Oceanomare Delphis Onlus

Rome, Italy

Oceanomare Delphis Onlus

Rome, Italy
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Carpinelli E.,Information and Research on Cetaceans | Carpinelli E.,Tethys Research Institute | Carpinelli E.,University of Pavia | Gauffier P.,Information and Research on Cetaceans | And 12 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2014

The Mediterranean sperm whale sub-population is considered 'Endangered' by both ACCOBAMS and the IUCN. Conservation policies require protected species populations to be monitored, but the distribution and movements of sperm whales across the Mediterranean Sea are still poorly understood. To provide insight into sperm whale movements, the photo-identification catalogue from the Strait of Gibraltar was compared with seven other collections: (a) the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sperm Whale Catalogue (NAMSC), and with photo-identification catalogues from (b) the Alboran Sea, Spain, (c) the Balearic Islands, Spain, (d) the Corso-Provençal Basin, France, (e) the Western Ligurian Sea, Italy, (f) the Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy, and (g) the Hellenic Trench, Greece. Of 47 sperm whales identified in the Strait of Gibraltar between 1999 and 2011 a total of 15 animals (32%) were photographically recaptured in other sectors of the western Mediterranean Sea in different years. None of the Strait of Gibraltar sperm whales were resighted in Atlantic waters or in the eastern Mediterranean basin. These results indicate long-range movements of the species throughout the whole western Mediterranean Sea, with a maximum straight-line distance of about 1600km. The absence of any photographic recaptures between the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean supports the genetic evidence of an isolated sub-population within the Mediterranean Sea. Long-term photo-identification efforts and data sharing between institutions should be further encouraged to provide basic information necessary for the implementation of effective sperm whale conservation measures in the whole basin. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 24 S1 July 2014 10.1002/aqc.2446 Supplement Article Research Articles Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Fossati C.,University of Pavia | Mussi B.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Tizzi R.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pavan G.,University of Pavia | And 2 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2016

Concern is growing that marine fauna can be affected by noise such as naval sonar, pile driving or geophysical surveys, among others. Literature reports a variety of animal reactions to human noise (from apparently null or negligible to strong). However, conclusive results on its effects on marine mammals at individual and population level are still lacking. In 2015, the Italian Environmental Impact Assessment Commission mandated seismic operators apply a standard scientific protocol comparing marine mammal presence before, during, and after offshore seismic survey. For 60. days before and after the survey, marine mammals are monitored using visual and acoustic methods. One or more acoustic autonomous recorders, depending on area size, must also be deployed throughout the three phases for continuous monitoring. Consistent data gathered from many surveys will enable robust statistical analysis of results. Diffusion of this monitoring method internationally would improve the study of far-reaching, intense, low frequency noise. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Mariani M.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Miragliuolo A.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Mussi B.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Russo G.F.,Parthenope University of Naples | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2016

Risso's dolphins are known for the persistency of their natural markings, possibly due to the loss of pigment during the healing process of skin wounds. Nonetheless, the actual longevity and reliability of each mark type has never been assessed. In this paper, we used photographs to investigate the etiology of skin marks in the species, analyze their distribution and temporal variability, and discuss implications for photo identification. Nineteen mark types were described on the dorsal fin of Risso's dolphin, including 2 new to the literature: the snakelike mark and the protruding fat. Longevity of skin marks ranged from 6 years for the protruding fat to several decades for scrapes and dots. Persistent and reliable marks were notch, tooth-rake, and thick single and parallel scrapes. Mark change was sufficiently low that all mark types could be used for photo identification, provided that backlit or underexposed images were discarded as photographs taken under suboptimal light conditions proved to be unreliable. Finally, mark distribution and variability were unequal between age classes; juveniles were less marked and showed a higher rate of mark change than older individuals so that, even if they possessed enough notches to be classified as reliably marked, they could be confidently matched over a time interval of up to 3 years. © 2016 American Society of Mammalogists.

