Dolphin Monitoring

Peale Dolphins are the most common species in this area of Chilean Patagonia. However, little is known of their biology and behavior. It is an important national species and acts as a bio-indicator of how healthy the ecosystem is where the dolphin lives.

Incorporating the experience of CMMR Leviathan in the scientific study of marine mammals, we now have a systematic long-term study of Peale dolphin populations that are frequently around the reserve.

The methodology of study, basically involves the identification of sites with the greatest presence of these cetaceans. Next, the individual identification of specimens based on natural markings, such as scars, pigmentation patterns and notches in the fins. This identification tells us whether they are always the same individuals who frequent the area (residents) or if they do through their migratory route, for future analyzing of the dynamic or time variation in these populations. Also, to determinate their population size, reproductive rate, sex and individual and group characteristic behavior.

Data collection is performed by non-invasive methods. The information is recorded through high-resolution photos, submarines and aircraft videos and forms of occurrence and behavior.

We share our video "Delfines australes, cuidemos el mar"

Scientific Papers
As a result of the efforts of several years, in January 2013, we published our first scientific paper on the Identification of Peale Dolphins, together with Gian Paolo Sanino and the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN).

We were able to identify 115 individuals and their presence throughout the year around the Reserve. Otherwise, we proved to be a site suitable for long term cetacean studies even when collecting data directly from the shore, avoiding potential impact from boats.

SANINO, G.P. & J.L YÁÑEZ. Preliminary results of modified DVideo-ID technique and applied to Peale's dolphins, Lagenorhynchus australis (Peale, 1848) at Añihué Reserve, Chile. Boletín del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Chile) 61: 209-227 (2012).
View Paper

A second scientific paper published in 2014, studies the skin diseases in dolphins and their relationship with the local environment.

Epidemiological characteristics and disorders were documented in the skin of Peale's dolphin (Lagenorhynchus australis) and Chilean dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia) residing in the Reserve. We processed more than seven thousand images by analyzing skin “patomorfismos” presented, describing six disorders including ulcers, white patches of rapid expansion and growth of focal lesions of necrotizing tissue masses. The prevalence of skin disorders in Peale’s dolphins, peaked at 81.7% in 2013, corresponding to an increase of 30.2% compared to 2011.

Four of the six skin conditions affected both species. The etiology or origin of these skin disorders, except for injuries caused by a poxvirus (TSD), is unknown. However, it is suspected that they have emerged due to water pollution related to the expansion of salmon farms since 2004, near the Reserve, precisely where the dolphins would be more likely to contract infections due to an environment of low temperature and salinity.

SANINO, G.P. & M.I. MEZA. Trophic ecology and sympatry of otters (Lontra felina and Lontra provocax) at Añihué Reserve, Patagonia, Chile. Boletín del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Chile) 65: 279-289 (2016). [in Spanish]
View Paper

Hydro Acoustics
A very useful tool in the study of dolphins is Hydro Acoustics. If you want to know more about it, please click here.

Dolphin Monitoring Volunteer Photos
To view photos, please click here

Dolphin Monitoring Dolphin Monitoring
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