30 June 2013

Photo frenzy

Giovanni and Silvia behind their cameras (photo by B. Würsig, June 2013).

29 June 2013

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 8

TAMUG students on a sailing trip in the Gulf of Corinth, led by our friend Kostas (photo by G. Bearzi, June 2013).

28 June 2013

Bernd and Melany Würsig

Our dear friends Bernd and Melany on a sailing trip in the Gulf of Corinth.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013)

Artisanal fisherman in Greece - 11

Artisanal fisherman cleaning his trammel nets in the port of Galaxidi (photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013).

27 June 2013

Striped beauty

Striped dolphin in the Gulf of Corinth (photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013).

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 7

TAMUG students and trainers attending the Marine Biology Course in Galaxidi, portrayed after having walked a 3000yr old path from Delphi to Kirra.

(Photo by G. Bearzi, June 2013)

26 June 2013

Dolphin sound analysis

Eeyore and Sheepie discuss spectrograms of striped dolphin sounds recorded in the Gulf of Corinth.

(Photo by G. Bearzi, June 2013)

Visit to Galaxidi Marine Farm

TAMUG students on a guided tour of Galaxidi Marine Farm S.A., one of Greece's most advanced companies producing quality gilthead seabream and European seabass.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013)

25 June 2013

Listening to striped dolphin calls

Silvia closes her eyes as she listens to striped dolphin vocalizations in the Gulf of Corinth (photo by N. Santostasi, June 2013).

24 June 2013

Eeyore with dolphins

Photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 6

TAMUG student Laurie Mbula Mangeli records group size data on striped dolphins in the Gulf of Corinth (photo by S. Bonizzoni, June 2013).

23 June 2013

Sheepie with dolphins

Sheepie intently stares at a group of striped dolphins while university students attending a Marine Biology Course in Galaxidi collect field data.

(Photo by N. Santostasi, June 2013)

22 June 2013

Striped dolphins being happy

Gulf of Corinth, Greece, June 2013 (photo by G. Bearzi).

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 5

Sheepie and Eeyore are getting more and more popular among TAMUG students. Beside silently attending all Marine Biology classes and discussions, our fluffy mascots have been making field trips to uninhabited islands, and even surveys in search of dolphins.

(Photos by B. Würsig)

21 June 2013

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 4

TAMUG students and trainers participating in the Marine Biology Course in the Gulf of Corinth, June 2013.

20 June 2013

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 3

Mariana Ferreira Da Silveira, a student at TAMUG, practices dolphin photo-identification in the Gulf of Corinth.

(Photo by N. Santostasi)

19 June 2013


Silvia and Giovanni at the Byzantine monastery of Osios Loukas, Greece (June 2013; photo N. Santostasi).

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 2

Prof. Bernd Würsig teaching marine mammal taxonomy at our Galaxidi field station, during a Marine Biology Course attended by TAMUG students from around the world.

17 June 2013


While spending long hours looking for dolphins from our inflatable, music often comes to the surface. This has been the "mental soundtrack" of many surveys.

Fishing boat detail - 1

MPA of Sinis Peninsula, Sardinia, Italy, February 2011 (photo G. Bearzi)

Delfino (Italian) = dolphin.

15 June 2013

Stairway to heaven

Plant, Page and Jones listening to their masterpiece. One is left wondering if it is the remarkable voice of the singer, Bonham's son at drums, or the long shadow of a glorious past that move old Plant to tears.

Texas A&M University in Galaxidi - 1

Prof. Bernd Würsig and wife Melany are with us in Galaxidi, getting ready for a Marine Biology Course to be held in the Gulf of Corinth over the next two weeks. Ten students from Texas A&M University will join us at our field station to learn about the ecology and conservation of Mediterranean marine fauna, with emphasis on dolphins.

Bernd (see his Wikipedia profile HERE and his CV HERE) has published about 150 peer-reviewed articles, including those that first described individual photo-identification of dolphins by dorsal fin markings, theodolite tracking, and the development of a bubble curtain system to mitigate underwater industrial noise.

Photo by G. Bearzi: Melany, Bernd, Nina and Silvia (left to right)

11 June 2013

Artisanal fisherman in Greece - 9

Fisherman and wife in the Northern Evoikos Gulf, Greece, March 2011 (photo G. Bearzi)

10 June 2013

Landfill decor

At our field station in Galaxidi we use several items found trashed in dumps or the side of country roads. Nice wooden furniture and other stuff that we passionately fix, assemble, sandpaper, paint and bring to new life.

