ResearchWorking linesPhoto-identification of cetaceans

Photo-identification on cetaceans

The members of the Alnilam team have been doing photo-identification of cetaceans in the Alboran Sea since 1992. The main objectives of this work are:

  • To obtain abundance estimates throug mark-recapture methods
  • To calculate survival and reproduction rates
  • To investigate the social structure of the populations
  • To investigate the degree of residency and the site fidelity of animals/social groups
  • To investigate the identity of the populations and possible migrations and/or movements
  • To investigate the habitat use of animals/social groups

The catalogues of the different species and tehir analysis are at different levels of development:



Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

The catalogue of fins photographs taken between 1992 and 2010 is being finalised.



Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

The catalogue of this species has not been built yet, but it is intended to start it at the beginning of 2013. There are around 18,000 images for this catalogue, which are being processed now to be able to start with the matching process. 



Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas)

The catalogue for this species is being built in collaboration with the team of CIRCE, with which catalogues from the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar will be compared.



Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus)

A preliminar catalogue for this species was done for the period 1992-2007. A revision and updating of this catalogue is being done at present. A Mediterranean-wide collaboration process is being initiated currently to build the basin-wide catalogue for this species through the project "Med Grampus photo-id Catalogue Project".



Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

The catalogue for this species was done in collaboration with CIRCE. The images of the first years were submitted to the  NAMSC catalogue (North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sperm whale Catalogue).


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