CETACEANS AND SEA TURTLES OF THE ADRIATIC – THE NEXT STEP
Until recently, we considered Adriatic Sea as a „boring place” with low diversity of cetaceans and sea turtles. However, two decades of dedicated research effort gave us quite a different perspective – eight Cetacean species and two sea turtle species, present throughout the Mediterranean, are also present in the Adriatic Sea with different densities. These include common bottlenose dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, striped dolphin, fin whale, sperm whale, long-finned pilot whale, Risso’s dolphin, Cuvier’s beaked whale, loggerhead turtle and green turtle. In addition, occasional visitors to the Mediterranean Sea, false killer whale, humpback whale and leatherback turtle, have also been recorded with solitary individuals in the Adriatic Sea. Our research methods included photo identification (to evaluate residency patterns and homerange, social ecology, abundance estimates etc.), tissue sampling (for genetics, toxicology, stable isotopes) and aerial surveys (species presence, basin wide distribution and abundance). Present level of knowledge provides us with opportunities to develop management measures that could provide needed conservation to this endangered species. But, effectiveness of applied management can be evaluated only through regular monitoring, and basin-wide monitoring does not come easy (or cheap). The lecture will outline the need and possibilities for development of automated procedures for data analysis and use of unmanned vehicles for data collection with the aim of development of future species monitoring activities.