Lectures on Cetaceans
IDP team is a direct medium for awareness actions. With the confidence of volunteers and intimate knowledge of the environment, they can actively present educational materials and discuss conservation issues. They directly improve volunteers’ understanding and awareness, sensitize them to environmental issues, and care about the species we study. Participants are introduced to the project through presentations of the study area and the local species. Volunteers are taught how to take watching shifts and focus details at sea to spot animals, and data collection tasks are divided up in preparation for animal encounters.
Participants will rotate, together with the researchers, in watching shifts of one hour each during the whole navigation period until dolphins/whales are sighted. There are two observers on duty on every shift. Besides whales and dolphins, we record also the presence of sea turtles, tunas, swordfish, manta rays, school of fish and sea birds.
Everybody has a role to play during sightings, such as filming dolphins with the underwater camera under the bow of the vessel, collecting behavioural data, recording sounds, filming and photographing the animals for their individual identification and steering.
The system of continuous listening and recording of cetacean vocalizations allows the volunteer to become familiar with animal sounds, learning to distinguish background noise from cetacean vocalizations.
Interested volunteers can learn the boat rigging, hoisting up and furling the sails, steering, and become familiar with sheets, halyards, compass and knots… also can make themselves useful during the mooring.
People who have participated in our field expedition say that it is an unforgettable experience. All participants leave the project with a good understanding of cetacean field research techniques that may be useful in future experiences. Besides getting to learn about cetaceans and their environment, the world of the research and animal conservation, it is also possible to live through important human experiences.
All participants will leave the project with a good understanding of some techniques that may be useful in future experiences.
Things you can learn are:
- techniques of photography and methods of photo-identification;
- insights into cetacean biology, behaviour, and bioacoustics;
- use of specifically designed software mainly focused on bioacoustics ( Pamguard, Audacity);
- use of basic research equipment, including hydrophones, GoPro cameras, GPS (Global Position System), binoculars, timer, VHF radio etc.;
- sailing techniques and sail trimming (basic operations such as hoisting up and furling the sails, knots);
- insights into charts and navigation (upon request).