Sci. publications

(in chronological order)

Reprint (pdf) requests for  the papers listed below (in red) may be sent to: disciara (at) disciara (.) org

1. Gandolfi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1971. The influence of recent experiences on the conquest of territory in Padogobius martensi (Teleostei, Gobiidae). Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rendiconti Scienze Fisiche Matematiche Naturali 51:405-410.

2. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1977. A killer whale (Orcinus orca L.) attacks and sinks a sailing boat. Natura (Milano) 68(3-4):218-220. reprint available

3. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1979. Su di uno scheletro di Balaenoptera edeni Anderson 1878, spiaggiato sulle coste caraibiche del Venezuela (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae). Natura (Milano) 70(4):265-274. reprint available

4. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Watkins W.A. 1980. A remora, Remilegia australis, attached to an Atlantic spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 79(3):119-121. reprint available

5. Wolfson F.H., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1981. The whale shark, Rhiniodon typus Smith 1828: an annotated bibliography (Selachii, Rhiniodontidae). Atti Società Italiana di Scienze naturali, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 122(3-4):171-203. reprint available

6. Cagnolaro L., Di Natale A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1983. Guide per il riconoscimento delle specie animali delle acque lagunari e costiere italiane. AQ/1/224. No. 9. Cetacei. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy 186 pp.

7. Watkins W.A., Moore K.E., Sigurjonsson J., Wartzok D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1984. Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) tracked by radio in the Irminger Sea. Rit Fiskideildar 8(1):1-14. reprint available

8. Schweitzer J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1986. The rete mirabile cranica in the genus Mobula: a comparative study. Journal of Morphology 188:167-178. reprint available

9. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cagnolaro L. 1986. Richiesta di collaborazione dei musei italiani per lo studio dei cetacei. Museologia scientifica 3(3-4):287-288.

10. Watkins W.A., Tyack P., Moore K.E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Steno bredanensis in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Mammal Science 3(1):78-82. reprint available

11. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Eco-ethological aspects of the genus Mobula (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae) in the Gulf of California (Mexico). Italian Journal of Zoology (N.S.) 21:196.

12. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. A revisionary study of the genus Mobula Rafinesque, 1810 (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae), with the description of a new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 91:1-91. reprint available

13. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Killer whale, Orcinus orca, in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Mammal Science 3(4):356-360. reprint available

14. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cagnolaro L. 1987. I nomi italiani dei cetacei. Bollettino di Zoologia 4:359-365. reprint available

15. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Myliobatiform rays fished in the southern Gulf of California (Baja California Sur, Mexico) (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes). Memorias V Symposio Biologia Marina, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur:109-115. reprint available

16. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1988. Natural history of the rays of the genus Mobula in the Gulf of California. Fishery Bulletin 86(1):45-66. reprint available

17. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Serena F. 1988. Term embryo of Mobula mobular (Bonnaterre, 1788) from the northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae). Atti Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Milano 129(4):396-400. reprint available

18. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hillyer E.V. 1989. Mobulid rays off Eastern Venezuela. Copeia 1989(3):607-614. reprint available

19. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1990. A note on the cetacean incidental catch in the Italian driftnet swordfish fishery, 1986-1988. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 40:459-460. reprint available

20. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Airoldi S., Bearzi G., Borsani J.F., Cavalloni B., Cussino E., Jahoda M., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M. 1990. Distribution and relative abundance of cetaceans in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 4:41-43.

21. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Pavan G. 1990. Underwater acoustic signals of the striped dolphin, Stenella coerule­oalba. European Research on Cetaceans 4:69.

22. Focardi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M., Marsili L. 1991. Subcutaneous organochlorine levels in finback whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 5:93-96.

23. Borsani J.F, Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. A cetacean sound library catalogue of the Mediterranean Sea. Bioacoustics 4(1):60-61.

24. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M. 1992. The use of non-destructive biomarker in Mediterranean cetaceans: preliminary data on MFO activity in skin biopsy. Marine Pollution Bulletin 24(9):459-461.

25. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Research activities and conservation status of cetaceans in Italy. Bollettino del Museo dell’Istituto di Biologia, Genova 56-57:53-85. reprint available

26. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bonomi L. 1992. Bottlenose dolphins off Croatia: a socio-ecological study. European Research on Cetace­ans 6:130-133.

27. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. An acoustic study of sperm whales (Physeter catodon) and other cetaceans in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea and the western Ionian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:171-173.

28. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Jahoda M. 1992. Photo-identification and behavioural observations of fin whales summering in the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:86-89.

29. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Acquarone M. 1992. Cetacean sighting reports by amateurs: a two-sided coin. European Research on Cetaceans 6:79-82. reprint available

30. Acquarone M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Pigmentation patterns of striped dolphins in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:203-205.

31. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Preliminary observations of bottlenose dolphins near the Island of Tavolara, Sardinia. European Research on Cetaceans 6:127-129.

32. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Cetacean Sound Archive: collection of sound recordings of cetaceans from the Medi­terranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:168-170.

33. Focardi S., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Organochlorines and trace elements in subcutaneous blubber of Bal­aenoptera physalus and Stenella coeruleoalba. European Research on Cetaceans 6:230-233.

34. Politi E., Bearzi M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cussino E., Gnone G. 1992. Distribution and frequency of cetaceans in the waters adjacent to the Greek Ionian Islands. European Research on Cetaceans 6:75-78.

35. Notarbartolo G., Ausenda F., Orsi Relini L., Relini G. 1992. Una proposta di gestione dell’ambiente pelagico: la Riserva della Biosfera nel Bacino corso-ligure provenzale. Atti XXII Congresso della Società Italiana di Biologia Marina, Cagliari, Santa Margherita di Pula, 20-24 May 1991. Oebalia, Supplemento 17:517-521. reprint available

36. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. I cetacei del Mediterraneo. pp. 39-52 in: XIX Seminario sulla Evoluzione Biologica e i grandi problemi della Biologia: faune attuali e faune fossili, Roma, 26-28 febbraio 1992. Contributi del Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Roma. reprint available

37. Watkins W.A., Daher M.A., Fristrup K.M., Howald T.J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. Sperm whales tagged with transponders and tracked underwater by sonar. Marine Mammal Science 9(1):55-67. reprint available

38. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M., Bearzi G., Borsani J.F., Cavalloni B. 1993. Cetaceans in the central Mediterranean Sea: distribution and sighting frequencies. Italian Journal of Zoology 60:131-138. reprint available

39. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Podestà M. 1993. Profilo della cetofauna dei mari italiani. Supplemento alle Ricerche di Biologia della Selvaggina 21:101-114. reprint available

40. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Forcada J., Acquarone M., Fabbri F. 1993. Population estimates of fin whales and striped dolphins summering in the Corso-Ligurian Basin. European Research on Cetaceans 7:135-138.

41. Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. Respiration patterns of fin whales summering in the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 7:237-240.

42. Lafortuna C.L., Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Saibene F. 1993. Respiratory pattern in free-ranging striped dolphins. European Research on Cetaceans 7:241-246.

43. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Focardi S. 1993. Skin biopsies in cetaceans: a non-destructive method for biomarker studies. European Research on Cetaceans 7:279-282.

44. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G. 1993. Cetaceans in the Northern Adriatic Sea: past, present and future. Periodicum Biologorum, Zagreb 95(4):517.

45. Di Natale A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. A review of the passive fishing nets and trap fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea and of the cetacean bycatch. pp. 189-202 in: W.F. Perrin, G.P. Donovan and J. Barlow (eds.), Gillnets and cetaceans. Reports of the International Whaling Commis­sion Special Issue 15 69 p.

46. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. The Mediterranean Sanctuary for the protection of cetaceans: a difficult transition from paper to reality. European Research on Cetaceans 8:18-21. reprint available

47. Watkins W.A., Daher M.A., Fristrup K., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. Fishing and acoustic behavior of Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) near Dominica, southeast Caribbean. Caribbean Journal of Science 30(1-2):76-82. reprint available

Abstract. Two pods of Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser 1956 (Fraser’s dolphin) were observed in the southeast Caribbean, off Dominica. On 26 October 1991 a pod of about 60 dolphins including small calves was observed for 2.5 h. On 28 October 1991 a pod of about 80 mostly larger dolphins was observed for more than 1 h. The pod of 26 October was composed of a number of groups. Individuals from several of those groups cooperated in herding fish identified as “rainbow runner” (Elagatis bipinnulatus) that were schooled near the surface. The pod of 28 October operated as one large, relatively tight group which separated for only short periods into two or three smaller groups which also chased near-surface schools of (unidentified) fish. Recordings of underwater sounds were made by a three-dimensional hydrophore array. Events were followed acoustically and visually, and video and photographs were taken of surface activities. The dolphins used broadband clicks in apparent echolocation, and communicative whistles with fundamentals ranging from 4 to 24 kHz, lasting from 0.1 to 2 sec. Repetitive sounds with distinctive frequency contours were produced by individuals.

 

48. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. La cetofauna del bacino corso-liguro-provenzale: rassegna delle attuali conoscenze. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 1(1):95-98. reprint available

49. Forcada J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Fabbri F. 1995. Abundance of fin whales and striped dolphins summering in the Corso-Ligurian Basin. Mammalia 59(1):127-140. reprint available

Abstract. A sightings survey was carried out in the western Ligurian Sea and in the offshore waters off western Corsica during August 1992, to estimate the density and absolute abundance of cetacean species in the area. Standard line transect analysis could be applied to the two most abundant species encountered, striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). Whale abundance was estimated as 901 individuals (coefficient of variation (CV) = 0,217 ; 95 % confidence interval: 591-1,374 whales), and striped dolphin abundance was estimated as 25,614 individuals (CV = 0.253; 95% confidence interval: 15377- 42658 dolphins). Densities of cetaceans presented here, compared to densities estimated in previous surveys across the entire western Mediterranean, highlight the importance of the Corso-Ligurian Basin as a main habitat for pelagic cetacean populations.

 

50. McEachran J.D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. Peces Batoideos. Pp. 745-792 in: W. Fischer, F. Krupp, F. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter, and V.H. Niem (Eds.), Guia FAO para la identificaciòn de especies para los fines de la pesca. Pacifico centro-oriental. Vol. 2. Vertebrados. Parte 1. FAO, Roma.

51. Politi E., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. A preliminary study of the ecology of cetaceans in the waters adjacent to the Greek Ionian islands. European Research on Cetaceans 8:111-115.

52. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. A comparison of the present occurrence of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, and common dolphins, Delphinus delphis, in the Kvarnerić (Northern Adriatic Sea). Annales (Annals for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies) 7:61-68.

53. Marsili L., Fossi M.C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Focardi S. 1996. Organochlorine levels and mixed-function oxidase activity in skin biopsy specimens from Mediterranean cetaceans. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin 5:723-728.

54. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Berubé M., Zanardelli M., Panigada S. 1996. The role of the Mediterranean in fin whale ecology: insight through genetics. European Research on Cetaceans 9:218-219.

55. Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1996. Distribution of cetaceans off northwestern Sardinia. European Research on Cetaceans 9:104-107.

56. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1996. Photoidentification-based tracking of resident individual bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (Northern Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 9:132-138.

57. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Problemi di conservazione degli elasmobranchi in Italia. Quaderni della Civica Stazione Idrobiologica di Milano 22:11-15. reprint available

58. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Barbaccia G., Azzellino A. 1997. Birth at sea of a false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens. Marine Mammal Science 13(3):508-511. reprint available

 

59. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E. 1997. Social ecology of bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric’ (northern Adriatic Sea). Marine Mammal Science 13(4):650-668. reprint available

Abstract. A bottlenose dolphin community was studied from small inflatable craft from 1987 to 1994 in a relatively large area (about 800 km’) east of the islands of LoSinj and Cres, northern Adriatic Sea. A total of 106 individuals were photoidentified based on natural permanent marks on their dorsal fins. Most of the dolphins were resighted on a regular basis, indicating a hig:h level of year-round site fidelity, although their range was evidently greater than the chosen study area. Dolphin density was highly variable and considerably lower than for most well-known bottlenose dolphin communities. Groups averaged seven individuals, with a mode of two. Groups entirely composed of adults were the smallest, groups with calves the largest. Group fluidity was high, seasonal and yearly changes in mean group size being also considerable. Summer was the peak calving season, with a striking variation in the number of births on alternate years. Poor evidence of shark predation was found. The social organization of this dolphin community seemed to be highly flexible, possibly as an adaptation to cope with environmental changes as well as with a limited and variable availability of prey.

