Spermwhales in Mediterranean Sea

Study and monitoring and tracking of sperm whales in the Mediterranean area

The sperm whale ( Physeter macrocephalus , L. 1758) is the largest living predator . In the Red List (IUCN, Red-list ), this species is classified as "Vulnerable" worldwide. The Mediterranean population, separate from the Atlantic population, is instead classified as "Threatened". In this context, knowing the movements within the Mediterranean, the migratory routes, the frequented areas and the connectivity patterns with the Atlantic Ocean and within the Mediterranean itself , are fundamental points for promoting plans of protection and conservation of this giant of our sea.

Our project, by means of two methodologies (population genetics and photo identification), has the following objectives:

  • identify areas and / or populations genetically isolated within the Mediterranean and therefore at risk;
  • quantify the gene flow between the western and eastern Mediterranean basins;
  • analyze the presence of social units in the Ligurian Sea , the northernmost point of the Mediterranean
  • analizzare la presenza di unità sociali nel mar Ligure, il punto più a nord del Mediterraneo