- Volunteer: Jesse Poot
- Tittle: Bottlenose Dolphin Behaviour in the Levantine Sea
As part of the animal management study I have done an internship at Deniz Memelileri Araştırma Derneği (Marine Mammals Research Association) also known as DMAD, an NGO from the 3rd of March until the 4th of August. To gain experience in the field of whale & dolphin watching and collecting data, I tried to find a proper project in this field. This includes having to learn how to properly do observations as well as to learn what to look out for and what to avoid.
The research in the bay of Antalya is a pilot study to get an insight of the cetacean presence here. Because there has not been extensive research in this area there is currently a lack of data on cetacean species presence, distribution, behaviour, etc. (Kerem et al., 2014). It is these gaps of information that DMAD is trying to fill by implementing the same type of research used in the previous research in Istanbul. The difference with the research in Istanbul however, was that the presence of different dolphin species was already established. This was not so much the case in the Antalya bay, which is why different methods of collecting the data (i.e. focal- and scan-sampling) were tried to see which method would be more efficient for this research.
As a long-term intern I was tasked with training and supervising new volunteers/interns in fieldwork observation, noting and analyzing collected data and driving to and from the work field. The weekly schedule usually consisted of at least two days of land based survey at both stations; one in the early morning and one in the afternoon and a boat based survey either in the morning or afternoon. Land based survey would be done in two different stations located on the Lara cliffs on the east of the bay and would last 5 hours. From here there is a good overview of the entire bay and therefore perfect for observational work. Boat trips would be taken from different harbors. There is a small harbor in Antalya which was used for boat surveys lasting for 3-5 hours; there is one harbor just outside of Antalya known as the new harbor, which was used for boat surveys lasting for 5-7 hours; finally the harbor in the town of Finike was used for boat surveys lasting for approximately 12 hours.
The other two workdays were filled with entering the collected data, analyzing it and being trained in working with the software. Besides analyzing noted data, we would spend one day a week analyzing photos that were taken on boat surveys to try and match individuals using iMatch software. These photos would then be used to create a database of the individuals that would often be seen in the bay and to find residential animals.
When not in the field, work would be done either in the apartment’s common room or during the last few weeks in the office (the office space was acquired in July).
For my own research I studied the effects that our presence by boat might have on the behaviour of the dolphin pods. Thanks to support and some guidance from the team I was able to use some of the data we collected and get some interesting results for my study.
My time with DMAD was an experience of a lifetime: the team is amazing and will help and support any volunteers/interns in every way they can and I’ve learned a great deal & gained an immense amount of experience while working with them.
- Volunteer: Carine Gansen
- Title: Indirect Short term effects on the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) caused by marine vessels in Antalya Bay, Turkey
I came to Deniz Memelileri Arastırma Dernegi (DMAD) in Antalya, Turkey as an intern for my orientation internship which is part of my study animal management.
Since I was one of the first volunteers we helped setting the project and conducted a pilot study. I learnt a lot about collecting data with a theodolite and using various software (Phytagoras, Logger, imatch, GIS and SPSS). Getting up in the morning or standing for 5 hours in the afternoon heat was a challenge sometimes but when we could finally get a glance at some dolphins in the bay it was totally worth it. The best part of the research were the boat trips which let you enjoy the most beautiful sunsets and give the best opportunity to collect some fin identification data (aka: photos).
The result of my internship was presented in a research article called: “Indirect Short term effects on the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) caused by marine vessels in Antalya Bay, Turkey” which I handed in to my university. While direct effects like injuries are easy to identify indirect effects like change of behaviour, group structure and interactions within a pod are difficult to clarify (Now ACEK & WELLS, 2001). Due to an increasing amount of boats in the seas the noise pollution will increase as well (Lusseau, 2005). According to the results the distance of the research vessel to the bottlenose dolphins affects the behaviour of the focal group significantly.
I thank DMAD for having me and for the support. Hope to see you soon.
Lusseau, D. (2005, 06 23). Residency pattern of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops spp. in Milford Sound, New Zealand, is related to boat traffic. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, pp. 265 –272.
Now ACEK, S. M., & WELLS, R. S. (2001, 10). SHORT-TERM EFFECTS OF BOAT TRAFFIC ON BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS, TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS, IN SARASOTA BAY, FLORIDA. MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, pp. 673-688.
- Volunteer: Johanna Bergman
- Title: Cetacean bycatch in different fishing gears in Antalya Bay
I was a part of the DMAD team during two very hot and fun summer months in July and August 2015. I learned a lot by volunteering for DMAD and it gave me experiences how it is to work with marine mammals in reality: it can be tough and the sea can be quite rough sometimes when you are out on a boat survey. But all the hours you spent with binoculars searching for dolphins out in the blue sea are overcome by beautiful sunrises and sunsets at sea and the feeling when dolphins are bow riding just in front of the boat. With the help from DMAD I was also given the chance to collect field data for my master thesis in marine biology. I did an interview study with fishermen to collect data on cetacean bycatch in different fishing gears in Antalya Bay. I had a great time during my time in Turkey and especially thanks to the DMAD team, a family with people from all around the world that made me feel like home immediately.