 

60. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Gordon J. 1997. Bioacoustics: a tool for the conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 30:125-146. reprint available

Abstract. Massive human presence in the Mediterranean and inadequate management of marine resources have recently become a threat to marine mammal survival in this region. The main problems facing cetaceans in the Mediterranean include: by‐catch in fisheries competition with artisanal coastal gillnet fisheries, presence of noxious manmade, compounds in the trophic chains, and finally, a generalised degradation of environmental quality, particularly evident over the continental shelf, caused by loss of biodiversity, depletion of living resources, increased human disturbance, and changes in the physical and chemical properties of the environment. Conserving cetaceans in the Mediterranean is a modern challenge: appropriate management schemes and pollution control measures should enable marine mammals to coexist with intense human activities, and the Mediterranean could provide an excellent testing ground for such an enterprise. Recent developments in the field of marine bioacoustics could provide information highly relevant to the conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea: acoustic surveys can be performed to monitor the distribution and relative abundance pelagic species, and to investigate habitat partitioning of coastal species. Analysis of distinctive vocalisations can indicate the likelihood of links between Mediterranean an Atlantic populations. Finally, acoustics can play a major role in solving problems posed by interactions between cetacean and fisheries, in monitoring the effects of high‐intensity acoustic deterrents, and to understand the possible negative effects of some manmade noise on cetacean populations.

 

61. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Gordon J.C.D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Regional vocalisations of the sperm whale: Mediterranean codas. European Research on Cetaceans 10:78-81.

62. Jahoda M., Airoldi S., Biassoni N., Borsani J.F., Cianfanelli L., Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Panigada S., Zanardelli M. 1997. Behavioural reactions to biopsy-darting on Mediterranean fin whales. European Research on Cetaceans 10:43-47.

63. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Jahoda M., Biassoni N., Lafortuna C. 1997. Reactions of fin whales to approaching vessels assessed by means of a laser range finder. European Research on Cetaceans 10:38-42.

64. Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Mazzanti C. 1997. Cetaceans found in the waters surrounding Lanzarote, Canary Islands. European Research on Cetaceans 10:107-112.

65. Nascetti D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. A fin and sperm whale sighting programme undertaken by the Italian Navy in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 10:150-153. reprint available

66. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Bottlenose dolphins following bottom trawlers in the Kvarnerić (Northern Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 11:202-204.

 

67. Berubé M., Aguilar A., Dendanto D., Larsen F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Sears R., Sigurjònsson J., Urban-Ramirez J., Palsbøll P.J. 1998. Population genetic structure of North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Cortez fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758): analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear loci. Molecular Ecology 7(5):585-599. reprint available

Abstract. Samples were collected from 407 fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, at four North Atlantic and one Mediterranean Sea summer feeding area as well as the Sea of Cortez in the Pacific Ocean. For each sample, the sex, the sequence of the first 288 nucleotides of the mitochondrial (mt) control region and the genotype at six microsatellite loci were determined. A significant degree of divergence was detected at all nuclear and mt loci between North Atlantic/Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez. However, the divergence time estimated from the mt sequences was substantially lower than the time elapsed since the rise of the Panama Isthmus, suggesting occasional gene flow between the North Pacific and North Atlantic ocean after the separation of the two oceans. Within the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, significant levels of heterogeneity were observed in the mtDNA between the Mediterranean Sea, the eastern (Spain) and the western (the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of St Lawrence) North Atlantic. Samples collected off West Greenland and Iceland could not be unequivocally assigned to either of the two areas. The homogeneity tests performed using the nuclear data revealed significant levels of divergence only between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of St Lawrence or West Greenland. In conclusion, our results suggest the existence of several recently diverged populations in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, possibly with some limited gene flow between adjacent populations, a population structure which is consistent with earlier population models proposed by Kellogg, Ingebrigtsen, and Sergeant.

 

68. Marsili L., Fossi M.C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Nani B., Panigada S., Focardi S. 1998. Relationship between organochlorine contaminants and mixed-function oxidase activity in skin biopsy specimens of Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). Chemosphere 37(8):1501-1510.

69. Bearzi G., Fortuna C.M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1998. Unusual sighting of a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the Kvarnerić, Northern Adriatic Sea. Natura Croatica 7(3):169-278.

 

70. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E., Bayed A., Beaubrun P.C., Knowlton A. 1998. A winter cetacean survey off Southern Morocco, with a special emphasis on suitable habitats for wintering right whales. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 48:547-550. reprint available

Abstract. Between 20 January and 14 February 1996, a 20 m auxiliary ketch investigated the coastal waters of Southern Morocco, a former wintering ground for right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). The aims were to: verify if right whales could still be found in the area; evaluate the environmental conditions of the region and assess its suitability as a right whale habitat; investigate the status of other cetaceans living in the area; and establish a long-term cetacean sighting and stranding reporting mechanism in co-operation with the local authorities. A 750km survey yielded no cetacean sightings except inside Dakhla Bay, where communities of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Atlantic humpbacked dolphins (Sousa teuszii) were found to coexist. Local knowledge of a regular, predictable presence of large whales in the coastal zone was lacking. The hypothesis that the area still serves as a winter concentration site for the remnants of an eastern North Atlantic right whale population, although not falsified by this study, seems rather unlikely. The dearth of cetaceans in the shelf waters of Southern Morocco, as well as the possible over-exploitation of the fishing resources in the region, may be cause for concern and warrants further investigation. Finally, with the objective of increasing baseline information on the local cetacean fauna, and particularly concerning the possibility that right whales may be sighted in the future, a procedure was established for the long-term routine reporting of cetacean sightings and strandings by the Royal Navy of Morocco to the Groupe d’Etudes des Cétacés et Pinnipèdes du Maroc, Rabat.

 

71. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Diurnal behavior of free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (northern Adriatic Sea). Marine Mammal Science 15(4):1065-1097. reprint available

Abstract. The diurnal behavior of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) community was observed from small inflatable craft between 1987 and 1994. Following a preliminary ad libitum study 11,839 3-min behavioral samples were recorded in 1991-1994. The behavioral budget showed a predominance (about 80%) of activities characterized by long (>30 sec) dives, considered to be largely related to prey search or feeding. Obvious foraging near the surface was observed rarely. The frequent following of trawlers (accounting for 4.6% of the behavioral budget) was indicative of the presence of alternative strategies for finding food. Yearly and seasonal behavioral variation-particularly in feeding- related and travel behaviors-was consistent with the hypothesis of behavioral flexibility as a response to environmental changes and fluctuating prey kind and availability. Yearly shifts in social behavior appeared to be partly influenced by breeding cycles. Groups engaged in feeding-related activities were significantly smaller than traveling or socializing groups, and dramatic interannual group-size shifts seemed to be largely affected by environmental variables, rather than being entirely determined by behavioral activity changes. The remarkable behavioral flexibility of this bottlenose dolphin community may contribute to its survival in the shifting environmental conditions of the northern Adriatic Sea. However, the high proportion of time consistently devoted to feeding-related activities, as compared to other areas, suggests that food resources in the KvarneriC were not only highly variable but also depleted.

 

72. Lauriano G., Tunesi L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Salvati E., Cardinali A. 1999. The role of cetaceans in the zoning proposal of marine protected areas: the case of the Asinara island MPA. European Research on Cetaceans 13: 114-117.

73. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Clark C.W., Zanardelli M., Panigada S. 1999. Migration patterns of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): shaky old paradigms and local anomalies. European Research on Cetaceans 12:118.

74. Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M., Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Site fidelity, seasonal residence and sex ratio of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Ligurian Sea feeding ground. European Research on Cetaceans 12:124.

75. Biassoni N., Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Lafortuna C. 1998. Fin whale reactions to research vessels, assessed by the use of laser range-finding binoculars and respiration monitoring. European Research on Cetaceans 12:126-130.

76. Lafortuna C.L., Jahoda M., Biassoni N., Almirante C., Azzellino A., Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Saibene F. 1998. Locomotor behaviour and respiratory patterns in Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) tracked in their summer feeding ground. European Research on Cetaceans 12:156-160.

77. Fortuna C.M., Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Analysis of respiration patterns of bottlenose dolphins observed in the Kvarneric (northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). European Research on Cetaceans 12:151-155.

78. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Apparent lack of seasonal patterns in the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (north Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 12:202.

79. Bérubé M., A.Aguilar A., D.Dendanto D., F.Larsen F., G.Notarbartolo di Sciara G., R.Sears R., J.Sigurjonsson J., P.J.Urban-Ramirez P.J., Palsbøll P.J. 1999. Genetic analysis of the North Atlantic fin whale: insights into migration patterns. European Research on Cetaceans 12:318.

80. Palsbøll P.J., Berubé M., Clapham P.J., Dietz D., Feddersen T.P., Heiberg A.C., Heide-Jørgensen M.P., Jørgensen H., Larsen A.H., Larsen F., Lien J., Mattila D.K., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Post-glacial origin and expansion of Arctic and temperate cetacean populations in the North-Atlantic. European Research on Cetaceans 12:320.

81. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Casini S., Savelli C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Lorenzani J., Castello H., Junin M., Focardi S. 1999. Skin biopsy as a non-destructive tool for the toxicological assessment of marine mammal populations. European Research on Cetaceans 12:362-367.

82. Gordon J.C.D., Matthews J.N., Panigada S., Gannier A., Borsani J.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Distribution and relative abundance of striped dolphins, and distribution of sperm whales in the Ligurian Sea cetacean sanctuary: results from a collaboration using acoustic monitoring techniques. Journal of Cetacean Research & Management 2(1):27-36. reprint available

83. Brownell R.L., Jr., Tillman M.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Berggren P., Read A.J. 2000. Further scrutiny of scientific whaling. Science 290:1696. reprint available

84. Borsani J.F., Clark C.W., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Sound production by fin whales in the Corsican-Ligurian Basin, Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 14:75.

85. Airoldi S., Azzellino A., Fadda V., Gaspari S., Nani B., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Mariani M. 2000. Social ecology of Risso’s dolphins in the Ligurian Sea: preliminary results. European Research on Cetaceans 14:213-217.

86. Bearzi G., Politi E., Fortuna C.M., Mel L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. An overview of cetacean sighting data from the northern Adriatic Sea: 1987-1999. European Research on Cetaceans 14:356-361.

87. Serena F., Vacchi M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Geographical distribution and biological information on the basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas. Proceedings of the 3rd European Elasmobranch Association Meeting, Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1999. Paris : Societè Française d’Ichtyologie & IRD 2000:47-56.

 

88. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2001. Are the Mediterranean top predators exposed to toxicological risks due to endocrine disrupters? Annals of the New York Academy of Science 948:67-74.

Abstract. Man-made endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) range across all continents and oceans; some geographic areas are potentially more threatened than others: one of these is the Mediterranean Sea. This basin has limited exchange of water with the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by some of the most heavily populated and industrialized countries in the world. Accordingly, levels of some xenobiotics are much higher here than in other seas and oceans. In this research the unexplored hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pelagic fish and marine mammals) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. Here we illustrate the development of sensitive biomarkers (Vitellogenin, Zona Radiata proteins) for evaluation of toxicological risk in top marine predators (Xiphias gladius, Thunnus thynnus thynnus), and nonlethal techniques, such as nondestructive biomarkers (BPMO activities in skin biopsy), for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mammals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis, and Balaenoptera physalus).

 

89. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Ancora S., Moscatelli A., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2001. Do endocrine disrupting chemicals threaten Mediterranean swordfish? Preliminary results of vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins in Xiphias gladius. Marine Environmental Research 52:477-483. reprint available

Abstract. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have the potential to alter hormone pathways that regulate reproductive processes in wildlife and fishes. In this research the hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pelagic fish) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. These marine organisms tend to accumulate high concentrations of EDCs such as polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs). The potential effects of EDCs on a fish species of commercial interest, the top predator Xiphias gladius (swordfish), were investigated using vitellogenin (Vtg) and Zona radiata proteins (Zrp) as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Dramatic induction of typically female proteins (Vtg and Zrp) was detected by ELISA and Western Blot in adult males of the species. These results are the first warning of the potential risk for reproductive function of Mediterranean top predators, and suggest the need for continuous monitoring of this fragile marine environment.

