Bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and social animals with complex cultures. They are known to have some of the closest interactions with humans of any species on the planet, but because they live in the sea, and not on land, they go unseen by most people and we fail to appreciate quite how amazing yet vulnerable they are. This population lives along one of the most developed and busy coastlines in the world which poses a clear threat to their conservation. To see the south coast population decline to extinction would be a local tragedy for the dolphins and for us.
Associate Professor of Marine Conservation
Conservation measures to protect these animals have previously been hindered by a lack of knowledge of population size, distribution, and ranging behaviour. Thanks to a citizen science network stretching right along the English Channel and beyond, we can now fill these knowledge gaps. By highlighting the most damaging human activities, and regions of conservation significance, our results will be useful for developing management policies for threat mitigation and population conservation, to protect this vulnerable group.
Former MRes Marine Biology student
- The full study – Corr et al: Using citizen science data to assess the vulnerability of bottlenose dolphins to human impacts along England’s south coast – is published in Animal Conservation, DOI: 10.1111/acv.12921. It was developed by researchers from: the University of Plymouth; Chelonia Limited; Cornwall Seal Group; Cornwall Wildlife Trust; Marine Discovery; Marinelife; Sea Watch Foundation; Sussex Dolphin Project; University of Exeter.