09 May 2011

First 10 dolphin sightings in Amvrakikos

Today I had my tenth sighting since I arrived at the Vonitsa field Station of the Dolphins of Greece expedition. As a research assistant I have worked with two groups of Earthwatch volunteers so far. It has been a very rich and profitable experience.  Although I had worked with cetaceans in the wild before, I must say it has been a pretty different approach for me. In Amvrakikos I had the chance to observe dolphin behaviour closer than anywhere else.  During these past 4 weeks we had spectacular sightings where bottlenose dolphins displayed a wide range of behaviours; from surface feeding surrounded by large flocks of seabirds, to socializing and  resting. This new experience has given me the chance to learn new methodologies and apply them in the field. Thanks to Joan, a great teacher,  I made the most of my stay here. The Gulf is most certainly a unique place to learn and study these magnificent creatures in the wild.

I also enjoyed the everyday work with volunteers! They impressed me with their enthusiasm and eagarness to learn by getting actively involved in our research and conservation activities. Under Joan's supervision I showed them how to process digital images taken in the field, record behavioural data during group follows and how to interpret the dolphins activities in the field. Their help is crucial and in many cases I would have been lost without them!

In a couple of days I am heading back to Barcelona but I will be back in Vonitsa in September for another month of field work. Looking forward to it! 

Miriam (Catalonia) - Research Assistant of the Dolphins of Greece expedition

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