 

90. Clark C.W., Borsani J.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Vocal activity of fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, in the Ligurian Sea. Marine Mammal Science 18(1):286-295. reprint available

 

91. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Ancora S., Mori G., Neri G., Ausili A., Romeo T., Moscatelli A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Biomarkers of exposure and effects for assessing toxicological risk of endocrine disrupters in top predators of the Mediterranean Sea. P.S.Z.N.; Marine Ecology, Supplement 1:184-189. reprint available

Abstract. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have the potential to alter hormone pathways that regulate reproductive processes in wildlife and fisheries. In this research the unexplored hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pela-gic fish and marine mammals) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. In the Mediterranean environment, top predators accumulate high concentrations of polyhalo-genated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals, incurring high toxicological risk. Here we illustrate the need to develop sensitive biomarkers for evaluation of toxi-cological risk in top marine predators (Xiphias gladius, Thunnus thynnus thynnus) and non-lethal techniques, such as non-destructive biomarkers, for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mammals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis and Balaenoptera physalus). Problem Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have recently attracted much public and sci-entific attention (Colborn et al., 1993; Colborn et al., 1996; Colborn et al., 1998). EDCs are a structurally diverse group of compounds that may adversely affect the health of humans, wildlife and fisheries, or their progenies, by interaction with the en-docrine system (Gillesby & Zacharewski, 1998). They include chemicals used heavily in the past, in industry and agriculture, such as polychlorinated biphenyls and organo-chlorine pesticides, and those that are currently used, such as plasticizers and surfac-tants. Many of the known EDCs are estrogenic, affecting particularly reproductive functions. These chemicals are especially damaging during the embryonic, foetal and early postnatal periods because they resemble or interfere with hormones, growth fac-tors and neurotransmitters (Colborn et al., 1998; Colborn, 1998). Because of the lipo-philic and persistent nature of most xenobiotic estrogens and their metabolites, many bioaccumulate and biomagnify (Colborn, 1998; Arukwe et al., 1997). Man-made EDCs range across all continents and oceans; some geographic areas are potentially more threatened than others: one of these is the Mediterranean Sea. This ba-sin has limited exchange of water with the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by some of the most heavily populated and industrialised countries in the world. Accordingly, lev-els of some xenobiotics are much higher here than in other seas and oceans (Bernard, 1978). Mediterranean marine fauna could therefore be a target of EDCs. In this peculiar environment, top predators (such as large pelagic fish and marine mammals) tend to accumulate high quantities of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals (Marsili, 2000; Nigro & Leonzio, 1996). For example, PHAH levels in a top Mediterranean predator, the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), are 1±2 orders of magnitude higher than in Atlantic and Pacific dolphins (Marsili, 2000) of the same species. This suggests the hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species are poten-tially ªat riskº due to EDC contamination. In order to explore the extent of this potential problem we applied diagnostic and prognostic tools (biomarkers) to monitor the exposure and effects of EDCs in Mediterranean terminal consumers. In this project, supported by the Italian Ministry of the Environment, the potential estrogenic effects of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons on Mediterranean top predators is investigated using sensitive biomarkers such as Vitel-logenin (Vtg), Zona Radiata proteins (Zrp) for evaluation of toxicological risk in Xi-phias gladius and Thunnus thynnus thynnus (Large Pelagic Fish Project), and non-lethal techniques, such as non-destructive biomarkers (BPMO activities in skin biopsy), for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mam-mals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis and Balaenoptera physalus) (Marine Mammals Project).

 

92. Fossi M.C., Borsani J.F., Di Mento R., Marsili L., Casini S., Neri G., Mori G., Ancora S., Leonzio C., Minutoli R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Multi-trial biomarker approach in Meganyctiphanes norvegica: a potential early indicator of health status of the Mediterranean “whale sanctuary”. Marine Environmental Research 54:1-7. reprint available

Abstract. The aim of this study was to propose a suite of biomarkers (BPMO activity, NADPHcytocrome c reductase, NADH-ferricyanide reductase, esterases, porphyrins, vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins) and residue levels (organochlorines, PAHs and heavy metals) in the zooplanktonic euphausiid Meganyctiphanes norvegica as a potential multi-disciplinary diagnostic tool for assessment of the health status of the Mediterranean ”whale sanctuary”. Very little difference in BPMO was detected between sites, with values ranging from 0.75 to 2.68 U.A.F./mg prot/h. On the other hand larger differences between sites were found for reductase activities. Esterases (AChE), porphyrins (Copro-, Uro-, Proto-porphyrins) vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins were also detectable in this zooplanctonic species. Hg showed mean levels of 0.141 ppm d.w., Cd 0.119 ppm d.w. and Pb 0.496 ppm d.w. Total PAHs ranged from 860.7 to 5037.9 ng/g d.w., carcinogenic PAHs from 40.3 to 141.7 ng/g d.w., HCB from 3.5 to 11.6 ng/g d.w., DDTs from 45.3 to 163.2 ng/g d.w. and the PCBs from 84.6 to 210.2 ng/g d.w.

 

93. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Monk seal apocalypse. Guest editorial. The Monachus Guardian 5(2):1.

 

94. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Neri G., Mori G., Ancora S., Moscatelli A., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Biomarker for endocrine disruptors in three species of Mediterranean large pelagic fish. Marine Environmental Research 54:667-671. reprint available

Abstract. The hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species, such as large pelagic fish, are potentially at risk due to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), is investigated. The potential estrogenic effects of PHAHs in three fish species of commercial interest, the top predators bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone), were investigated using vitellogenin (Vtg), zona radiata proteins (Zrp) and mixed function oxidases (EROD, BPMO) as diagnostic tools. High induction of Vtg and Zrp was detected by western blot and ELISAtechniques in adult males of X. gladius and T. thynnus thynnus, suggesting that these species are at high toxicological risk in the Mediterranean sea. Comparison of BPMO and EROD activities in the three species indicated, both in male and female, much higher MFO activity in bluefin tuna. This data suggests high exposure of this species to lipophilic xenobiotic contaminants in the Mediterranean environment.

 

95. Jahoda M., Lafortuna C.L., Biassoni N., Almirante C., Azzellino A., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Mediterranean fin whale’s (Balaenoptera physalus) response to small vessels and biopsy sampling assessed through passive tracking and timing of respiration. Marine Mammal Science 19(1):96-110. reprint available

Abstract. Twenty-five fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were individually studied in their Ligurian Sea feeding grounds to describe and measure short-term responses to the close approach of a fast-moving inflatable craft from which biopsy samples were collected. Passive tracking was performed with a new technique based on simultaneous determination of (1) position of the observation vessel, (2) laser-measured distance between the target animal and the observation vessel, and (3) azimuth of the target animal with respect to the observation vessel. Tracking was combined with timing of the surfacing intervals. Two different swimming-surfacing patterns supposed to be related to feeding and traveling, respectively, were observed. Supposed feeding whales reacted to disturbance by changing their behavior into traveling. Two different avoidance strategies were performed simultaneously by the whales: travel at increased velocity and reduction of the time spent at the surface. After the disturbance ceased, the surfacing activity never completely reverted to predisturbance conditions during one hour of postexposure control and supposed feeding behavior appeared to be suspended indefinitely. Our results suggest the need for whale watching regulations in the Ligurian Sea, particularly as far as presumed feeding whales are concerned.

 

96. Clapham P.J., Berggren P. Childerhouse S., Friday N.A., Kasuya T., Kell L., Kock K.-H., Manzanilla-Naim S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Perrin W.F., Read A.J., Reeves R.R., Rogan E., Rojas-Bracho L., Smith T.D., Stachowitsch M., Taylor B.L., Wade P.R., Brownell R.L., Jr. 2003. Whaling as science. Bioscience 53(3):210-212. reprint available

 

97. Orians G., Briand F., Diamond J., Colborn T., Gomez E., Guillemin R., Klug A., Konishi M., Lubchenco J., Mee L., Norse E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Payne R., Safina C., Suzuki D., Wilson E.O., Woodwell G. 2003. “Scientists versus Whaling”: whose errors of judgment? Bioscience 53(3):200-203. reprint available

 

98. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Jahoda M., Airoldi S. 2003. Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus (L., 1758), in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33(2):105-150. reprint available

Abstract. 1. The ecology and status of fin whales Balaenoptera physalus in the Mediterranean Sea is reviewed. The species’ presence, morphology, distribution, movements, population structure, ecology and behaviour in this semi-enclosed marine region are summarized, and the review is complemented with original, previously unpublished data. 2. Although the total size of the fin whale population in the Mediterranean is unknown, an estimate for a portion of the western basin, where most of the whales are known to live, was approximately 3500 individuals. High whale densities, comparable to those found in rich oceanic habitats, were found in well-defined areas of high productivity. Most whales concentrate in the Ligurian-Corsican-Provençal Basin, where their presence is particularly noticeable during summer; however, neither their movement patterns throughout the region nor their seasonal cycle are clear. 3. Based on genetic studies, fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea are distinct from North Atlantic conspecifics, and may constitute a resident population, separate from those of the North Atlantic, despite the species’ historical presence in the Strait of Gibraltar. Fin whales are known to calve in the Mediterranean, with births peaking in November but occurring at lower rates throughout the year. They feed primarily on krill Meganyctiphanes norvegica which they capture by diving to depths in excess of 470 m. It is suggested that the extensive vertical migratory behaviour of its main prey may have influenced the social ecology of this population. 4. Known causes of mortality and threats, including collisions with vessels, entanglement in fishing gear, deliberate killing, disturbance, pollution and disease, are listed and discussed in view of the implementation of appropriate conservation measures to ensure the species’ survival in the region.

 

99. Reeves R.R., Smith B.D., Crespo E.A. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Dolphins, whales and porpoises: 2002 ­ 2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans. IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. ix + 139pp.

 

100. Bearzi G., Reeves R.R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E., Cañadas A., Frantzis A., Mussi B. 2003. Ecology, status and conservation of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33(34):224-252. reprint available

Abstract. 1. The recent decline in the Mediterranean population of short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis has been the subject of scientific controversy and political indifference. Research on these animals has been very limited and there has been no large-scale, systematic effort to assess and monitor their abundance and distribution. The consequent lack of data has prevented a good understanding of historical and ongoing trends. 2. Nonetheless, literature and osteological collections confirm that common dolphins were widespread and abundant in much of the Mediterranean Sea until the late 1960s and that their decline occurred relatively quickly. Today, common dolphins remain relatively abundant only in the westernmost portion of the basin (Alboràn Sea), with sparse records off Algeria and Tunisia, concentrations around the Maltese islands and in parts of the Aegean Sea, and relict groups in the south-eastern Tyrrhenian and eastern Ionian Seas. Otherwise, these dolphins are rare in, or completely absent from, Mediterranean areas where information is available. 3. Circumstantial evidence and qualitative judgements by the authors suggest that the following factors may have contributed to the decline of common dolphins: reduced availability of prey caused by overfishing and habitat degradation; contamination by xenobiotic chemicals resulting in immunosuppression and reproductive impairment; environmental changes such as increased water temperatures affecting ecosystem dynamics; and incidental mortality in fishing gear, especially gillnets. The cumulative importance of these factors is poorly understood, and as a result, few conservation measures have been implemented. 4. This paper reviews current knowledge and suggests priorities for action aimed at identifying and mitigating the main threats to common dolphins in the Mediterranean, with the ultimate goal of restoring the species’ favourable conservation status in the region.

 

101. Lauriano G., Mackelworth P., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Densità e abbondanza del tursiope (Tursiops truncatus) nel parco nazionale dell’Asinara, Sardegna. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 10(2):717-720. reprint available

Abstract. In 2001 a dedicated survey was conducted in the Asinara Island National Park in order to estimate T. truncatus (Cetacea: Odontoceti) population density and abundance. Photoidentification s data were used/or capture-recapture method in CAPTURE software.

 

102. Lauriano G., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Mackelworth P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Presenza e distribuzione dei cetacei nelle aree limitrofe al parco nazionale dell’Asinara (Sardegna nord-occidentale). Biologia Marina Mediterranea 10(2):848-852. reprint available

Abstract. A dedicated survey on presence and distribution of cetaceans off north-western Sardinia was held between ’94 and ’96 summer periods. A total of 120 sightings of five cetaceans species has been recorded. Fin whale was the most abundant species. Both striped and bottlenose dolphin were regularly sighted on the study area. The waters around the Asinara Island National Park showed an interesting cetacean fauna and could be an useful area for study and regulated whale-watching activity.

