In summer months in the Western Mediterranean Sea, vessel abundance recorded in the presence of cetacean species is lower by 20% compared to locations where no cetacean are observed. This is the general result emerging from a recent study by PhD student of Tuscia University (Viterbo, Italy) and the research network for cetacean monitoring led by Italian Research Institute ISPRA, who investigated at large scale the relationship between vessels presence and cetacean sightings in the high sea areas of the Western Mediterranean Sea region.
Results obtained show that vessel abundance was significantly lower in areas with animals’ presence with respect to areas where no cetacean were observed, likely depending on a negative response of the animals towards ships. This was found for all cetacean species except bottlenose dolphin, a coastal species more used to share its typical habitat with boats.
Marine Environmental Research (109-2015), available online at