper in the Deep Sea Research Part II Special Issue on European Marine Megafauna. It is currently available online at the link provided below. Enjoy reading. 

Panigada S., Lauriano G., Donovan G. P., Pierantonio N., Cañadas A., Vasquez J. A., Burton L. 2017. Estimating cetacean density and abundance in the Central and Western Mediterranean Sea through aerial surveys: implications for management. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.04.018

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967064517301418

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historical fin whale mortality in the adriatic sea


The following paper is now available online on the Marine Biodiversity Records journal webpage. Reprint requests can be sent to me via email address or through my Research Gate profile.

Pierantonio N., Bearzi G. 2012. Review of fin whale mortality events in the Adriatic Sea (1728–2012), with a description of a previously unreported killing. Marine Biodiversity Records 5: e109.

Abstract – This paper contributes an updated and detailed review of fin whale mortality events in the Adriatic Sea, encompassing four centuries. A total of 17 events, all referring to single animals, were validated through a content review of historical and recent information. Mortality events in the area mostly involved dead animals (N = 12; 70.6%), with 2 whales live-stranded (11.8%) and 3 killed (17.6%). Most records (70.6%) are for the last century, likely due to improved reporting. We provide a detailed description of the previously unpublished killing of an adult male fin whale which occurred in 1960 in the central-western portion of the basin.

historical fin whale mortality in the adriatic sea, italy


The following paper authored by me and Dr. Giovanni Bearzi (Dolphin Biology and Conservation) has been recently accepted for publication in the Marine Biodiversity Records Journal. The paper will be available online on the journal web page or, if you prefer, you can send your requests for reprints directly to me or through my Research Gate profile page

Pierantonio N., Bearzi G. 2012. Review of fin whale mortality events in the Adriatic Sea (1728—2012), with a description of a previously unreported killing. Marine Biodiversity Records. doi:10.1017/S1755267212000930.

tracking fin whales in the mediterranean sea


(c) Tethys Research Institute

Are Mediterranean fin whales migrating in winter like other whales do in the oceans, or do they behave differently, given the fact that they belong to a substantially isolated population in an environment that differs to that of oceanic ones? Tethys’ researchers hope to answer the question in the next few weeks.

For the first time Tethys has been able to deploy satellite transmitters on several fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary. The project aims to enable the identification of areas in need of special protection: to assess breeding grounds is an important goal for the conservation of the population. Moreover potential migratory routes may be added to maritime traffic information, because collisions with vessels represent a serious threat for fin whales in particular.

Seven individuals have been equipped with a special transmitter each, enabling them to regularly bestow their position through the Argos Satellite system, based on 6 orbiting satellites.

The whale’s itinerary may be followed on a dedicated page upon registration. The maps tracing the various movements will be updated weekly.

striped dolphin and fin whale abundance in the pelagos sanctuary


The following paper has just been published on PLos ONE journal and can be downloaded for free.

Panigada S, Lauriano G, Burt L, Pierantonio N, Donovan G (2011) Monitoring Winter and Summer Abundance of Cetaceans in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea) Through Aerial Surveys. PLoS ONE 6(7): e22878. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022878

Abstract – Systematic long-term monitoring of abundance is essential to inform conservation measures and evaluate their effectiveness. To instigate such work in the Pelagos Sanctuary in the Mediterranean, two aerial surveys were conducted in winter and summer 2009. A total of 467 (131 in winter, 336 in summer) sightings of 7 species was made. Sample sizes were sufficient to estimate abundance of fin whales in summer (148; 95% CI = 87–254) and striped dolphins in winter (19,462; 95% CI = 12 939–29 273) and in summer (38 488; 95% CI = 27 447–53 968). Numbers of animals within the Sanctuary are significantly higher in summer, when human activities and thus potential population level impacts are highest. Comparisons with data from past shipboard surveys suggest an appreciable decrease in fin whales within the Sanctuary area and an appreciable increase in striped dolphins. Aerial surveys proved to be more efficient than ship surveys, allowing more robust estimates, with smaller CIs and CVs. These results provide essential baseline data for this marine protected area and continued regular surveys will allow the effectiveness of the MPA in terms of cetacean conservation to be evaluated and inform future management measures. The collected data may also be crucial in assessing whether ship strikes, one of the main causes of death for fin whales in the Mediterranean, are affecting the Mediterranean population.