 

103. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. The role of skin biopsy in the detection of exposure of endocrine disrupting chemicals in Mediterranean cetaceans. Journal of Cetacean Research & Management 5(1):55-60. reprint available

Abstract. Use of skin biopsy is proposed as a sensitive non-lethal technique for the hazard assessment of Mediterranean cetaceans exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are a structurally diverse group of compounds that may adversely affect the health of humans and wildlife or their progeny, by interaction with the endocrine system. In the Mediterranean environment top predators accumulate high concentrations of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals, incurring high toxicological hazard. In this paper, the hypothesis that Mediterranean cetaceans are potentially at risk due to PHAH-EDCs is investigated using skin biopsy samples. Benzo-alpha-pyrene monoxigenase (BPMO) activity in skin biopsies was used as a potential indicator of exposure to different organochlorines (OCs) known to have endocrine disrupting properties. The main objective of this paper was to use this non-destructive ecotoxicological tool to define the potential hazard to Mediterranean odontocete and mysicete species, comparing the present data with values detected in other cetaceans from heavily polluted areas, affected by pseudohermaphroditism and other reproductive dysfunction. Subcutaneous tissue consisting of skin and blubber was obtained from striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Mediterranean basin. Sampling was performed in the western Ligurian Sea, between Corsica and the French-Italian coast, and in the Ionian Sea. High concentrations of DDT metabolites and PCB congeners (known as Endocrine Disruptors) were detected in the different species. Significant differences in BPMO induction and OC levels were found between odontocetes and mysticetes. Differences in organochlorine bioaccumulation and consequently potential risk due to endocrine disruptors were primarily related to different positions in the marine food web. A statistical correlation was found between BPMO activity and organochlorine (op’DDT, a potent estrogen and antiandrogen and pp’DDE, a potent antiandrogen) levels in skin biopsy specimens of the endangered Mediterranean population of common dolphin. Several conclusions on the potential risk to Mediterranean cetaceans can be drawn from comparison of the levels of OC-EDs detected in Mediterranean odontocetes with those in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) of the St Lawrence estuary and bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) affected by pseudohermaphroditism and other reproductive dysfunction. Finally, these results suggest that BPMO induction may be an early sign of exposure to EDCs such as OCs and a warning of the possibility of transgenerational effects through exposure of future generations via the placenta and milk.

 

104. Palsbøll P.J., Bérubé M., Aguilar A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Nielsen R. 2004. Discerning between recurrent gene flow and recent divergence under a finite-site mutation model applied to North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) populations. Evolution 58(3):670-675. reprint available

Abstract. Genetic divergence among conspecific subpopulations can be due to either low recurrent gene flow or recent divergence and no gene flow. Here we present a modification of an earlier method developed by Nielsen and Wakeley (2001), which accommodates a finite-site mutation model, to assess which of the two models of divergence is most likely given the observed data. We apply the method to nucleotide sequence data collected from the variable part of the mitochondrial control region in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Atlantic coast off Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. Our estimations strongly favor a model of recurrent gene flow over a model of recent divergence and zero gene flow. We estimated the migration rate at two females per generation. While the estimated rate is high by evolutionary standards, exchange rates of this order of magnitude is low from an ecological and conservation perspective and entirely consistent with the current paucity of fin whale sightings in the Strait of Gibraltar today. Intensive commercial shore-based whaling during the 1920s removed substantial numbers of fin whales in the Strait of Gibraltar and this local population has seemingly since failed to recover.

 

105. Mo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G., Cozzi B. 2004. Conservation policies from a regional to a national approach: the formulation of the Italian action plan for the conservation of cetaceans. European Research on Cetaceans 15:177.

 

106. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M., Pesante G., Revelli E. 2004. Distribution and occurrence of fin whales in the Ligurian Sea between 1990-99. European Research on Cetaceans 15:194.

 

107. Roussel E., Beaubrun P., David L., Di Méglio N., Airoldi S., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. An application of the Poseidon Programme: preliminary comparison of fin whale and human activities summer distributions in the north-western Mediterranean. European Research on Cetaceans 15:201-203.

 

108. Lauriano G., Di Muccio S., Cardinali A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Interactions between bottlenose dolphins and small scale fisheries in the Asinara Island National Park (north-western Sardinia). European Research on Cetaceans 15:295-301.

 

109. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Neri G., Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Are Mediterranean cetaceans exposed to the toxicological risk of endocrine disruption? European Research on Cetaceans 15:338.

 

110. Jahoda M., Azzellino A., Lafortuna C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Almirante C., Borsani J.F., D’Amico A., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Bearzi G. 2004. Passive tracking and timing of respiration as a methodology to determine reactions of Mediterranean fin whales in response to different sources of possible disturbance. European Research on Cetaceans 15:355-357.

 

111. Bearzi G., Holcer D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. The role of historical dolphin takes and habitat degradation in shaping the present status of northern Adriatic cetaceans. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14:363-379. reprint available

Abstract. 1. Nine cetacean species have been reliably reported to occur in the shallow northern Adriatic Sea since the 17th century. However, only two species were considered regular there until the 1970s: the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). 2. Short-beaked common dolphins have progressively disappeared from the northern Adriatic and are now rare in the region. The systematic culling campaigns and other takes that occurred between the second half of the 18th century and the 1960s, and habitat degradation in subsequent years are the most likely causes of their decline. 3. Today, common bottlenose dolphins are the only regular component of the northern Adriatic cetacean fauna; however, they now occur at low densities, and their fragmented groups are facing significant anthropogenic threats. 4. The future of northern Adriatic dolphins will depend on precautionary action to prevent further decline and on intensified research effort aimed at identifying the most effective mitigation strategies.

 

112. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Briand F. 2004. Executive summary. In: F. Briand (Ed.), Investigating the roles of cetaceans in marine ecosystems. Venice, 28-31 January 2004. CIESM Workshop Monographs n° 25.

 

113. Lauriano G., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Interactions between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the artisanal fishery in Asinara Island National Park (Sardinia): assessment of catch damage and economic loss. Journal of Cetacean Research and management 6(2):165–173. reprint available

Abstract. In 1999, the Italian Central Institute for Applied Marine Research (ICRAM), in response to reports made by local fisheries, began a study into the interactions between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the artisanal fishery in the Asinara Island National Park (Sardinia). Using onboard observers, fishing boat surveys were carried out to determine the frequency of interactions, variations in the catch of target species and damage to two different types of trammel net caused by dolphins. Interactions occurred primarily with trammel nets targetting striped red mullet (Mullus surmuletus; the less valuable peacock wrasse, Simphodus tinca, was also caught). Interactions also occurred with trammel nets set for lobster (Palinurus elephas), cuttlefish (Sepia spp.) and scorpionfish (Scorpaena spp.), but these were considered negligible. The target species, catch and damage inflicted on the catch was recorded, both in the presence and absence of dolphins, in an effort to ascertain associated damage and economic cost. Loss of catch was found to be significant only in the case of nets deployed during the red striped mullet fishing season. Although the level of interaction was high relative to the narrow red striped mullet fishery season, the overall economic impact on the fishing community was found to be modest. The presence and regulations of the national park area may provide an opportunity for investigating mitigation activities compatible with both cetacean conservation and the maintenance of the traditional fisheries.

 

114. Greco S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Tunesi L. 2004. ‘Sistema Afrodite’: an integrated programme for the inventorying and monitoring of the core zones of the Italian marine protected areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14:S119-S122. reprint available

 

115. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2005. Le aree protette come strumento di tutela dell’ambiente marino. Pp. 201-220 in: G. Piva (ed.). I Parchi nel Terzo Millennio: ragioni e necessità delle aree naturali protette. Alberto Perdisa Editore, Bologna, 233 pp.

 

116. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G. 2005. Research on cetaceans in Italy. In B. Cozzi, ed. Marine mammals of the Mediterranean Sea: natural history, biology, anatomy, pathology, parasitology. Massimo Valdina Editore – The Coffee House Art & Adv, Milano. [download pdf]

 

117. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bonizzoni S. 2005. Scientific literature on Mediterranean cetaceans: the Italian contribution. In B. Cozzi, ed. Marine mammals of the Mediterranean Sea: natural history, biology, anatomy, pathology, parasitology. Massimo Valdina Editore – The Coffee House Art & Adv, Milano. reprint available

 

118. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli Panigada M., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M. 2005. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) summering in the Ligurian Sea: distribution, encounter rate, mean group size and relation to physiographic variables. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 7(2):137-145. reprint available

Abstract. This paper investigates the distribution of Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) between 1990-99 in the recently-established Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals. During the study period, 870 days were spent at sea, surveying a total of 73,046km, totalling 540 sightings of fin whales. Mean yearly whale encounter rates showed no significant differences in the first five years, but then steadily decreased between 1995-99. The highest encounter rates and largest mean aggregation size (mean=2.12; SD=1.32; SE=1.15) were in summer 1995 and the mean aggregation size throughout the study period was 1.75 (mode=1; SD=1.11; SE=0.05). Differences in mean aggregation size were significant between years, but not months. This is likely to be related to prey availability and to patchiness of plankton distribution. Generalised Linear Models were used to relate fin whale distribution to physiographic variables (mean, range and standard deviation of depth and slope, and distance from the nearest coast). Water depth was the most significant variable in describing fin whale distribution, with more than 90% of sightings occurring in waters deeper than 2,000m. This study demonstrates the deep water preference of fin whales in this area, emphasises the crucial role that this part of the western Ligurian Sea plays in the ecology of Mediterranean fin whales and provides recommendations for conservation and management measures in the area.

 

119. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli Panigada M. 2006. Fin whales summering in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea): overview of studies on habitat use and diving behaviour. Chemistry and Ecology 22(Supplement 1):S255-S263. reprint available

Abstract. This paper presents a review and summary of data on fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the recently established Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals. The data presented were collected by the Tethys Research Institute during summers of 1990-1999 during a long-term study on the habitat use and preferences of fin whales in this area, described as their major feeding ground in the Mediterranean. Data on the presence, distribution, habitat use, and diving behaviour are reviewed. The data presented here emphasize the crucial role that the pelagic portion of the western Ligurian Sea plays in the ecology of Mediterranean fin whales and provide impetus for the expeditious implementation of conservation and management measures in the area.

 

120. Holcer D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Fortuna C.M., Lazar B., Onofri V. 2006. Occurrence of Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic Sea: evidence of an important Mediterranean habitat. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 87:359-372. reprint available

Abstract. The intent of this work is to summarize the available knowledge on the appearance, identification and distribution of Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) in the Adriatic Sea through a review of historical data, inspection of natural history collections and collection of original data. In total, eleven occurrences are documented of Cuvier’s beaked whale along the Adriatic coast with all records originating from the deep southern Adriatic basin. The number of recorded stranded Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic represents about 3% of the recorded specimens in the entire Mediterranean. This percentage increases up to about 5% when considering only data collected after the first recorded stranding of the recent era in 1975. Comparing these percentages to the extent of the area relative to the Mediterranean, the proportion of occurrence of the total stranded Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic ranged between the same to double of that of the entire Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, the southern Adriatic Sea should be considered as potentially relevant habitat of the Cuvier’s beaked whale. This hypothesis has clear conservation implications particularly in the view of the adverse impact of sonar experiments, carried out by navies from several countries, on this species and should be further investigated. Finally, there is no evidence of the northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) ever having occurred in this part of the Mediterranean region.

 

121. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2006. I cetacei. Pp. 217-230 in: M. Fraissinet and F. Pedretti (eds.), Salvati dall’arca. Alberto Perdisa Editore. 663 pp.

 

122. Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Serena, F. & Mancusi, C. 2006. Mobula mobular. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2.

 

123. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hyrenbach D., Agardy T. 2007. The Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals: case study. Lessons in conservation. http://ncep.amnh.org/ncep.

