The initial aim of our association was to study the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the coastal waters found in the area between Cape Noli (Sv) and the Italo-French border (Im). This bottlenose dolphin project began in 2018 as a pilot project. Throughout the year we – the researchers – conduct approximately 10 boat-based monitoring surveys per month on board a small zodiac docked in Imperia. To help us in the monitoring activities we take interns who during their stay with us learn the main monitoring techniques used to study cetaceans and marine fauna. During our boat-based surveys, we collect data of an environmental nature, on marine traffic, but also human activities occurring at sea. At the same time, we search for cetaceans, seabirds, sea turtles and other marine fauna by using binoculars.
During a sighting the animals are approached to estimate the number of individuals present, their behaviour, when possible, and the group composition. When we sight bottlenose dolphins our main activity is to collect and photo-identify all the animals by taking photos of their dorsal fins. This part of the body can be compared, in fact, to our fingerprints, allowing researchers to recognise the individuals, follow them in time and space, know their history and study the interspecific interaction of these dolphins and their interactions with human activities.