19 October 2012

Presentations at Galaxidi schools - 2

Today we made our second presentation at the Galaxidi theatre. The audience included approximately 130 school children with their teachers. These children were great, correctly answering questions about dolphin identity (from dorsal fin markings) and being very excited. They were all given a copy of the dolphin booklet in Greek (see our previous post).

A photo album of this experience can be viewed HERE.

17 October 2012

Children booklets in Greek

Thanks to OceanCare, we printed 500 children booklets in Greek, and they came out really nice.

They will be distributed during presentations at local schools.

The booklet can be viewed and downloaded as a pdf from THIS LINK, in ten different languages.

15 October 2012

Presentations at Galaxidi schools - 1

Silvia made a presentation for High School (Lykeo) and Classical School (Gymnasio) kids. There were more that 100 students, and it was a success.

Everybody was nice and helpful, and Silvia was asked to do more presentations in other towns and schools next year.

25 September 2012

Free-ranging bottlenose dolphin show

A small group of bottlenose dolphins put on a remarkable show today, after having fed in the proximity of Galaxidi's fish farms. They socialized intensively for about an hour, for the joy of people who were watching them from shore. Then they left and moved on to their next favourite feeding spot.

Movements of bottlenose dolphins in and out of the Gulf of Corinth have been described in the article that can be downloaded HERE.

24 September 2012

The one Risso's dolphin in the Gulf of Corinth

Today we encountered again the one and possibly only Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus left in the Gulf of Corinth. As usual, this female was seen swimming in a large group of striped (predominantly) and common dolphins.

The smaller dolphins seem to like the Risso's a lot – some individuals even engaging in frequent physical contact.

We normally encounter this animal once or twice a year. Sighting positions can be seen in the map available HERE, for this and other species found in the Gulf.

23 September 2012

Striped dolphins and jellyfish

Favorite dolphin play with jellyfish include rubbing their body – rostrum to flukes – or hitting Mediterranean jellies with their rostrum to make them 'explode' as if they were targets (and these circular invertebrates actually do look a bit like targets, with their orange spot in the middle).

22 September 2012

Caretta caretta feeding on Cotylorhiza tuberculata

Today we sighted a young loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta intently feeding on a Mediterranean jelly Cotylorhiza tuberculata.

A few images captured during the banquet can be seen HERE.

18 September 2012

Tractor wheel at sea

During today's navigation we spotted a semi-submersed tractor wheel. It was enormous, and barely visible from the surface.

Because we thought it could be a threat for speedboats, we tried dragging it to the nearest shore with our inflatable, but it was so heavy that it just wouldn't move. We therefore decided to put a pole and a flag on top of the wheel, to mark its position.

Our friend Nicola is shown here while riding the tractor wheel and setting up the flag – a task that took about an hour. When we eventually left, the white flag was highly visible, hopefully preventing collisions with boats.

17 September 2012

Fin whale mortality in the Adriatic

In this scientific article, Nino Pierantonio and I contributed an updated list of fin whale mortality events in the Adriatic Sea, together with an account on the killing of a fin whale in 1960.

The paper can be downloaded HERE.

02 September 2012

Galaxidi rockers

Last week a remarkable couple came to visit us in Galaxidi: two members of the rock band Shide.

While Renata and Stefano may not look like rockers in this photo, see what they can do when armed with microphone and electric guitar:

Shide - Anguish (from YouTube)

31 August 2012

Golden jackal visiting

Last night we were sitting in our patio in Galaxidi when a juvenile golden jackal came to eat figs from the fig tree a few metres from us, staying there for several minutes: an amazing encounter! It was the first animal of this species we have ever seen in this area.

Because I did not want to use a flash, the photo was shot at 1600 ISO and 1/80th of second - it came out completely dark and it was then overexposed, offering a glimpse of the beauty of this endangered wild animal.

Information on the status of golden jackals Canis aureus in Europe can be found in THIS ARTICLE.

