Cetaceans of the Frontier Cruise - blog

16th Jan 2014

The IWDG are once again collaborating with the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on the Cetaceans of the Frontier Cruise onboard the state research vessel RV Celtic Explorer. The aim of the cruise is to survey important shelf edge habitats for whales and dolphins. This will be the fifth Cetaceans on the Frontier Cruise dating back to 2008 and they have yielded hugely valuable data on some of the most important habitats for cetaceans in the NE Atlantic.

A combination of visual and Passive Acoustic Techniques will be used, with the new IWDG hydrophone being used for the first time offshore. We also hope to carry out Static Acoustic Monitoring through the deployment of CPODs on acoustic releases on the shelf edge to detect odontocetes, especially dolphins. The main target for Cetaceans of the Frontier Cruise 5 is bottlenose dolphins, a species of high conservation concern throughout Europe and one Ireland has a particular large responsibility. Identifying offshore habitats for this species in Ireland is a key action in the IWDG 3Three-Year Plan.  It was during COTF III that a tissue sample was obtained from an offshore bottlenose dolphin confirming that a third population of bottlenose dolphins occurs in Ireland and is genetically discrete from the Inshore population or that inhabiting the Shannon Estuary. Once again if the opportunity arises we will deploy the IWDG RIB Muc Mhara and attempt to biopsy sample bottlenose dolphins, as well as other odontocetes living on the shelf edge.

This years team of scientists and students from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, BirdWatch Ireland, Queen's University Belfast and the Université de La Rochelle.

We will maintain a blog during the cruise for land-lubbers to follow our progress.

A link to the blog for the COTF5 survey: http://cotf5.blogspot.ie/