 

124. Wright A.J., Aguilar Soto N., Baldwin A.L., Bateson M., Beale C.M., Clark C., Deak T., Edwards E.F., Fernández A., Godinho A., Hatch L., Kakuschke A., Lusseau D., Martineau D., Romero L.M., Weilgart L., Wintle B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Martin V. 2007. Anthropogenic noise as a stressor in animals: a multidisciplinary perspective. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 20(2-3):250-273. reprint available

Abstract. Consequences of extreme noise exposure are obvious and usually taken into some consideration in the management of many human activities that affect either human or animal populations. However, the more subtle effects such as masking, annoyance and changes in behavior are often overlooked, especially in animals, because these subtleties can be very difficult to detect. To better understand the possible consequences of exposure to noise, this review draws from the available information on human and animal physiology and psychology, and addresses the importance of context (including physiological and psychological state resulting from any previous stressor exposure) in assessing the true meaning of behavioral responses. The current consensus is that the physiological responses to stressors of various natures are fairly stereotyped across the range of species studied. It is thus expected that exposure to noise can also lead to a physiological stress response in other species either directly or indirectly through annoyance, a secondary stressor. In fact many consequences of exposure to noise can result in a cascade of secondary stressors such as increasing the ambiguity in received signals or causing animals to leave a resourceful area, all with potential negative if not disastrous consequences. The context in which stressors are presented was found to be important not only in affecting behavioral responses, but also in affecting the physiological and psychological responses. Young animals may be particularly sensitive to stressors for a number of reasons including the sensitivity of their still-developing brains. Additionally, short exposure to stressors may result in long-term consequences. Furthermore, physiological acclimation to noise exposure cannot be determined from apparent behavioral reactions alone due to contextual influence, and negative impacts may persist or increase as a consequence of such behavioral changes. Despite the lack of information available to managers, uncertainty analysis and modeling tools can be coupled with adaptive management strategies to support decision making and continuous improvements to managing the impacts of noise on free-ranging animals.

 

125. Wright A.J., Aguilar Soto N., Baldwin A.L., Bateson M., Beale C.M., Clark C., Deak T., Edwards E.F., Fernández A., Godinho A., Hatch L., Kakuschke A., Lusseau D., Martineau D., Romero L.M., Weilgart L., Wintle B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Martin V. 2007. Do marine mammals experience stress related to anthropogenic noise? International Journal of Comparative Psychology 20(2-3):274-316. reprint available

Abstract. Sound travels much further than light in the marine environment. As a result, marine mammals, especially cetaceans, rely heavily on sound for many important life functions, including breeding and foraging. This reliance on sound means it is quite likely that exposure to noise will have some detrimental effects on these life functions. However, there has been little application to marine mammals of the knowledge available in other species of stress responses to noise and other stressors. In this paper we begin to integrate what is known about marine mammals with the current knowledge gained in terrestrial mammals about stress physiology, specifically considering physiological and psychological context and thus also cumulative and synergistic impacts. We determined that it is reasonable to extrapolate information regarding stress responses in other species to marine mammals, because these responses are highly conserved among all species in which they have been examined to date. As a result, we determined that noise acts as a stressor to marine mammals. Furthermore, given that marine mammals will likely respond in a manner consistent with other species studied, repeated and prolonged exposures to stressors (including or induced by noise) will be problematic for marine mammals of all ages. A range of issues may arise from the extended stress response including, but not limited to, suppression of reproduction (physiologically and behaviorally), accelerated aging and sickness-like symptoms. We also determined that interpretation of a reduction in behavioral responses to noise as acclimation will be a mistake in many situations, as alternative reasons for the observed results are much more likely. We recommend that research be conducted on both stress responses and life-history consequences of noise exposure in marine mammals, while emphasizing that very careful study designs will be required. We also recommend that managers incorporate the findings presented here in decisions regarding activities that expose marine mammals to noise. In particular, the effects of cumulative and synergistic responses to stressors can be very important and should not be dismissed lightly.

 

126. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T., Hyrenbach D., Scovazzi T., Van Klaveren P. 2008. The Pelagos sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18:367-391. doi: 10.1002/aqc.855. reprint available

Abstract. 1. In February 2002, France, Italy and Monaco agreed to establish an international sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. The resulting Pelagos Sanctuary encompasses over 87 500 km2 of the north-western Mediterranean Sea, extending between south-eastern France, Monaco, northwestern Italy and northern Sardinia, and surrounding Corsica and the Tuscan Archipelago. 2. The Pelagos Sanctuary illustrates how the tenets of Marine Protected Area (MPA) design can be reconciled with the dynamic nature of oceanic systems, because its spatial scale was defined by oceanographic and ecological considerations, specifically the location of the Ligurian permanent frontal system. 3. By expanding protective measures beyond national waters, the Pelagos Sanctuary also sets a precedent for the implementation of pelagic protected areas in the high seas. The Pelagos Sanctuary will contribute to the conservation of the Mediterranean Sea at two scales: (i) locally, by protecting important cetacean foraging and breeding grounds in the Ligurian Sea, and by providing ‘umbrella’ protection to other marine predators in this area; and (ii) regionally, by empowering other conservation measures, such as the Specially Protected Areas Protocol of the Barcelona Convention and the wider goals of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black and Mediterranean Seas (ACCOBAMS). 4. However, because few cetacean species are resident within the Sanctuary, their effective longterm conservation will require large-scale management and coordinated monitoring throughout the Mediterranean basin.

 

127. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2008. Marine protected areas for cetaceans: basic concepts on selection, creation and management. Pp. 7-13 in: P.G.H. Evans (ed.), Selection criteria for marine protected areas for cetaceans. Proceedings of the ECS – ASCOBANS – ACCOBAMS Workshop held at the European Cetacean Society’s 21st Annual Conference, The Aquarium, San Sebastian, Spain, 22nd April 2007. ECS Publication Series n. 48. 104 p. reprint available

 

128. Guidetti P., Milazzo M., Bussotti S., Molinari A., Murenu M., Pais A., Spanò N., Balzano R., Agardy T., Boero F., Carrada G., Cattaneo-Vietti R., Cau A., Chemello R., Greco S., Manganaro A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Russo G.F., Tunesi L. 2008. Italian marine reserve effectiveness: does enforcement matter? Biological Conservation 141:699-709. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.12.013 reprint available

Abstract. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have become popular tools worldwide for ecosystem conservation and fishery management. Fish assemblages can benefit from protection provided by MPAs, especially those that include fully no-take reserves. Fish response to protection can thus be used to evaluate the effectiveness of marine reserves. Most target fish are high level predators and their overfishing may affect entire communities through trophic cascades. In the Mediterranean rocky sublittoral, marine reserves may allow fish predators of sea urchins to recover and thus whole communities to be restored from coralline barrens to macroalgae. Such direct and indirect reserve effects, however, are likely to be related to the enforcement implemented. In Italy, many MPAs that include no-take reserves have been declared, but little effort has been spent to enforce them. This is a worldwide phenomenon (although more common in some regions than others) that may cause MPAs and reserves to fail to meet their targets. We found that 3 of 15 Italian marine reserves investigated had adequate enforcement, and that patterns of recovery of target fish were related to enforcement. No responses were detected when all reserves were analyzed as a whole, suggesting enforcement as an important factor to be considered in future studies particularly to avoid that positive ecological responses in properly managed reserves can be masked by neutral/negative results in paper parks. Positive responses were observed for large piscivores (e.g. dusky groupers) and sea urchin predators at reserves where enforcement was effective. Those reserves with low or null enforcement did not differ from fished areas.

 

129. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Evans P.G.H. 2008. Fin whale Balaenoptera physalus. Pp. 669-672 in: S. Harris and D.W. Yalden (eds.), Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook, 4th edition. The Mammal Society, 3 The Carronades, New Road, Southampton SO14 0AA, Great Britain. 799 p.

 

130. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hanafy M.H., Fouda M.M., Afifi A., Costa M. 2009. Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) resting habitat in Samadai Reef (Egypt, Red Sea) protected through tourism management. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 89(1):211-216. doi:10.1017/S0025315408002221 reprint available

Abstract. The daily presence of spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris, inside a small reef offshore the Red Sea coast of southern Egypt was monitored from January 2004 to January 2006. Observations indicated marked seasonal and daily variations in the use of the reef as a resting and socializing area by the dolphins, consistent during the two years of monitoring. Overall, the mean number of dolphins present in the reef at any day was 39.2 (SD ¼ 39.34, range 0-210), with the lowest presence in February to April and the highest in June. Similar to other populations of this species in other oceans, dolphins entered the reef between daybreak and mid-morning, and started exiting during the afternoon hours. Although calves were seen in all seasons, a sharp peak was observed in June. Monitoring data provided indications relevant to governmental management efforts, which were implemented in 2004 to ensure that the dolphins could continue using the reef for their resting needs while a sustainable, respectful tourist activity is allowed in a designated zone of the reef adjacent to the dolphins’ core habitat.

 

131. Abdulla A., Gomei M., Hyrenbach D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T. 2008. Challenges facing a network of representative marine protected areas in the Mediterranean: prioritizing the protection of underrepresented habitats. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn164 reprint available

Abstract. The high endemism of the Mediterranean Sea provides strong motivation to develop a comprehensive plan for the conservation of its biodiversity and the management of its marine resources. Increasingly, this ecosystem-level approach calls for a comprehensive network of marine protected areas (MPAs) representative of the richness and diversity of this shared basin. Today, Mediterranean MPAs do not represent the diverse geography and habitats in the region. Despite a recent declaration on trawling restrictions in deep waters (.1000 m), there are no true deep-sea Mediterranean MPAs. All but one (98.9%) of the 94 marine areas currently under some type of protection or management are coastal. Moreover, 69 (73.4%) are located along the basin’s northern shore, highlighting the lack of MPAs in the south and east coasts. Yet, these underrepresented regions and habitats are ecologically distinctive by virtue of their particular oceanographic and biogeographic conditions. We identify several obstacles to Mediterranean MPA implementation and discuss how they can be overcome through strategic MPA network planning, contending that regional disparities in governance, institutional structures, wealth distribution, social capital, and availability of ecological data are responsible for discrepancies in the establishment and effectiveness of MPAs in this region.

 

132. Auster P.J., Fujita R., Kellert S.R., Avise J., Campagna C., Cuker B., Dayton P., Heneman B., Kenchington R., Stone G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Glynn P. 2009. Developing an ocean ethic: science, utility, aesthetics, self-interest and different ways of knowing. Conservation Biology 23(1):233-235. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01057.x reprint available

 

133. Dolman S.J., Evans P.G.H., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Frisch H. 2010. Active sonar, beaked whales & European regional policy. Marine Pollution Bulletin 63:27-34.  doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.03.034  reprint available

Abstract. Various reviews, resolutions and guidance from international and regional fora have been produced in recent years that acknowledge the significance of marine noise and its potential impacts on cetaceans. Within Europe, ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS have shown increasing attention to the issue. The literature highlights concerns surrounding the negative impacts of active sonar on beaked whales in particular, where concerns primarily relate to the use of mid-frequency active sonar (1–10 kHz), as used particularly in military exercises. The authors review the efforts that European regional policies have undertaken to acknowledge and manage possible negative impacts of active sonar and how these might assist the transition from scientific research to policy implementation, including effective management and mitigation measures at a national level.

 

134. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2010. The word’s two remaining monk seal species: how many different ways are there of being Critically Endangered? The Monachus Guardian 13(1):39-41.

 

135. Bearzi G., Pierantonio N., Bonizzoni S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Demma M. 2010. Perception of a cetacean mass stranding in Italy: the emergence of compassion. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 11 p. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1135 reprint available

Abstract. 1. The view that whales are malicious monsters has been pervasive throughout historical times. Conversely, the idea that these animals experience suffering has emerged only recently. One way of investigating perceptual, as well as behavioural, shifts is assessing general public reactions to mortality events involving wild, rare and charismatic animals. 2. Here, we report the responses of 118 individuals to questions regarding the mass stranding of seven sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) along the Adriatic Sea coast of Italy in December 2009, through interviews taken at the stranding site and in the direct proximity of the dead animals. 3. When asked why the whales were stranded, 44.1% of the respondents suggested anthropogenic causes and 21.2% non-anthropogenic. The remaining 34.7% mentioned a generic “disorientation” or stated they did not know. When asked how they felt about the whales, 68.6% expressed feelings of compassion or care towards the animals. Clearly non-compassionate attitudes accounted for only 4.1% of the sample. Finally, 21.2% expressed feelings that were ambiguous in terms of being suggestive of compassionate or non-compassionate attitudes, including 11.9% amazement, 4.2% deprecation and 5.1% powerlessness. 4. These results are in stark contrast with information obtained from accounts of similar events that have occurred in historical times, up until the first half of the 20th century. For centuries, responses to cetacean live strandings—typically including killing and harming of the animals—were either utilitarian or characterized by feelings including fear and a desire to “subjugate the beast”, with no apparent concern for their suffering and death. 5. We conclude that attitudes towards whales—today strikingly revolving around sadness, compassion and a sense of loss—have changed dramatically over time, with a steep turnaround in the 1970-80s. Full appreciation of the ongoing evolution in public perception can channel marine conservation efforts and assist in the design of response strategies to marine mammal strandings.

