The Sussex Dolphin Project, launched in 2018 as a project of the World Cetacean Alliance, is committed to protecting dolphins through Research, Awareness and Education. Its citizen science programme gives the community a chance to get involved and help them to study marine mammals. The Shoreham Society is hosting a Zoom talk given by the Sussex Dolphin Project on 20th January 2023.
Research into marine mammals off the coast of Sussex has so far been minimal. With the busy shipping traffic, commercial fishery and high recreational use, it was presumed that this would be an area with low marine mammal activity. However, anecdotal and historical evidence indicated that this is not the case and we are beginning to learn more about these animals thanks to citizen science.
Volunteers are at the Heart of the Research
The Project has created a network of marine mammal spotters across the Sussex coastline and encourage members of the public to send in sightings of marine mammals, including photos and videos, and details on numbers of individuals, behaviour, direction of travel and time observed.
The Project uses sightings data to:
- identify and document the cetaceans that regularly visit the Eastern English Channel;
- better understand populations and their behaviour;
- collect data to identify the vital habitats, prey species and health of the marine ecosystem as a whole;
- share information with NGOs and partner agencies, to increase understanding of cretacean distribution and abundance.
Common dolphins have a characteristic figure-of-8 pattern on their flanks which is tawny/yellow, brown, grey and black. They have a white belly and a sickle shaped dorsal fin. They are between 1.7-2.5m long. Common dolphins are a highly active species. They are fast swimmers and regularly ride the bow waves of boats.
With increasing threats to wildlife survival, the Sussex Dolphin Project believes it is a privilege to have the opportunity to be involved in helping to collect data on one of the smartest and most endearing marine mammals right on our doorstep.
We are delighted that they are going to share their expertise with us and show how Shoreham Society members can support and be involved in the Project.
The talk will be exclusively on Zoom at 7pm on Friday 20th January 2023. The Zoom link for this talk is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82059213689?pwd=b0ZvT2gyMWtLZ3dmU1N2anJYRUNhUT09.