24 August 2012

Cotylorhiza invasion

The whole Gulf of Corinth has been invaded by these beauties. We took several videos and photos to document their amazing high density. This image was taken by Silvia yesterday.

Apparently, Cotylorhiza tubercolata (as well as Salpa maxima) are regularly blooming in the Gulf. There was a similar phenomenon in 2010, albeit of smaller proportions. This year's bloom is just unbelievable.

A photo album can bee seen HERE.

17 August 2012

Striped dolphin newborn

Yesterday sighted lots of dolphins, including a group of over 100 striped dolphins, with a dozen of newborns all in the same subgroup.

This image shows a particularly cute newborn jumping besides its presumed mother.

12 August 2012


We have done a fair bit of gardening together with our friend and landlord Christos. Most plants had to be planted by digging holes into the bare rock, because the whole garden was basically just rocks and stones.

We hope that the plants will grow, and next year we expect our garden to be nice and green!

A tentative Zen garden is shown below :-)

08 August 2012

Tuna feeding at the surface

This year we are seeing lots of tuna schools feeding at the surface. It often makes a spectacular sight, especially when these large streamlined animals clear the water in an attempt to catch a fish, and seagulls or shearwaters all around try to benefit.

The positions of our encounters with tuna in the Gulf of Corinths can be seein in THIS MAP. However, it should be mentioned that the map does not reflect the actual distribution in any given year. Survey effort and sea state must be taken into account.

07 August 2012

Unexpected encounter with a leatherback sea turtle

Today we made a rather extraordinary encounter: a leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea about 2-2.5m long was breathing at the surface, on a completely flat sea.

The sighting was extraordinary in three respects. First, leatherback sea turtles are classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and therefore make a rare encounter anywhere. Second, the Gulf of Corinth is a semi-enclosed basin separated from open Mediterranean waters by a narrow (2-km wide) and shallow strait, crossed by a bridge. Third, historically there is only one other report of a leatherback sea turtle in the Gulf of Corinth. It dates back to 1982 (that is 30 years ago) and it refers to an animal caught in a net and killed by a fishermen, as reported by sea turtle expert Dimitris Margaritoulis in his Journal of Ethology note of 1986.

Additionally, in my 25 years of experience as a dolphin biologist I never had a chance of encountering one of these magnificent animals.

This particular turtle let our small boat approach close enough to take a few photographs and videos. It was a breathtaking experience!

(Photo by G. Bearzi, August 2012)

06 August 2012

Striped dolphin Olympic Games

The winner of the Striped Dolphin Olympic Games, in the "Jellyfish" specialty, is the animal portrayed in the two photos above.

One full centre and one hit in only 2 seconds.

An underwater video of this performance can be watched HERE.

10 July 2012

Dolphins are exposed to propeller strikes

Fast boats like this one sometimes deliberately cross groups of dolphins at high speed, without even stopping or slowing down.

The risk of propeller strikes resulting in body lesions obviously exists, even in the case of fast-moving animals such as striped and common dolphins.

Lesions that are possibly cased by propellers have been photographed several times in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece. While wounded animals may recover, deeper lesions can result in mortality or impairment.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni)

04 July 2012

Sea turtle entanglement and mortality in fishing gear

Today we found this turtle adrift in the Gulf. Initially we thought she was still alive, and attempted a rescue, but unfortunately she had recently died and there was nothing we could do.

This animal had a piece of fishing longline protruding from her mouth, the possible cause of death.

In the past we have successfully rescued a few turtles that were either entangled in fishing nets or had ingested longlines (an image of a successful rescue is shown below). Entanglement or ingestion of fishing gear seems to be commonplace.

06 May 2012

Dolphins of Slovenia

A new digital booklet, 'Dolphins of Slovenia', was produced by Tilen Genov and Giovanni Bearzi.

This photo booklet is a result of 10 years of work by Morigenos in northern Adriatic waters.

The booklet can be seen in the Digital Media section of the Dolphin Biology & Conservation web site.