[MARMAM] PLos ONE paper

Simone Panigada simo.pani at inwind.it
Sun Jul 31 03:07:36 PDT 2011

Hi everybody,

the following paper has been published on PLos 
ONE and can be downloaded from the following web page:


All the best,

Simone Panigada

Monitoring Winter and Summer Abundance of 
Cetaceans in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Northwestern 
Mediterranean Sea) Through Aerial Surveys

Simone Panigada, Giancarlo Lauriano, Louise Burt, 
Nino Pierantonio, Greg Donovan


Systematic long-term monitoring of abundance is 
essential to inform conservation measures and 
evaluate their effectiveness. To instigate such 
work in the Pelagos Sanctuary in the 
Mediterranean, two aerial surveys were conducted 
in winter and summer 2009. A total of 467 (131 in 
winter, 336 in summer) sightings of 7 species was 
made. Sample sizes were sufficient to estimate 
abundance of fin whales in summer (148; 95% CI = 
87–254) and striped dolphins in winter (19,462; 
95% CI = 12 939–29 273) and in summer (38 488; 
95% CI = 27 447–53 968). Numbers of animals 
within the Sanctuary are significantly higher in 
summer, when human activities and thus potential 
population level impacts are highest. Comparisons 
with data from past shipboard surveys suggest an 
appreciable decrease in fin whales within the 
Sanctuary area and an appreciable increase in 
striped dolphins. Aerial surveys proved to be 
more efficient than ship surveys, allowing more 
robust estimates, with smaller CIs and CVs. These 
results provide essential baseline data for this 
marine protected area and continued regular 
surveys will allow the effectiveness of the MPA 
in terms of cetacean conservation to be evaluated 
and inform future management measures. The 
collected data may also be crucial in assessing 
whether ship strikes, one of the main causes of 
death for fin whales in the Mediterranean, are 
affecting the Mediterranean population.

Simone Panigada, Ph.D.
panigada at inwind.it

Tethys Research Institute
Viale G.B. Gadio 2, 20121 Milano, Italy
tel. +39 0272001947 / 0272013943
fax +39 0286995011
tethys at tethys.org
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