Bottlenose Dolphins are at risk due to an increase in human activities. The global population trend of Bottlenose Dolphins is not completely understood, but the Mediterranean subpopulation is vulnerable and continues to decrease according to the IUCN red list of threatened species. Studies are showing that the subpopulation’s numbers in the Adriatic Sea have declined by more than fifty percent in the last five decades! This huge reduction in the dolphin population was caused in large part by planned killings that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century, when dolphins were perceived as pests. But further declines are a direct result of increased pressure from people, including fishing (over-fishing and accidental trappings in nets as bi-catch), loss of habitat quality, water pollution (plastics and heavy metals in the water) and rising underwater sound. Many of these problems will be observed directly by volunteers when collecting data about the dolphins in the research area.
All volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about the biology, ecology and conservation of marine mammals. Volunteers will have scientific supervision while working with data – data collection on the water, data input in the office, and analyzing data from the previous day. Each morning all new information needs to be checked and entered into the catalog, and this information is analyzed. Afternoons are spent at sea, observing dolphin activity and recording these findings.