 

136. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Birkun A., Jr. 2010. Conserving whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas: an ACCOBAMS status report, 2010. ACCOBAMS, Monaco. 212 p. [download pdf]

 

137. Lauriano G., Panigada S., Canneri R., Manca Zeichen M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2010. Abundance estimate of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the Pelagos Sanctuary (NW Mediterranean Sea) by means of line transect survey. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(3):279-283.

Abstract. To assess cetacean densities in the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) specifically designated to protect cetaceans, a survey was carried out in the Ligurian-Provencal Basin (NW Mediterranean) in August 2008. An area of 58,000 km2 was surveyed in eight days with equally spaced zigzag transects, covering 1,255 km in favourable conditions. Tracklines were designed using Distance 5.0 to allow for homogeneous coverage probability over the selected area. Fifty three sightings of four cetacean species were made: striped dolphins (n = 37), fin whales (n = 12), sperm whales (n = 3) and Cuvier’s beaked whales (n = 1). Estimates of abundance were obtained using Distance 5.0. The estimated dolphin abundance was 13,232 (CV = 35.55; 95% CI = 6,640–26,368), with a density of 0.23 individuals km–1 (CV = 35.55; 95% CI = 0.11–0.45). No fin whale abundance estimate was possible due to the small sample size. The point estimate of the 2008 striped dolphin abundance estimate was almost half of that of a survey conducted in 1992 by Forcada and colleagues (1995) in the same area with comparable effort, platform and methodology (25,614; CV = 25.3; 95% CI = 15,377–42,658); nevertheless, the difference was not statistically significant. These results strongly support the need for further systematic monitoring in the Sanctuary and in the surrounding areas, in order to assess striped dolphin abundance, spatial and temporal trends.

 

138. Agardy T., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Christie P. 2011. Mind the gap: addressing the shortcomings of marine protected areas through large scale marine spatial planning. Marine Policy 35:226-232. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2010.10.006 reprint available

Abstract. A blind faith in the ability of MPAs to counteract loss of biodiversity is fraught with risk, especially when MPAs are poorly planned and when the consequences of establishing MPAs are not adequately thought out. MPA shortcomings are categorized as one of five main types: (1) MPAs that by virtue of their small size or poor design are ecologically insufficient; (2) inappropriately planned or managed MPAs; (3) MPAs that fail due to the degradation of the unprotected surrounding ecosystems; (4) MPAs that do more harm than good due to displacement and unintended consequences of management; and (5) MPAs that create a dangerous illusion of protection when in fact no protection is occurring. A strategic alternative, which fully utilizes the strengths of the MPA tool while avoiding the pitfalls, can overcome these shortcomings: integrating marine protected area planning in broader marine spatial planning and ocean zoning efforts.

 

139. Bearzi G., Pierantonio N., Affronte M., Holcer D., Maio N., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2011. Overview of sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus mortality events in the Adriatic Sea, 1555–2009. Mammal Review  doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2010.00171.x reprint available

Abstract. 1. In the Mediterranean Sea the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus is one of eight cetacean species considered to be regular inhabitants. Poor knowledge of its ecology and status, together with suspected decline in numbers, make studies of historical and present occurrence especially relevant. Long-term time series of stranding events are the most reliable data to provide a scientific framework for testing hypotheses that seek to explain the mechanisms responsible for cetacean strandings. 2. We present a comprehensive overview of cases of sperm whale mortality and human response to such events encompassing five centuries (1555-2009) within a portion of the Mediterranean Sea that offers a wealth of historical information— the Adriatic Sea. 3. A total of 36 mortality events were validated, involving 68 animals. Two findings of skeletal materials are also reported. The geographic distribution of strandings within the basin clearly was uneven, with 44.4% of records (n = 16) clustered along a 280 km portion of the western Adriatic coast. A relatively high number of mortality events occurred along gently-sloping sandy beaches away from suitable sperm whale habitat. 4. Until the first half of the 20th century killing of live-stranded animals was routine, all but one cases with known human response eliciting killing attempts. Starting from the 1980s, killing was replaced by efforts to rescue the animals. 5. Mass strandings of sperm whales have occurred since historical times in the Adriatic Sea. Mortality events involving multiple individuals accounted for at least 16.7% of the total sample (6 of 36 mortality events). At least 28.6% of live strandings (6 of 21) involved more than one individual. 6. This study contributes a long-term dataset based on careful validation of historical information, suitable for hypothesis-testing aimed to investigating spatial and temporal correlates of sperm whale strandings— particularly live strandings—as a clue to their causes.

 

140. Frantzis A., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Johnson C., Mazzariol S. 2011. Inter-basin movements of Mediterranean sperm whales provide insight into their population structure and conservation. Deep-Sea Research Part I. 58:454-459. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2011.02.005  reprint available

Abstract. The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600–2100 km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation.

 

141. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Caliani I., Panti C., Marsili L., Viarengo A., Giangreco R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Serena F., Ouerghi A., Depledge M.H. 2012. The role of large marine vertebrates in the assessment of the quality of pelagic marine ecosystems. Marine Environmental Research 77:156-158. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2012.03.003  reprint available

Abstract. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy has been developed and is being implemented, with the objective to deliver “Good Environmental Status” by 2020. A pragmatic way forward has been achieved through the development of 11 “qualitative descriptors”. In an attempt to identify gaps in MSFD, regarding the data on large marine vertebrates, the SETAC e Italian Branch organised a workshop in Siena (IT). Particular attention was paid to the qualitative descriptors 8 (contaminants and pollution effects) and 10 (marine litter). The specific remit was to discuss the potential use of large marine vertebrates (from large pelagic fish, sea turtles, sea birds and cetaceans) in determining the environmental status of pelagic marine ecosystems. During the workshop it emerged that large pelagic fish may be especially useful for monitoring short- to medium-term changes in pelagic ecosystems, while cetaceans provided a more integrated view over the long-term. A theme that strongly emerged was the broad recognition that biomarkers offer real potential for the determination of good ecological status detecting the “undesirable biological effects” (indicator for descriptor 8).

 

142. Weir C.R., Macena B.C.L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Records of rays of the genus Mobula (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes: Mobulidae) from the waters between Gabon and Angola (eastern tropical Atlantic) Marine Biodiversity Records 5; e26 doi:10.1017/S1755267212000061 reprint available

Abstract. The occurrence of the rays belonging to the genera Mobula (known collectively as the ‘devil rays’) and Manta is poorly documented in the eastern tropical Atlantic. Between August 2004 and September 2005, a total of 28 mobulid ray observations were recorded from geophysical survey vessels operating in the waters between Gabon and Angola. Water depth at the location of the sightings varied from 30 to 4000 m, reflecting an occurrence in both neritic and oceanic habitat. While most animals were unidentified to species level, photographs taken during two sightings facilitated the identification of two separate species/ species groups of Mobula. The first individual, photographed at the surface in deep water offshore of northern Angola, was identified as belonging to the M. mobular/M. japanica species group, comprising two species that are very similar in appearance and which future evidence may reveal to represent a single species. The second animal, photographed off Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo, was identified as a bentfin devil ray (M. thurstoni). The previously documented southernmost records of these species in the eastern tropical Atlantic were in the Mediterranean Sea (M. mobular), Coˆte d’Ivoire (M. japanica) and Senegal (M. thurstoni). These observations therefore extend the known distribution ranges into the south-east Atlantic Ocean.

 

143. Azzellino A., Panigada S., Lanfredi C., Zanardelli M., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Predictive habitat models for managing marine areas: spatial and temporal distribution of marine mammals within the Pelagos Sanctuary (Northwestern Mediterranean sea). Ocean & Coastal Management 67:63-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.05.024 reprint available

Abstract. Habitat use of seven different species of cetaceans inhabiting the Pelagos Sanctuary was studied using 18-year summer shipboard surveys data, in an area of approximately 25,000 km2. 2940 sightings were collected: 1996 striped dolphins, 626 fin whales, 120 Risso’s dolphins, 114 sperm whales, 27 common bottlenose dolphins, 25 long-finned pilot whales, 23 Cuvier’s beaked whales. Stepwise Logistic Regression Analysis was used to develop presence/absence predictive models. Statistics of depth and slope were used as covariates. Significant correlations were outlined (P < 0.05) supporting the hypothesis that physiographic factors may be employed as predictors of the species presence. The temporal variability of the species habitat use was also analyzed, confirming the reliability of the physiographic predictors. Temporal trends and variability in the species distribution were also assessed through a GLM analysis. The understanding offered by this long-term study is essential for managing the conservation status of these wide-ranging species. Physiographic factors may be employed as predictors of cetacean species presence. Predictions based on bathymetry were reliable despite temporal variability. This study findings provide insights about the biodiversity of unsurveyed areas. Model predictions allow to assess potential vulnerability of marine environments. Knowledge about resources vulnerability is the basis for any management plan.

 

144. Adnet S., Cappetta H., Guinot G., Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G. 2012. Evolutionary history of the devilrays (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes) from fossil and morphological inference. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 166:132-159. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00844.x  reprint available

Abstract. The exact affinities of the fossil teeth attributed to the devilrays (mobulids) are critical for resolving the debated origin of these giant pelagic rays amongst Myliobatiformes and the timing of their evolution toward planktivory. We performed the first detailed comparative description of teeth belonging to most of the living and fossil mobulids. Based on a survey of living devilrays, three dental morphologies are newly identified as cobblestone tooth plates, comb-like teeth, and peg-like teeth. In addition, all extinct mobulid species are reviewed with comments on their dentition, fossil record, and geographical distribution. As a result, three fossil mobulid taxa are newly described from the Late Eocene of south-west Morocco (Argoubia barbei gen. et sp. nov., Oromobula dakhlaensis gen. et sp. nov., and Eoplinthicus underwoodi sp. nov.). This has permitted the first assessment of the phylogenetic positions of extinct and extant species of mobulids, using cladistic analyses and a combined data set of nondental anatomical characters from the literature and the dental characters defined here. Our new results support the monophyly of mobulids including all living and most extinct species and indicate that mobulids are closely related to rhinopterids. They also indicate that there was a recent split within Mobulidae into the three tooth morphology groups that we describe in this paper. This work provides clues to the evolutionary history of this clade since the Early Eocene, including the gradual lack in tooth interlocking toward the filter-feeding strategy, whereas the preservation of cusped teeth without feeding function in modern filter-feeder mobulids is interpreted as a tool for precopulatory purposes.

 

145. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Ancient waves, recent concerns: the budding of marine mammal conservation science in Italy. Aquatic Mammals 38(4):441-455. DOI 10.1578/AM.38.4.2012.441  reprint available

 

146. Guidetti P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T. 2012. Integrating pelagic and coastal MPAs into large-scale ecosystem-wide management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2314  reprint available

 

147. Portman M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T., Katsanevakis S., Possingham H., Di Carlo G. 2013. He who hesitates is lost: why conservation in the Mediterranean Sea is necessary and possible now. Marine Policy 42:270-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.03.004  reprint available

Abstract. Marine conservation is urgently needed across the Mediterranean region, and much information exists to support establishment of conservation priorities and planning processes. Yet the identification of priority areas for conservation is challenging both from socio-political and ecological perspectives, and differing approaches to setting priorities have led to constraints and inertia. Based on a review of existing and proposed conservation initiatives at various scales throughout the Mediterranean, a model process is presented for furthering marine protection based on conservation priorities set at a regional scale and already endorsed internationally.  This article proposes implementing marine spatial planning within the eleven Ecological and Biological Sensitive Areas (EBSAs) of the Mediterranean Sea using an 8-step process designed for moving conservation forward in this particularly complex region.  The proposed process combines tenets of professional urban/regional planning and systematic conservation planning.  As shown with two specific examples, despite some conventional wisdom, there is enough information in the Mediterranean Sea to move forward with ecosystem-based marine spatial management for conservation purposes using the EBSAs as a starting point – and the time is right to do so.

