Isabel Sousa PintoMafalda Correia
CETUS: CETACEAN MONITORING PROGRAMME IN THE EASTERN NORTH ATLANTIC
CETUS Project started in 2012 with the aim of collecting cetacean occurrence data in the Eastern North Atlantic to study their distribution and habitat. At the moment, it is constituted by a small team of young researchers, each of them specialising in a topic of cetacean ecology but working together to produce integrated analyses and valuable results for cetacean conservation. Over time, CETUS Project has built solid collaborations from which they are eager to learn, apply their expertise in the CETUS study area, and investigate novel approaches to cetacean ecology.
Within CETUS, the following monitoring activities are ongoing:
- Visual monitoring, along long-transect routes, onboard large vessels used as platforms of opportunity. This is possible thanks to CETUS collaborations with Transinsular (a Portuguese shipping company), the Hydrographic Institute of the Portuguese Navy, and the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere - IPMA. These collaborations allow the collection of cetacean occurrence data in a wide range area, between Mainland Portugal and the Macaronesian archipelagos, covering offshore waters.
- "Botos da Foz": a visual land-based monitoring programme at the mouth of Douro River (Porto, Portugal), in which the focus species is the endangered harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).
The CETUS team also participates in dedicated cetacean monitoring campaigns, in the scope of other CIIMAR projects, during which data on cetacean occurrence, photo-ID, blow samples, biopsies, environmental DNA and acoustic recordings are collected off the northern coast of Continental Portugal. Furthermore, CETUS Project assumes an active role in environmental education by giving talks in schools and universities, organising cetacean-related workshops/courses, supervising students (bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees) and integrating them in monitoring activities, providing hands-on experience to the interns.