- Conference Title: Turkish Marine Sciences Conference
- Date: 31 May – 3 June / 2016
- Location: Middle East Technical University (METU) / Ankara
DMAD was at the Turkish Marine Sciences Conference! Last week, Middle East Technical University (METU) campus in Ankara, Turkey hosted the 2nd Turkish Marine Sciences Conference (http://www.denizbilimlerikonferansi2016.com/) organized by METU Institute of Marine Sciences and Department of Civil Engineering. Scientists from all over Turkey and the world, as well as representatives of governmental bodies and private sector gathered together for two days to share their research and knowledge on a wide variety of marine science related subjects. Aylin, Ersin, Doğa and Ayça from DMAD team attended this year’s conference and Aylin presented DMAD’s work on bottlenose dolphins with a talk titled “Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Turkish Levantine Sea: individual identification, residency patterns and home range”. It was decided that the conference will be held biennially from now on, and we are hoping to be a part of the next one in 2018 and keep on contributing to our knowledge on Turkish seas.
- Conference Title: “Nature knows no boundaries” Rufford Small Grants Foundation Conference
- Date: 21-22 March / 2016
- Location: Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Rufford Foundation, which is our donor of “Combining Research with Education for Cetacean Conservation in Fethiye-Göcek SEPA Turkey” project initiated in 2015, has organized “The Rufford Small Grants” conference in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference started with the motto “Nature knows no boundaries” and from 7 countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Albania and Turkey) more than 85 nature conservation projects representatives came together. In the conference, all participants have shared their experiences on nature conservation projects and we, as DMAD, have also shared our conservation activities in Fethiye-Göcek SPA.
- Conference Title: WCA World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit
- Date: 26 – 30 October / 2015
- Location: Azores, Portugal
Off to the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) conference in the Azores
DMADs first official presence in an international conference happened this past October, where the DMAD’s representatives flew to the Azores Archipelago to attend the World Whale Conference and Whale Heritage Sites Summit, organized by World Cetacean Alliance(WCA).
It was rainy and cloudy when we arrived in Faial Island, but a breath taking view nonetheless. The first day of the conference has just started and everyone is gathered inside the beautiful and old theatre, to attend presentations and workshops on cetacean captivity. There were many organizations present, including Born Free foundation (UK) and Dolphinaria Free Europe (international), together we discussed at length the captivity status of cetacean in a global perspective and we come to understand that Turkey still has a very high number of facilities containing bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and that, there are a large number of individuals captured in the Black Sea, not only for Turkey but for many other parks around the word. The cetacean captivity is big problem, although fading out in some areas of the world it is emerging in others, thus it needs to be dealt with. Now the problems are not only the animals used shows (either for visitors or for reality tv shows), but also there are many animals now being used therapeutic session. The discussions follow with recommendations on how to stop the captivity and what to do with the animals that already are in pools. Moreover, how to address this issue in the media and how to lobby people against dolphinariums were discussed. The workshop followed with ideas on how to deal with captive individuals, either by reintroducing them back into the wild or some other options for the animals incapable of surviving without supervision.
Second day was the day for the elusive beaked whales. DMAD’s work was presented by Elizabeth Atchoi and documented by João Lagoa. It was preceded and followed by several other outstanding presentations where there were detailed accounts of beaked whale research from Portugal to Italy, where they managed to use photo-id technics on beaked whales and delimitate important grounds in the open ocean for these species. Our presentation focused on the recent beaked whale encounters during DMAD’s surveys and previous sighting and stranding information in the Turkish Levantine Basin. There is little data on this geographical area, and so far, inside Antalya Bay these are the only ones. These are very shy and elusive creatures, and very hard to distinguish between individuals or between species (we need to see their faces, and they are seldom out of the water). Work that has been accomplished by our peers in terms of photo-ID and genetic analysis will prove to be inestimable for mapping and understanding of beaked whales, both inside the Mediterranean, and in the whole world. Our results and discussion aligned very well with the other beaked whale researchers, and generally we all agreed to join efforts in combining information and data about these elusive species, in order to get a better picture of the distribution, life history and “quirks” of these amazing animals. All in all, a good day for beaked whales, and DMAD.
The next few days the Whale Heritage Sites Summit took place, and while the trip to the island just across from Faial, Pico Island, was cancelled due to bad weather (the boat couldn’t push through the channel), the summit gathered back again in the theatre, and went on. The Azores presents itself as a beacon for whale watching experience with many species easily reached within a short boat trip, and usually visible from shore. This comes from the fact that this fantastic archipelago is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the mid-Atlantic Ridge, with many seamounts around, and as volcanic islands, the ocean is very deep right close to the shore. The summit was fruitful, and hopefully in the future there will be a global network of sustainable and friendly practices of whale watching, where both humans and cetaceans can enjoy and profit from.