Research methods

Photo-identification techniques are based on a method of "Mark - recapture" of individual dolphins. During an encounter with dolphins, researchers photograph cuts and scars on the dorsal fins of dolphins. These scars occur naturally during interactions and dolphins are unique to each dolphin, like a fingerprint. The "capture" of these fins on photograph provide an indirect non invasive method to record the presence of the dolphin in a sighting.

Photos of identified individuals are then stored in a catalogue of the Adriatic Dolphin Project, in Lošinj this currently consists of over 400 individuals, each with its own label in the form of a name or code-number. Most of these individuals are only present occasionally in the Lošinj local waters, whilst there are approximately one hundred permanently resident animals in the Lošinj waters. These are considered to be individuals of the resident Lošinj community of dolphins. Data obtained using this method creates a detailed picture of the state of dolphins and their use of this habitat. Identified individuals are followed for many years this enabled us to assess the birth and mortality rates of the dolphins, as well as their social relations.

Bio Acoustics
The investigation of the impact of underwater noise on dolphins began in 2004 through the application of passive bioacoustics. Multi-annual monitoring for a period of almost five years has gathered enough information about the impact of sound pollution on the habitat use of dolphins.

In 2005 we began researching the behaviour of individuals and changes in their behavior in the vicinity of different categories of vessels using the method of continuous sampling and "Focal Group Follow" method.

Since 2004 we have been analyzing the partially digested stomach contents of dead dolphins with the aim of identifying their prey. This is based on the presence of the beaks of cephalopods and fish otolith (small, slow digesting structures that are located in the inner ear of fish, that have a specific shape particular to each fish species).