Lisbon Dolphins is the tourism brand of ECCO Ocean. As the brand’s name enables guests to find the expeditions easier. All is the same company, but above all, it’s the same values and goals.
ECCO Ocean’s founder developed projects with the NPO APCM since 2009. Now develops projects through ECCO Ocean as now funding comes from revenue of paying guests which join our expeditions. We also apply to third party projects along with APCM and others. Due to the recent beginning of activity we are still in the application phase. However we already begun some on our own:
Connectivity of bottlenose dolphins on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula
Bottlenose dolphins usually occupy coastal or inshore areas and maintain well-defined ranges. Theoretically, these characteristics make them a suitable candidate for spatial-based conservation efforts. In Europe, the Bottlenose dolphin is listed in Annex II of the European Union’s Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and is thus priority species for conservation, requiring Member States to consider key areas of the species for designation of Special Areas of Conservation.
The project consists on the collection of photographs of bottlenose dolphins’ dorsal fins for photo-identification. The fins of most dolphin species have unique patterns of cuts and nicks, allowing individuals to be identified, just like our finger prints. This is how we build a “catalogue” of individual bottlenose dolphins that use the region of Lisbon in a regular basis. Subsequently, the cross-referencing of databases between different regions allows us to understand how wide are the areas used by the dolphins.
Monitoring of the resident population of Bottlenose Dolphins in Sado Estuary.
All individuals of the population are known and catalogued. However a follow up of dorsal fins is needed for the younger individuals. As they grow, normally their marks keep changing and gaining new ones. Every year one or two individuals disappear from the population, so a check in of the individuals every month is necessary to assess their actual numbers.
Assessing the species diversity in Central Portugal
In every expedition we register all cetacean sightings and basic ecology data. Doing so, we can have an idea of the cetacean diversity in the Bays by Lisbon. We already are collecting presence-absence data on other marine megafauna and planning on including geographical and density data for 2020.
Sea litter monitoring
During the tours we register the number of observed floating litter and classify them by material (plastic, glass, wood, vegetable).
Check the completed works, here.