 

148. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2013. Sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, in the Mediterranean Sea: a summary of status, threats, and conservation recommendations. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2409  reprint available

Abstract. 1. Sperm whales in the Mediterranean are a genetically distinct population classified as Endangered on the basis of the IUCN Red List criteria. 2. Threats that result in sperm whale direct mortality, such as bycatch in illegal driftnets and collisions with ships, together with the noxious effects of noise, pollution, ingestion of solid debris, disturbance from irresponsible whale watching operations, and possibly prey depletion and climate change, affect the survival of the Mediterranean population and are the cause of an inferred continuing decline. 3. Recommendations to sustain the presence of sperm whales in the Mediterranean in the future include respecting existing fishery, pollution and whale watching regulations, and introducing precautionary noise and maritime traffic regulations in areas characterized by high sperm whale densities, some of which could be considered for MPA designation. Finally, the regular monitoring of sperm whale population ecology, behaviour and mortality at the regional scale, to detect trends and help to understand links between the observed phenomena and their possible cause(s), could help to address other potential threats, such as prey depletion and climate change.

 

149. Lascelles B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T., Cuttelod A., Eckert S., Glowka L., Hoyt E., Llewellyn F., Louzao M., Ridoux V., Tetley M.J. 2014. Migratory marine species: their status, threats and conservation management needs. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 24 (Suppl. 2):111-127. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2512  reprint available

Abstract. Migratory marine species (MMS) include many of the world’s most charismatic organisms such as marine mammals, seabirds, turtles, sharks, and tuna. Many are now among the most threatened due to the diverse range of pressures they encounter during their extensive movements. This paper shows that 21% of MMS are classified as threatened (i.e. categorized as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable). Sea turtles are the most threatened group (85%), followed by seabirds (27%), cartilaginous fish (26%), marine mammals (15%) and bony fish (11%). Taken together 48% of MMS are threatened, Near Threatened or Data Deficient. As well as being threatened they share in common being wide-ranging animals, travelling through the waters of multiple nations as well as in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) during different times of the year. This makes their conservation a challenge, requiring coordinated action by many nations, international organizations, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and other stakeholders if their populations are to recover to healthy levels and be safeguarded into the future. Even though they are wide-ranging, long-term studies reveal considerable site fidelity and well-defined habitats for many species and areas. These sites are prime candidates for enhanced management such as via Marine Protect Area (MPA) designations. However, existing management frameworks do not yet contribute sufficiently to MMS conservation, MPA networks need to be expanded to capture key areas, in many cases through the application of new dynamic management techniques such as time area closures. Data on the distribution, abundance, behaviours and threats faced by many MMS are now available. These data should be used to inform the design of effective management regimes, such as MPAs, both within and beyond national jurisdictions. MEAs should ensure a full complement of MMS are included within species listings, and encourage further action to safeguard their populations.

 

150. Corrigan C.M., Ardron J.A., Comeros-Raynal M.T., Hoyt E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Carpenter K.E. 2014. Developing important marine mammal area criteria: learning from ecologically or biologically significant areas and key biodiversity areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 24 (Suppl. 2):166-183. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2513  reprint available

Abstract. This paper explores how criteria to identify important marine mammal areas (IMMAs) could be developed, and nested in existing global criteria. This process would consider 134 species of marine mammals. Particular attention is given to two suites of global criteria to identify areas important for the persistence of marine biodiversity: Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) developed through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in revision through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are seen as mutually complementary in the development of IMMAs. The specificities necessary for identifying important areas at scales below the global level may vary according to the region, the biophysical requirements of distinct populations, and available data. Refining and testing the applicability of these global criteria on marine mammals at both regional and national scales will be necessary. Combining area-based measures with non-spatial management actions will likely be the optimal approach for ensuring marine mammal persistence given their highly migratory nature and widespread life-history stages. Capacity to enact IMMAs is strengthened by the existence of professional marine mammal associations and networks, and the recently formed IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (MMPATF). The MMPATF is planning further development of IMMA criteria through joint work with the International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA).

 

151. De Boer M.N., Saulino J.T., Lewis T.P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2015. New records of whale shark (Rhincodon typus), giant manta ray (Manta birostris) and Chilean devil ray (Mobula tarapacana) for Suriname. Marine Biodiversity Records Vol. 8; e10; doi:10.1017/S1755267214001432 reprint available

Abstract. Little is known about elasmobranchs along the northern coast of South America. During five boat surveys in Suriname offshore waters we visually documented the presence and behaviour of the free-ranging whale shark Rhincodon typus and two mobulid rays: the giant manta ray Manta birostris and the Chilean devil ray Mobula tarapacana. Three sightings were made of R. typus at the surface in shallow coastal waters where the water depth measured 46–67 m. One of these sightings was confirmed by photographs. Manta birostris was positively identified on five occasions while at the surface, all in shallow waters of less than 57 m deep. Four additional sightings, not accompanied by photographs, were identified as Manta spp. One devil ray, photographed and identified as Mobula tarapacana, was recorded at the surface in deep waters (2491 m) in July 2012. These records of R. typus, Manta birostris and Mobula tarapacana are the first for Suriname and therefore add to the documented information of these species within the Wider Caribbean Region and contribute to the knowledge of the pelagic distribution of these species.

 

152. Cagnolaro L., Cozzi B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Podestà M. (Editors). 2015. Fauna d’Italia. Mammalia IV. Cetacea. Calderini – Edagricole, Milano. 375 p.

 

153. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2015. Marine conservation. Pages 145-156 in: H.D. Smith, J.L. Suarez de Vivero, T.S. Agardy (editors), Routledge Handbook of ocean resources and management. Earthscan from Routledge, London and New York. 612 p. reprint available

 

154. Croll D.A., Dewar H., Dulvy N.K., Fernando D., Francis M.P., Galván-Magaña F., Hall M., Heinrichs S., Marshall A., McCauley D., Newton K.M., Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G., O’Malley M., O’Sullivan J., Poortviet M., Roman M., Stevens G., Tershy B.R., White W.T. 2015. Vulnerabilities and fisheries impacts: the uncertain future of manta and devil rays. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems  DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2591  Open access

Abstract. 1. Manta and devil rays of the subfamily Mobulinae (mobulids) are rarely studied, large, pelagic elasmobranchs, with all eight of well-evaluated species listed on the IUCN Red List as threatened or near threatened. 2. Mobulids have life history characteristics (matrotrophic reproduction, extremely low fecundity, and delayed age of first reproduction) that make them exceptionally susceptible to overexploitation. 3. Targeted and bycatch mortality from fisheries is a globally important and increasing threat, and targeted fisheries are incentivized by the high value of the global trade in mobulid gill plates. 4. Fisheries bycatch of mobulids is substantial in tuna purse seine fisheries. 5. Thirteen fisheries in 12 countries specifically targeting mobulids, and 30 fisheries in 23 countries with mobulid bycatch were identified. 6. Aside from a few recently enacted national restrictions on capture, there is no comprehensive monitoring, assessment or control of mobulid fisheries or bycatch. Recent listing through the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) may benefit mobulids of the genus Manta (manta rays), but none of the mobulids in the genus Mobula (devil rays) are protected. 7. The relative economic costs of catch mitigation are minimal, particularly compared to a broad range of other, more complicated, marine conservation issues.

 

155. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Lauriano G., Pierantonio N., Cañadas A., Donovan G., Panigada S. 2015. The devil we don’t know: investigating habitat and abundance of endangered giant devil rays in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea. PLOS ONE 10(11): e0141189. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141189  Open access

Abstract. The giant devil ray Mobula mobular, the only Mediterranean mobulid, is subject to mortality caused by directed and accidental captures in fisheries throughout the region. Whilst the combination of human impacts, limited range and a low reproductive potential is not inconsistent with its endangered listing, there are insufficient data to enable a quantitative assessment of trends. Without this, it is difficult to assess and prioritise threats and develop effective conservation actions. Using results from aerial surveys conducted between 2009 and 2014 over the Ligurian, Corsican, Sardinian, northern and central Tyrrhenian seas (626,228 km2), this study provides the first quantitative information on giant devil ray abundance and habitat choice in the western Mediterranean. Devil rays were observed in all seasons except winter, with their estimated abundance in the study area peaking in summer. The overall uncorrected mean density in the study area during summer was estimated at 0.0257 individuals km-2 (range: 0.017-0.044), resulting in a total abundance estimate of 6,092 (12.7 %CV) individuals at the surface; once corrected for availability bias, this estimate indicates a summer presence of >12,700 devil rays in the study area. Rays were mostly observed alone even if occasionally, larger aggregations up to a maximum of 18 individuals were observed. Although observed throughout the study area, spatial modelling identified their preferred habitat to be over a broad strip connecting the Tuscan Archipelago to Eastern Sardinia, over a wide range of water depths ranging from 10 to 2000m. The observed seasonal changes in giant devil ray distribution in this study, combined with similar evidence from other areas in the Mediterranean, support the hypothesis that the species undertakes latitudinal migrations across the region, taking advantage of highly productive waters in the north during summer, and warmer southern waters during winter.

 

156. Coombes F.G., D’Incà M., Rosso M., Tepsich P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Moulins A. 2016. Description of the vessel traffic within the north Pelagos Sanctuary: inputs for Marine Spatial Planning and management implications within an existing international Marine Protected Area. Marine Policy 69:102-113. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2016.04.013  Open access

Abstract. International shipping, although considered a safe and environment-friendly form of transportation, has many direct and indirect impacts on cetaceans in many ways, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways. An AIS receiver located at 44.30 °N and 8.45 °E, operating between 3 May 2013 and 31 October 2014, provided a detailed description of the distribution, number, type and operation of vessels within the Pelagos Sanctuary, an international protected area dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals. A total of 3,757,587 km of vessel traffic was recorded from 82,831 transits by 4205 distinct vessels. The spatial and temporal distribution of traffic was not uniform and dependent on vessel type (0.00<r<0.7); the level of shipping differed spatially between day and night. Passenger vessel traffic was predominant, with 20,853 transits totalling 1,385,361km, followed by cargo (12,384 transits totalling 1,427,681km). Transit speed significantly differed amongst vessel types (F=12621, d.f.=5, p-value <0.0001) with passenger vessels the fastest (mean 15.4774.40 km). Hazardous cargo transits accounted for 435,116km. Vessels within the sanctuary navigated under the flags of 90 different states, invariable proportion depending on vessel type (X2=1231, d.f.=10, p-value <0.0001). The data presented in this study on high density shipping corridors and hazardous cargo supplies information for the identification of areas at higher risk from shipping. This data once integrated with available ecological data, can be used to inform ecosystem based management within a Marine Spatial Planning framework.

 

157. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Fernando G., Adnet S., Cappetta H., Jabado R.W. 2016. Devil rays (Chondrichthyes: Mobula) of the Arabian Seas, with a redescription of Mobula kuhlii (Valenciennes in Müller and Henle, 1841). Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2635  reprint available

Abstract. 1. Devil rays (genus Mobula) are pelagic elasmobranchs widely distributed throughout tropical, subtropical and warm-temperate waters. Their occurrence and distribution remains poorly documented in the Arabian seas region. A review is provided of species occurrence in these water bodies along with a synthesis of regional information on their biology and ecology. 2. Based on the available evidence, five Mobula species occur in the region (M. eregoodootenkee, M. japanica, M. kuhlii, M. tarapacana, and M. thurstoni). Of these, three (M. eregoodootenkee, M. tarapacana and M. thurstoni) were found to occur in the Red Sea, and three (M. eregoodootenkee, M. japanica, and M. kuhlii) were found to occur in the Arabian/Persian Gulf. M. japanica and M. kuhlii are reported here for the first time in Gulf waters. All five species were found in the Indian Ocean waters between the Gulf of Aden and Pakistan. 3. To address the still uncertain taxonomy of M. kuhlii, a redescription of this species is provided based on a sample of fresh specimen material. 4. Mobula diabolus is a nomen ambiguum, never used to unambiguously designate any newly described species, and its use should be avoided. 5. Considering the life history traits that make these species particularly vulnerable to fishing pressure, current levels of exploitation in bycatch fisheries are unlikely to be sustainable, despite the fact that the trade in gill plates does not seem to be prevalent in this region. Critical knowledge gaps unfortunately still exist, crippling effective management and conservation actions.

