FleetMon supports Giant Guardians of the Deep Seas Project

in Research by

DMAD – Marine Mammals Research Association, Turkey

DMAD – Marine Mammals Research Association (Deniz Memelileri Araştırma Derneği in Turkish) is a non-profit, non-government organisation that was established in 2015 to carry out research and conservation actions in areas of the Mediterranean where little or no studies on cetaceans (dolphins and whales) have been undertaken before. In a time where our seas and their incredible inhabitants are facing their biggest threats ever, lack of knowledge on species is one of the biggest barriers in the way of effective conservation. Our work helps break down these barriers, giving decision-makers the tools imperative for marine ecosystem management and increasing the capacities of the local researchers.

Giant Guardians of the Deep Seas Project

Giant Guardians of the Deep Seas project started in 2018 and since then increased our knowledge of small delphinids, sperm whales and beaked whales (some of the most elusive whales in the Mediterranean Sea) by following acoustic and visual data collection protocols in a large area, spanning around 22,000 km2 in the coastal and pelagic waters of the Turkish Mediterranean Sea. This dedicated project fills the vast data gaps in the Eastern Mediterranean and covers the local, regional, and the global needs of marine conservation with its main objectives identified as:

  • Filling baseline knowledge gaps on cetaceans that have been identified as “at-risk” in the Mediterranean Sea and are in need of urgent effective conservation and management strategies
  • Developing a “Species Conservation Action Plan with delineated critical habitats and mitigation strategies”
  • Increasing researcher capacities (prioritising and empowering female researchers)
  • Strengthening public awareness and relationships between regional and international stakeholders.

FleetMon’s vessel position data for scientific research

The data provided by FleetMon is used to investigate the overlapping areas of marine traffic and marine mammals in the Levantine Sea. Marine traffic has both short- and long-term effects on cetacean behaviour, yet fishing vessels present a unique situation as they disturb cetaceans whilst potentially offering alternative foraging opportunities. Behavioural changes and potential consequences of cetacean exposure to maritime traffic in the Levantine Sea, Turkey are analysed within the project.