31 August 2019

Seagull and anchovy

A seagull catches an anchovy near midwater pair trawlers, as the net is being hauled.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

30 August 2019

24 August 2019

Love messages in the wind

Off the coast near Bibione, Italy, we spot a well-built, sturdy wooden boat sailing on its own. Upon inspection, we find consumed candles and love messages hand-written by two young ladies. One seems to be a sweet message to a lost boyfriend, the other a mournful, heartbreaking note to a departed father. Not messages for us, in any case. We tie the messages back to the mast and let the boat continue her journey.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

23 August 2019

Stercorarius parasiticus

A parasitic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), also known as parasitic skua, is a seabird in the family Stercorariidae. In our study area we often see these birds pursuing and harassing other seabirds, such as seagulls and terns, to force them to disgorge the food they have eaten.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

22 August 2019

Socializing near the coast

An adult and a juvenile bottlenose dolphin socialise in the coastal waters of Veneto.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

Our research boat (2)

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

Our research boat (1)

(Photo by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

21 August 2019

Dolphin prey

We were observing a group of bottlenose dolphins engaged in feeding rushes around our boat. As the dolphins moved away, we noticed a fish at the surface. It was still alive but could not move and survived only for a few minutes in a bucket of seawater. The fish (a 27cm-long mullet) had been fatally injured and carried fresh wounds left by a dolphin bite.

This observation offered insight on the relationship between a particular kind of surface behaviour by the dolphins and the prey being targeted.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni and G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

19 August 2019

Dolphins of Veneto

A group of 12 bottlenose dolphins patrols the coastal waters off Lido di Jesolo, Italy.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

18 August 2019

Plastic encounter

One more encounter with a discarded (or lost) plastic item in Adriatic offshore waters: a heavy sun lounger. Sadly, in August we end up encountering more plastic than dolphins.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

17 August 2019

Beach paraphernalia

A wind gust, and beach paraphernalia (all made of plastic that may harm marine life) gets lost at sea. In less than an hour we found and collected these and other large items floating adrift in Adriatic offshore waters. Could we just stop making this sort of unnecessary and ultimately harmful purchases?

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

Dead loggerhead sea turtle

Returning from a late-afternoon survey we found this large loggerhead sea turtle. She was floating adrift, dead.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

14 August 2019

Odontocete adaptations to human impact and vice-versa

We just published a book chapter on "Odontocete adaptations to human impact and vice-versa".

Bearzi G., Piwetz S., Reeves R.R. 2019. Odontocete adaptations to human impact and vice-versa. In Ethology and Behavioral Ecology of Odontocetes. Springer, Heidelberg.

ABSTRACT: Some mammalian species that have not succumbed to pervasive human impacts and encroachments have managed to adapt to certain types of human activities. Several odontocetes have modified their behavior to persist, and in some cases even prosper, in human-altered riverine, coastal, and oceanic habitat. Examples include cooperation with fishers to catch fish, depredation on fishing gear, scavenging, and other kinds of opportunistic foraging (e.g., behind trawlers, around fish farms, or near built structures such as dams and offshore platforms). Some populations have adapted to life in human-made channels and waterways. We review information on the variety of odontocete adaptations to human encroachment, highlight some of the risks and benefits, and try to single out factors that may trigger or contribute to adaptation. Adaptation often brings wildlife into close contact with humans, which leads to conflict. We discuss the challenges of coexistence and contend that we humans, too, need to adjust our behavior and change how we perceive and value wildlife for coexistence to be possible. In addition to good management and conservation action, tolerance on our part will be key for allowing wildlife—odontocetes included—to persist. We advocate cultural and even spiritual shifts that can foster tolerance, nurture the social change that leads to appreciation for wildlife, and create more opportunities to preserve nature.



Silvia enjoys photographing birds flying above our boat as we follow the dolphins. These are young seagulls.

(Photos by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

10 August 2019

Crazy heat

In these summer days of crazy heat, we try to leave the port as early as possible and be with the dolphins before the sun gets us cooked. Sometimes it works...

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Northern Adriatic Sea)

05 August 2019

Dolphin skin growth

This bottlenose dolphin has a peculiar skin growth on his dorsum. It was there last year as well, and it hasn't grown bigger. This individual is one of about 400 in our photo-identification catalogue for the waters off Veneto, Italy (see: http://www.dolphinbiology.org/dolphinsofveneto.htm).

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)

01 August 2019

Large dolphin group in the wake of a trawler

An unusually large group of 70 bottlenose dolphins, including three juveniles, three calves and one newborn, forages in the wake of an otter trawler. Here, the trawler is hauling its net and some dolphins get closer.

(Photo by S. Bonizzoni, Northern Adriatic Sea)