This photo album features some of the items we have been rescuing so far. We believe that recycling relics made of real wood is sometimes better than buying furniture made of engineered pseudo-wood. Such DYI practice helps reduce our expenditures – while adding a personal touch to the field station.

Photo: seat made with the frame of a stuffed sofa and parts of an old wine barrel.


Landfill music

09 June 2013

Dead striped dolphin in the Gulf of Corinth

Yesterday, during a striped dolphin sighting, Silvia spotted a seagull at the surface, far away, intently pecking at something that did not look like fish. We approached and found a dead striped dolphin floating adrift. She was a female, 151 cm long. There was no sign of the possible cause of mortality, such as external pathologies, wounds or signs of bycatch. The only wounds were caused post-mortem by the seagull.

We took photos, videos and a blubber sample, but decided not to perform a complete necropsy – as we would normally do in these cases. We were offshore, three hours away from our field station. Additionally, on that day we had accepted on board a girl, Emanuela, the young daughter of a Galaxidi mason, who said she was in love with dolphins. She had never seen one before, and we felt that for her it was hard enough to see a dead one on her first day at sea. We thus failed to collect important scientific information.

We went on with the survey, found another group of striped and common dolphins, and continued our photo-identification work. Emanuela went back home with mixed memories of life and death.

08 June 2013


Jasmina Fisher on a close encounter with a striped dolphin.

Gulf of Corinth, Greece, June 2013 (photo S. Bonizzoni).

07 June 2013

Dream of the return

Apart from Pat Metheny Group's glorious music there is interesting, if a little old-fashioned, footage of spinner dolphins (spinning), common dolphins (with a rather weird tail stock by Mediterranean standards) and other cetacean species – apparently filmed in a time of plenty.

06 June 2013

Talking with an artisanal fisherman

Yesterday Silvia spent a couple of hours talking with Iannis, an artisanal fisherman from Galaxidi, Greece. Silvia made a formal interview based on our usual questionnaire, but Iannis was so eager to share information that he reported much more.

Fishermen like Iannis know a lot about the local marine ecosystem. Iannis reported that bottlenose dolphins range far and wide, in and out of the Gulf of Corinth (as found through long-term photo-identification studies: download our article HERE). He knows that striped dolphins are found offshore in large groups, and there is a single Risso's dolphin living in the Gulf.

He accurately described the reasons why bottlenose dolphins feed in the proximity of fish farms, and what kind of prey they can find there. He said he can recognize some individuals by their body features, mentioning one animal we often see: a female with abnormal flukes.

He told Silvia how hard it is to make a living out of artisanal fishing, dealing with bad weather, the high cost of fuel and gear damage caused by bottlenose dolphins. Iannis added that dolphins are a problem, but he would never kill or harm one.

Then he asked whether acoustic deterrent devices may be a solution, and Silvia explained what other fishermen in Greece and Italy normally report after having tried them (i.e. that these devices end up working as dinner bells).

Overall, it is exciting to merge our experience of marine biologists with that of fishermen – who often come to a similar understanding through a completely different path.

05 June 2013

Monk seal in Greece

This inquisitive, smart-eyed monk seal was photographed by Silvia in the Northern Evoikos Gulf.

The full story was posted on this blog some time ago. It can be found HERE.

04 June 2013

Luiz doesn't like to eat his animal friends

Young Luiz just doesn't understand why we kill and eat other animals...

Read a commentary by Mark Bekoff HERE.

It's better with predators

Fisheries mismanagement may derive from the incorrect use of obsolete and simplistic models by fishery scientists. When it comes to setting fishing quotas, the use of state-of-the-art ecosystem modelling (ideally combined with a correct use of the precautionary principle) can result in less damage to marine ecosystems.

This video illustrates why predators must be included in models aimed to set fishing quotas. It also suggests that culling predators will not help.

For more information click HERE.

03 June 2013

02 June 2013

Dolphin researcher's nest

This is the apartment for dolphin research assistants who work with us in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece. We recently repainted and remodeled it (on a shoestring budget).

We regenerated charming wooden furniture found trashed (kitchen table, cupboard etc.), while other items were built out of old beehives. The remaining furniture was contributed by our friend and landlord Christos.

01 June 2013

On music and humanity

While I acknowledge that my primary function on Earth is to be a musician, I also see that music is nothing more than the essential component of humanity - it is all the same material. My feeling is that the more I can learn about music, the more I learn about other things. So far, it has worked for me.

-- Pat Metheny (born 1954)

Richard Bona sings "You", Pat Metheny Group

Photo from Google Images (edited), unknown author