Dolphin Research in Slovenia

A decade ago, people thought that dolphins occasionally visited the Adriatic Sea off Slovenia, but didn’t actually live there. The researchers who lead this expedition proved the conventional wisdom wrong: they identified and tracked up to 100 dolphins that feed, breed, and nurse in the sea year round.

Make it possible for these researchers to continue monitoring the dolphins they’ve come to know over the past decade. Help them learn which parts of the Adriatic sea are most important to the dolphins, so that they can provide key policy makers with the research necessary to draft laws that protect the waters and dolphins.

The researchers also want to get a better understanding of how the dolphins interact. They’ve started to recognize two different social groups, and want to know more about how and why these two sets of dolphins stick together.

Each day, you’ll boat into the Adriatic to search for these charismatic marine mammals. You’ll record their behavior and environmental data. You will also note any loggerhead sea turtles that you happen to spot; the Adriatic is an important breeding habitat for this species.

10 day trips run June through September. Expect costs in/around $2700 USD and include apartment accommodations, meals, training, and a contribution to the ongoing financial health of the research and conservation program.

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What to Expect?

Each morning, the team will split into two groups: one will head out on the boat, and the other will go to an observational point on land. Both groups will observe dolphins, and then head back to the accommodations to eat lunch. In the afternoons, the groups will trade stations.

Each day, you will help:

    •    Survey for and observe dolphins. The team will scan the sea for animals. When someone spots dolphins, you'll document the group's GPS location, size, and behavior (e.g., feeding or traveling).
    •    Spot sea turtles. The Adriatic Sea is also an important feeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles. As you follow your main research focus—the dolphins—you will also note any sea turtles you see.
    •    Track environmental data. At regular intervals throughout the day, you'll help record variables like water temperature and clarity, sea state, and GPS location.
    •    Photo-identify individual dolphins. Back on shore, you’ll help to examine pictures of dolphins, so that scientists can identify individuals using the markings on their dorsal fins.

You may also have the chance to help rescue stranded or injured sea animals, for example, turtles that have become entangled in fishing nets. The researchers have become well known in the area, and are now the first call many people make when they spot an animal in danger.

Based in Piran, you will enjoy a small town on the shore of southwestern Slovenia, boasting some of the best-preserved Medieval and Renaissance architecture in Europe. People have inhabited it for centuries. Like Slovenia as a whole, its culture and cuisine has Slavic, Italian, Hungarian, and other diverse influences. Travelers and locals know Slovenia for its natural beauty, including dramatic alpine peaks and cliffs that overlook the sea. Hiking, biking, rafting, and swimming in the Adriatic sea or the clear lakes and rivers are popular pastimes. There are many natural caves that visitors can explore on foot, as well as castles and monasteries founded nearly 1,000 years ago. In Piran, for instance, you can take in the views and the impressive vaulted ceilings of the hilltop Cathedral of St. George, which dates from the mid-1300s.

 

  • Program ID: # 2579
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Piran
    Slovenia
    45° 31' 43.7664" N, 13° 33' 58.0464" E
    SI
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Trieste, Italy (TRS)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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