Vis is the outmost inhabited island of the Adriatic Sea, some 50 km from the Croatian coast. Its surface area is of about 90 km2 and its highest point at Hum is 587m. The archipelago consists of several smaller islands like Biševo, Sveti Andrija, Jabuka, Brusnik and Palagruža and a number of islets, reefs and rocks; these form the inner boundary of our work area. The closest islands to Vis are Hvar (18 km), Korčula (33 km) and Lastovo (55km); they form the outer boundary of our work area. The climate on the island is typically Mediterranean with long, hot and dry summers and short, mild winters; the average annual temperature is 16°C. Because of the fascinating scenery and biodiversity of the island and the richness of the surrounding sea created, some areas of the Vis archipelago have been designated as part of the Croatian National Ecological Network/ European Natura 2000 network. The 76 nautical miles long, indented shore abounds with sandy and pebbly beaches, and mountain caves. The island is rich in history since its colonization by the Illyrians, followed by the Greeks and Romans.

Rukavac Bay

In 2007, the Blue World Institute began expanding the Adriatic Dolphin Project to the area of Vis, its second long-term monitoring of resident bottlenose dolphins in the central Adriatic Sea around Vis Island, where we expected to gain insights into the life of bottlenose dolphins in a relatively pristine environment, with low anthropogenic disturbance. As local bottlenose dolphins in Vis area live in the open sea and are surrounded by vast pelagic habitat, this research provides comparative results to those obtained surveying coastal communities confined by more or less narrow and shallow channels on Lošinj and Murter additionally give an impetus for a long-term study.

Dolphins in front of the Oceanographic Institute in Split

Bottlenose dolphins can be found in the archipelago on a regular basis. Groups observed have had over 40 individuals, including females with new-born calves, indicating that the area represents a nursing ground. Research has revealed that a number of animals show high site fidelity. Sighting frequency is high with several hundred individuals inhabiting the study area.

Several other Cetacean species have been recorded here and we also encountered giant devil rays (Mobula mobular), blue-fin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), Eleonora’s falcons (Falco eleonorae), Mediterranean flying fish (Cheilopogon heterurus),  Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) and Scopoli’s shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea), and European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) among others. There are also occasional reports of sightings of monk seal (Monachus monachus), great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and other endangered animals.

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