Pulcini M.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | Pulcini M.,Cts Inc. | Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | La Manna G.,Cts Inc. | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2014

This paper represents the first quantitative assessment of the distribution and abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) inhabiting the waters around Lampedusa Island, Italy. Eleven years of photo-identification data, collected from 1996 to 2006 by three different research groups, were brought together, reviewed and analysed to fulfil the following objectives: (i) to obtain baseline information on the abundance and residency of the local bottlenose dolphin putative population; (ii) to review the current Marine Protected Area (MPA) boundaries, especially those referred to waters around Lampedusa Island, with a view to establish a new Special Area of Conservation (SAC); and (iii) to explore the potential and limits of analysing heterogeneous datasets to improve future data collection methods. The most resident dolphins were regularly observed in six specific areas around Lampedusa Island. From a total of 148 photo-identified bottlenose dolphins, 102 were classified as well-marked. The capture histories and the distribution of sightings clearly show a number of dolphins regularly use the study area. Best estimates for the first period within the 'core study area' were obtained for 1998 data. The 2005 estimate was significantly larger than the 1998 estimates (z = 2.160; P < 0.05) compared to that of 1998. Implications of our results for the current MPA, for transboundary conservation initiative involving Italy, Malta and Tunisia and for directing future research within and outside the MPA are fully discussed. © 2013 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom .

Sartori L.,University of Padua | Bulgheroni M.,Ab.Acus S.r.l. | Tizzi R.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Castiello U.,University of Padua | Castiello U.,Centro Interdisciplinare Beniamino Segre
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2015

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of observing other’s movements on subsequent performance in bottlenose dolphins. The imitative ability of non-human animals has intrigued a number of researchers. So far, however, studies in dolphins have been confined to intentional imitation concerned with the explicit request to imitate other agents. In the absence of instruction to imitate, do dolphins (un)intentionally replicate other’s movement features? To test this, dolphins were filmed while reaching and touching a stimulus before and after observing another dolphin (i.e., model) performing the same action. All videos were reviewed and segmented in order to extract the relevant movements. A marker was inserted post hoc via software on the videos upon the anatomical landmark of interest (i.e., rostrum) and was tracked throughout the time course of the movement sequence. The movement was analyzed using an in-house software developed to perform two-dimensional (2D) post hoc kinematic analysis. The results indicate that dolphins’ kinematics is sensitive to other’s movement features. Movements performed for the “visuomotor priming” condition were characterized by a kinematic pattern similar to that performed by the observed dolphin (i.e., model). Addressing the issue of spontaneous imitation in bottlenose dolphins might allow ascertaining whether the potential or impulse to produce an imitative action is generated, not just when they intend to imitate, but whenever they watch another conspecific’s behavior. In closing, this will clarify whether motor representational capacity is a by-product of factors specific to humans or whether more general characteristics such as processes of associative learning prompted by high level of encephalization could help to explain the evolution of this ability. © 2015 Sartori, Bulgheroni, Tizzi and Castiello.

Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pulcini M.,Instituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale | Triossi F.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus
Behavioral Ecology | Year: 2012

Anthropogenic food patches in the marine environment, such as aquaculture farms and active trawlers, may impact on the behavior of marine mammals through modification of habitats, changes in predation pressure, or alterations in food distribution, availability, and predictability, affecting related social interactions and population demographics. This study examined patterns of association of a population of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) around Lampedusa Island (Italy) during 1996-2006 and tested the hypothesis that the trawl fishery and the presence of an aquaculture farm could affect such patterns. Here, we used measures of association between pairs of individuals to assess this impact on social unit composition/cohesion and some analytical techniques to describe the structure of dolphin social networks and temporal stability of associations. Association information for 71 regularly sighted individuals was obtained from photo-identification surveys within groups observed or not at "feeding stations." We found association patterns between dolphins were nonrandom. The Lampedusa population seems to be arranged into 6 clusters and organized in communities composed of animals that were either never seen in association with feeding stations (N individuals) or those that are (Y individuals), although mixed assemblages were also recorded. Both communities showed long-term preferred companions, with different degrees of social cohesion - as resulted by network measures and temporal analysis. Delineating community structure at Lampedusa Island has offered basic information for further investigations in the area, also providing novel evidences on how disparities in association patterns between bottlenose dolphin individuals may have resulted from a combination of ecological and anthropogenic factors. © The Author 2011.

Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pace D.S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Mussi B.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Mussi B.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2016

An unusual observation of a hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) anchored to a living bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was documented in an encounter with a group of about 80 dolphins during an ongoing long-term research program on cetaceans in the central Mediterranean Sea, Italy. The body of the hagfish was observed extruding from the blowhole of the bottlenose dolphin showing a stereotypical surfacing-breathing pattern. The observation lasted 2h; photo-identification, acoustic, and behavioral data were collected. Succorant behaviors (i.e., "standing by") from conspecifics and overlapping vocalizations during social phases were recorded. The dolphin was encountered again after 1 month in the same area without the hagfish, apparently in healthy conditions. © 2016 American Society of Mammalogists.

Mussi B.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Miragliuolo A.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Zucchini A.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pace D.S.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2014

Boat surveys aimed at studying sperm whales in the Tyrrhenian Sea were conducted between 2002 and 2011. During 768 daily surveys, a total effort of 32602km was achieved within an area of 8800km2 resulting in 92 encounters with 229 sperm whale individuals. Average encounter rates of sperm whales was 0.5 groups per 100km2, with a higher concentration in the vicinity of the submarine canyon of Cuma, confirming the importance for the species of this small hotspot in the Mediterranean Sea. Encounter rates increased with increasing distance from the coast. It is possible that the intense boat traffic and anthropogenic disturbance in the area may be moving animals away from the coast leading to habitat loss. The species-habitat relationship documented in this study has implications for conservation. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Pace D.S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Miragliuolo A.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Mariani M.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2014

The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is one of the eight species of cetaceans routinely encountered in the Mediterranean Sea; however, information on the social organization of sperm whales living in the basin remains scarce. The social behaviour of sperm whales within female units, and groups of males are reported, made over an 11-year period (2002-2012) in waters around the islands of Ischia and Ventotene (Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy), an area characterized by the presence of a submarine canyon system and a coastal marine protected area ('Regno di Nettuno' MPA). Different types of aggregations were identified, consisting of social units and two arrangements of males (bachelor groups and clusters). Close clustering at the surface was recorded both for social units and bachelor groups, with evidence for long-term relationships between females (as expected from other studies) and, surprisingly, also among some immature males. Such long-term associations between individuals in bachelor groups may allow immature males to benefit in several ways, including optimizing feeding efficiency. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Triossi F.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus | Willis T.J.,University of Portsmouth | Pace D.S.,Oceanomare Delphis Onlus
Marine Ecology | Year: 2013

Common bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were surveyed in offshore gas fields off Ravenna, Italy, between Spring and Autumn, 2001-2005. These visual surveys provide the first density estimates of bottlenose dolphins in the Northwestern Adriatic Sea south of the Po River. Since no study has examined the distribution of bottlenose dolphins relative to gas platforms, when dolphins were encountered, their distance from the nearest gas platform was estimated and behaviour was assessed. Dolphins were sighted on ca. 36% of survey trips, which varied in duration from 1 to 6 h. Group size ranged from 1 to ~50 individuals, with no seasonal trend evident in the likelihood of encounter. Dolphin density was estimated to be approximately 80% higher within 750 m of gas platforms, relative to densities >750 m from platforms, although variability around the estimates was high. From a limited number of behavioural observations, slightly higher frequencies of feeding and milling behaviour were observed closer to gas platforms, whereas dolphins observed further away exhibited higher frequencies of socialising and travelling. Gas platforms are known to provide habitat for demersal fishes and act as aggregation points for pelagic fishes, and these data provide some support for the idea that bottlenose dolphins may utilise gas platforms opportunistically as feeding sites. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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