Ionian Dolphin Project
The Ionian Dolphin Project works to ensure the long-term viability of dolphin species living in coastal waters of western Greece.
Dolphins inhabiting the coastal waters of Greece are facing significant threats. Some dolphin populations must deal with increasing human encroachment, while others have disappeared altogether from portions of their former range. Since 1991 the Ionian Dolphin Project works to ensure the long-term viability of dolphin species living in two coastal areas of western Greece: the Gulf of Ambracia and the Inner Ionian Sea archipelago. These two study areas are remarkably diverse in terms of environmental features and threats posed by human activities, therefore they offer opportunities for understanding the links between dolphin status and habitat quality in different situations.
The Ionian Dolphin Project aims to understand, through long-term monitoring, how the local dolphin communities interact with their environment and how human activities—particularly fisheries and pollution—may affect its conservation status. By deploying state-of-the-art techniques, the project contributes tools to 1) inform management action, 2) promote marine conservation in Greece, and 3) support conservation efforts in the wider Mediterranean region.
Through their quality of umbrella, flagship and cultural keystone species, charismatic animals such as dolphins can be important drivers of the conservation process. Our conservation activities should result in local citizens, stakeholders and authorities being aware of the ecosystem services provided by a diverse and healthy habitat, and thereby, the importance of endorsing sustainable management. People need to care, and caring largely comes from knowing and understanding.