SLOVENIAN DOLPHIN PROJECT
Photos © Morigenos
Slovenian Dolphin Project is a long-term research, monitoring and conservation programme, focusing on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Slovenian and adjacent waters in the northern Adriatic Sea. It is the first systematic and long-term study of any cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Slovenia.
The project was started in 2002, when hardly anything was known about dolphins in Slovenia. In fact, dolphins were not even considered as a regular component of Slovenian fauna. They were thought to be only occasional visitors to our waters. However, through systematic boat surveys, land-based watches and photo-identification, Morigenos team discovered and documented a small, but resident population of bottlenose dolphins in the area. We have been studying and following these dolphins ever since.
Research activities focus on dolphin distribution, abundance, social structure, habitat use, feeding habits, fishery interactions and tourism impact through dedicated boat surveys, land-based watches and theodolite tracking, photo-identification, behavioural observations and passive acoustic monitoring. Research is carried out in Slovenian waters and in the adjacent Italian and Croatian waters, as dolphins are not restricted by national boundaries. Morigenos holds all the necessary research permits for studying dolphins in this area. Apart from research, the project is carrying out extensive education and public awareness activities.
Based on the Slovenian Dolphin Project, the Slovenian authorities have acknowledged the existence of a dolphin population in Slovenian waters and have taken the first steps (however small) towards its conservation. The results of Morigenos research are being used for Slovenia’s reporting to the international agreement ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Neighbouring Atlantic Area) on the status of cetaceans in Slovenia.
The project also provided the scientific baseline for »Expert Recommendations Towards the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Cetaceans in Slovenia«, prepared jointly by the Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation and Morigenos.
The project received the »Ford Environmental and Conservation Award« in 2005.
Some results of scientific research done by Morigenos have been presented in peer-reviewed scientific papers, published in international scientific journals. Papers can be found on the page Scientific publications.