Fin Whale Occurrence Increasing in Mediterranean

Written by on January 27, 2013 in Marine Life, Whales & Dolphins
Fin whale.

Fin whale. Photo credit: NOAA.

A recent study found that the occurrence of fin whales in the Mediterranean has increased by 300 percent over 20 years.

Data was collected by the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) by performing cetacean surveys along a fixed transect in thTyrrhenian Sea twice a week from 1989 to 1992. The researchers used passenger ferries as observation platforms which provided them with a cost-effective method to travel the exact same route every time. The research restarted in 2007 with a fixed transect just south of the Pelagos Sanctuary.

During both research periods, the most commonly sighted species were striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).

Throughout the research, fin whales were the only species that experienced any major change. Sightings increased more than 300 percent and their distribution in the area changed dramatically between the two periods. The researchers suggest that the increase could be due to high levels of Chlorophyll and an increase in maritime traffic in the Pelagos Sanctuary.

To learn more:

Fin whale.

Fin whale. Photo credit: NOAA.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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