New study on feeding ecology of dolphins in Greece


Morigenos participated in a study investigating the feeding ecology of dolphins in the Gulf of Ambracia in Greece, led by researchers from the University of Barcelona and Tethys Research Institute and published this week in the journal Marine Mammal Science (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/mms.12725). The almost completely enclosed Gulf of Ambracia, in northwestern Greece, hosts a threatened community of about 150 bottlenose dolphins, which are largely separated from neighbouring populations in the Ionian Sea and are being studied by Tethys Research Institute. Until now, information on their feeding habits was derived exclusively from fish scale samples collected during surface‐feeding events by dolphins. But in this study, scientists determined the diet of dolphins using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the tissue samples of dolphins and their prey. Results showed that the dolphin diet was mainly based on Atlantic horse mackerel, annular and striped sea bream, cuttlefish, European anchovy, European pilchard, round sardinella and gobies. The study provides new insights into the feeding ecology of bottlenose dolphins, which can vary substantially among different populations. The study is also important for a better understanding of interactions between marine mammals and fisheries, as some dolphin prey species are also commercially important to fisheries.