bottlenose dolphins

Bottlenose dolphins with Marine Discovery off Penzance, Cornwall

At Marine Discovery we’re always trying to share our experiences and knowledge. That’s what our trips are all about!  We also like to help students in this way too.  We collect lots of research data during our boat trips and each year we work with a few students so that they can use some of this information to carry out their projects.

Currently we are working with Steff Kraft from Falmouth Marine School .  Her project is about bottlenose dolphins and how they use the Cornish Coast.  It follows on from a study that Kimara McCrindle did within her project.  The aim is to map the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins around the Cornish coast.  This will help us to see which habitats they are favouring and hopefully which they are favouring for different activities.  If we can find out important foraging areas and important resting areas then this will help us to protect them in the future.  Below is an image showing the findings from Kimara’s study.

Bottlnose dolphin behaviour between Penzance and Gwennap Head

This image is taken from Kimara McCrindles dissertation. She looked at bottlenose dolphin behaviour as part of her project. The idea of Steff’s project is to take what Kimara found and expand it for the whole Cornish coastline.

The second part of the project is for Steff to create a bottlenose dolphin photo ID catalogue.  Each bottlenose dolphin has a unique set of scratches and marks on their fin and body which can be used to identify them.  Steff has all of our bottlenose dolphin photos to catalogue and identify.  Once she’s finished we’ll compare it to our catalogue which I’m currently updating.  Photo ID can be tricky so comparing the catalogues will I’m certain lead to some discussion!

Falmouth Marine School were kind enough to put together a press release and the project has had some coverage in the local papers –press release-.  This is great for us and for Steff.

So that she can build up behaviour patterns for the entire coast she is also hoping to obtain some sightings information from some other companies and organisations –  AK charters, Orca sea safaris, Atlantic Diver, Cornwall Seal Group and Cornwall Wildlife trust are her helping with this.

When its finished it should be a really exciting project and will teach us a lot about how the dolphins use the Cornish coast.