Spermwhales in Bergeggi

Study of the sperm whale and its presence in the canyons near the Bergeggi Island Marine Protected Area

One of our team's research projects focuses on the study of the largest predator in the world, the sperm whale ( Physeter macrocephalus - Physeter catodon ) , and in particular on its presence in the canyons present near the Marine Protected Area of ​​Bergeggi Island . The Ligurian Sea hosts several Marine Protected Areas (AMP) which together with the Institution of the Pelagos Marine Mammal Sanctuary, completes the set of interventions aimed at the protection of the Ligurian Sea; in this context, the study carried out by Menkab aimed at understanding the relationship between the megafauna present in the areas characterized by canyons and the coastal area characterized by the presence of the Marine Protected Area of ​​the Island of Bergeggi is part of this context.

This study could allow us to understand the functioning of Ligurian marine ecosystems, estimate their condition and the distribution dynamics of some species, not only that of the sperm whale . The study of the role that underwater canyons play in representing a "refuge" area for some cetacean populations, could be particularly important for the protection of large predators.

The importance of this area as a passage and presence of the sperm whale has always been recognized and in this sense the Menkab team has also been involved in the LIFE Whale Safe project, conducted by the University of Genoa, precisely to evaluate and develop an interference prevention system aimed at identifying and following sperm whales , identifying threats and preventing collisions and other risks by issuing real-time warning messages to ships in the area.

Menkab took part in the logistic outings to verify the presence of sperm whales in the area and still carries out autonomously monitoring for the reporting of this species, through the search for specimens through observation and sighting.