STUDYING TO PROTECT THE CETACEANS
The evolutionary processes that brought to the existence of the current cetaceans have been started 65 million of years ago. They allowed at the species created for the terrestrial life to modify their characteristics of being suitable for the sea life. There are different causes that have contributed to this process but, according to a wide opinion, the main factor that has pushed the ancestors of the current cetaceans to change for the sea life was the great availability of food. These evolutionary processes brought to the birth of a lot of species belonging to the same animal Order, the Cetaceans; here we find whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The Ligurian Sea, located in the NW of Mediterranean Sea, is a part of an area known as “Sanctuary of Cetaceans”. This includes the sea among Tolone (French coast), Capo Falcone (Sardinia WestCoast), Capo Ferro (Sardinia EastCoast) and Fosso Chiarone (Tuscany). The Sanctuary has an extension of 100,000 square Km that is the 4% of the entire Mediterranean Sea.
From the first national monitoring project in the eighties, the following step which brought to the creation of a special protection area was ten year later… in the nineties.
Thanks to the sea bed conformation and the water dinamics this area offers great quantity of biomass to be able to accommodate different species of Cetacenas. Among these we can find Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), Sperm whales (Physeter catodon), different species of dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba, Dephinus delphis, etc) and so on.
Today there are many groups belonging to different realities that are researching in this area. Among these we found the Menkab, whose name comes from the brightest star in the constellation of the whale, that is monitoring the field in the Sanctuary area.
All results obtained from the different projects will be used for developing tools for the management and protection of the species.