 

158. Geijer C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Panigada S. 2016. Mysticete migration revisited: are Mediterranean fin whales an anomaly? Mammal Review. DOI: 10.1111/mam.12069  reprint available

Abstract. 1. The generally accepted model of Mysticete whale migration assumes that most whales undertake seasonal migrations between high and low latitudes. Whilst numerous exceptions have been described in the literature, the traditional model remains unexamined. This paper represents the first “official” challenge to the traditional model of Mysticete migration. 2. We set out to review the current state of knowledge of Mediterranean fin whale migratory pattern, and to examine whether this small, resident population is an “anomaly” within the framework of the traditional theory of Mysticete migration. We investigated the prevalence of alternative strategies amongst the Mysticete whales, reviewing the migratory habits of the Mediterranean fin whales and those of other fin-and baleen whale populations. 3. We reach three main conclusions. First, the seasonal behaviour of the resident Mediterranean fin whales is highly dynamic and a decade of research has not clarified prevailing uncertainties regarding migration patterns. Second, migration strategies similar to those observed in the Mediterranean fin whales are commonly seen in other populations of baleen whales. Third, the traditional theory of whale migration is too simplified to accurately describe the repertoire of Mysticete migratory behaviours. 4. We argue that the paradigm of baleen whale migration warrants further scrutiny to account for more complex movement strategies. We suggest that Mysticete migration should be thought of as a continuum of different strategies that have evolved in the face of different selective pressures. Instead of representing an exception to the rule, the resident Mediterranean fin whales may in fact fall towards one end of a larger spectrum of migratory behaviours. A greater knowledge of ecological factors, reproductive patterns, and local adaptions will be needed to understand the evolutionary mechanisms behind the diversity of migratory habits.

 

159. Lawson J.M., Fordham S.V., O’Malley M.P., Davidson L.N.K., Walls R.H.L., Heupel M.R., Stevens G., Fernando D., Budziak A., Simpfendorfer C.A., Ender I., Francis M.P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Dulvy N.K. 2017. Sympathy for the devil: a conservation strategy for devil and manta rays. PeerJ 5:e3027 10.7717/peerj.3027   Open access

AbstractBackground. International trade for luxury products, medicines, and tonics poses a threat to both terrestrial and marine wildlife. The demand for and consumption of gill plates (known as Peng Yu Sai, “Fish Gill of Mobulid Ray”) from devil and manta rays (subfamily Mobulinae, collectively referred to as mobulids) poses a significant threat to these marine fishes because of their extremely low productivity. The demand for these gill plates has driven an international trade supplied by largely unmonitored and unregulated catches from target and incidental fisheries around the world. Scientific research, conservation campaigns, and legal protections for devil rays have lagged behind those for manta rays despite similar threats across all mobulids. Methods. To investigate the difference in attention given to devil rays and manta rays, we examined trends in the scientific literature and updated species distribution maps for all mobulids. Using available information on target and incidental fisheries, and gathering information on fishing and trade regulations (at international, national, and territorial levels), we examined how threats and protective measures overlap with species distribution. We then used a species conservation planning approach to develop the Global Devil and Manta Ray Conservation Strategy, specifying a vision, goals, objectives, and actions to advance the knowledge and protection of both devil and manta rays. Results and Discussion. Our literature review revealed that there had been nearly 2.5-times more “manta”-titled publications, than “mobula” or “devil ray”-titled publications over the past 4.5 years (January 2012–June 2016). The majority of these recent publications were reports on occurrence of mobulid species. These publications contributed to updated Area of Occupancy and Extent of Occurrence maps which showed expanded distributions for most mobulid species and overlap between the two genera. While several international protections have recently expanded to include all mobulids, there remains a greater number of national, state, and territory-level protections for manta rays compared to devil rays. We hypothesize that there are fewer scientific publications and regulatory protections for devil rays due primarily to perceptions of charisma that favour manta rays. We suggest that the well-established species conservation framework used here offers an objective solution to close this gap. To advance the goals of the conservation strategy we highlight opportunities for parity in protection and suggest solutions to help reduce target and bycatch fisheries.

 

160. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T. 2016. Building on the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. Pp. 162-179 in: P. Mackelworth (editor), Marine transboundary conservation and protected areas. Earthscan from Routledge, Oxford and New York, 313 p.   reprint available

Abstract. The Ligurian Sea region is highly valued among Mediterranean countries, known for its physical beauty and its importance in supporting cetacean species. The ecological importance of the area between Western Liguria, the west coast of Corsica and Southern France was highlighted by systematic surveys of large marine fauna starting in the 1980s, and revealed the area as being an exception to the generally low productivity of the Mediterranean Sea. Around the same time emerged the realization that a number of human activities such as fishing with pelagic driftnets, naval exercises and maritime traffic were posing significant threats to marine life, including cetaceans. These circumstances provided the impetus for the proposed creation of a large international marine protected area to safeguard the integrity of the pelagic ecosystem and associated biodiversity. This resulted in an Agreement signed in 1999 by France, Italy and Monaco that established an 87,000 km2-wide international protected area known as the “Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals”. In the years since, Mediterranean governance as well as regional and European marine conservation policies have evolved beyond recognition. Changes include the disappearance of the Mediterranean High Seas from Sanctuary waters and the development within the region of a number of novel initiatives at the European and Mediterranean levels. These include the entry into force of ACCOBAMS, the development of the “ecosystem approach” planning under the framework of the Barcelona Convention, the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the obligation for European Member States to implement national marine conservation strategies, and the onset of marine spatial planning (MSP). Against the backdrop of such changes and in the light of increasing ecological knowledge of the area’s cetaceans, the Sanctuary’s conservation role, goals and functioning should now be reformulated. There are many opportunities to springboard from the early designation of the Sanctuary to more effective transboundary and cooperative management. The Sanctuary designation has promoted considerable international discourse about specially protected areas, marine spatial planning, the special challenges of protecting highly migratory species, and the need for better coordination when dealing with shared waters and species. The Sanctuary designation has also affected domestic policy, Pelagos, along with the Port Cros Marine Protected Area and other small scale MPA successes, may have spurred the French into creating the MPA Agency and taking on national spatial planning and zoning. The Sanctuary designation provides a starting point for sustainable whale-watching as an important non-extractive use of the area, and recognition is growing about the value of the Sanctuary (and its fauna) for ecotourism and as a source of pride in the region’s towns and cities. This could be much further elaborated and used as an engine for conservation if the area to be jointly protected were expanded. However, future emphasis must be focussed on developing and implementing the international rules in this large (and perhaps growing) transboundary area. In this regard a revised, broader spatial plan could formalize international norms and create opportunities for rules and regulations that prevent cetacean mortality – as this is, after all, the main goal of the Sanctuary designation.

 

161. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hoyt E., Reeves R., Ardron J.,Marsh H., Vongraven D., Barr B. 2016. Place-based approaches to marine mammal conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 26 (Suppl. 2):85-100 DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2642  reprint available

Abstract. 1. Place-based conservation can be an effective tool for addressing threats to marine mammals, but this approach presents many challenges, such as the dilemma of whether to aim for protection at appropriately large scales or through networks of smaller protected areas, and how to address the socio-economic conditions of human societies whose welfare may conflict with marine mammal survival. 2. Protecting places to conserve marine mammals started about 50 years ago, when the first parks and reserves were established to protect the critical habitat of specific populations. However, the challenges of protecting habitats that cross national borders and span oceans including the high seas remain problematic. International cooperation is needed, e.g. within the framework of multilateral environmental agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), as well as a potential new agreement through the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 3. Increasingly, the process of demarcating Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is being supported by other spatial designations, including CBD’s Ecological or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs), the International Maritime Organization’s Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs), IUCN’s Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), and Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) adopted by the USA and Australia. Recently, the Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMA) designation has been introduced by the IUCN Task Force on Marine Mammal protected Areas. Such approaches have the potential to increase the protection of marine mammals within the overarching approach of systematic marine spatial planning. 4. Considering the attributes of marine mammals as sentinel, umbrella and flagship species, it is likely that emerging place-based approaches that incorporate IMMAs will not only benefit marine mammal populations, but also contribute more generally to the conservation of marine and aquatic species and ecosystems.

 

162. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2016. Marine mammals in the Mediterranean: an overview. In: Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Podestà, M., Curry, B.E. (Eds.), Mediterranean marine mammals ecology and conservation. Advances in Marine Biology 75:1-36 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2016.08.005 reprint available

Abstract. Despite being a small part of the world’s oceans, the Mediterranean Sea hosts a diverse marine mammal fauna, with a total of 28 different species known to occur or to have occurred in the region. Species currently recognised as regular in the Mediterranean – the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus and 11 cetaceans (fin whale Balaenoptera physalus, sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, Cuvier’s beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris, short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis, long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas, Risso’s dolphin Grampus griseus, killer whale Orcinus orca, striped dolphin Stenella coeruleoalba, rough-toothed dolphin Steno bredanensis, common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus, harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena relicta) have adapted well to the region’s environmental conditions but their coexistence with humans is problematic. All the regular species are represented in the Mediterranean by populations genetically distinct from their North Atlantic relatives. Seventeen other species (three pinnipeds and 14 cetaceans) occur or have occurred in the Mediterranean as vagrants from adjacent regions. Impacts on the conservation status of marine mammals in the region deriving from a variety of threats include: a) mortality caused by deliberate killing, naval sonar, ship strikes, epizootics, fisheries bycatch, chemical pollution and ingestion of solid debris; b) short-term redistribution caused by naval sonar, seismic surveys, vessel disturbance and vessel noise; and c) long-term redistribution caused by fishery-induced food depletion, coastal development and possibly climate change. Accordingly, seven of the 12 marine mammals regular in the Mediterranean region are listed as Threatened on IUCN’s Red List; regrettably, three are still Data Deficient and two remain unassessed.

 

163. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Castellote M., Druon J.-N., Panigada S. 2016. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): at home in a changing Mediterranean Sea? In: Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Podestà, M., Curry, B.E. (Eds.), Mediterranean marine mammals ecology and conservation. Advances in Marine Biology 75:75-101   http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2016.08.002  reprint available

Abstract. The relationship of Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) to their Atlantic conspecifics has puzzled zoologists for centuries. Recent data indicates the occurrence of two distinct populations, one resident in the Mediterranean and the other a seasonal visitor to the western Mediterranean Sea from the northeastern North Atlantic Ocean. Resident Mediterranean fin whales are nomadic opportunists that have adapted to exploit localised mesoscale hotspots of productivity, highly variable in space and time. These appear to be fairly widespread across the region during winter, whereas in summer favourable feeding habitat is dramatically reduced, concentrating mostly in the western Ligurian Sea and Gulf of Lion. This prompts a reinterpretation of the movement pattern of resident fin whales, based on a contraction/dispersion hypothesis caused by seasonal variability in available feeding habitat, as opposed to a pattern of migrations occurring along defined directions as is common in other Mysticetes. Calving peaks in autumn but has been observed year-round throughout the Mediterranean, suggesting that resident fin whales engage in breeding activities whenever favourable physiological conditions might occur. It can be assumed that the Mediterranean environment, which is relatively forgiving in comparison to oceanic habitats, combined with negligible predation pressure and high potential for sound-mediated socialization due to the region’s small size, might have provided year-round resident fin whales an extended and more flexible calendar of breeding and feeding opportunities. Considering the Mediterranean fin whales’ small and possibly decreasing population size, low survival rate, and the high pressure from many threats deriving from human activities such as vessel traffic, noise, chemical pollution and likely climate change, their status raises considerable concern and conservation measures should be urgently implemented.

 

164. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Kotomatas S. 2016. Are Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus) being left to save themselves from extinction? In: Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Podestà, M., Curry, B.E. (Eds.), Mediterranean marine mammals ecology and conservation. Advances in Marine Biology 75:361-388  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.amb.2016.08.004  reprint available

Abstract. Mediterranean monk seals, amongst the most endangered marine mammals, are showing localised signs of recovery warranting their recent down-listing, from Critically Endangered to Endangered, in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This, however, cannot be taken as a reason for complacency, as the species’ condition is still very critical, having been extirpated from most of its historical range. Monk seals within the Mediterranean, a “unit to conserve” separate from Atlantic conspecifics, were once widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Today breeding nuclei persist only in the northeastern portion of the region, in Greek, Turkish and Cypriot waters. The main reasons for their decline include deliberate killing and human encroachment in their critical habitat. Past conservation efforts have mostly failed due to the inability of implementing institutional commitments, lack of coordination and continuity of efforts, and insufficient consideration of the socio-economic implications of conserving monk seals. Yet the small reversal of the species’ decline that has been observed in Greece may have resulted from conservation efforts by civil society, combined with ongoing societal change within the local communities coexisting with the seals. The inaccessibility of large portions of monk seal habitat in the eastern Mediterranean may also have contributed, by offering to the monk seals a refuge from persecution and encroachment. Despite continued threats to monk seals, conservation activities at the local scale that utilize lessons learned from previous failures and successes could secure the survival of the largest Mediterranean colony of monk seals, while also providing a model to support the species’ recovery in other portions of its former range.

 

165. Pack A.A., Herman E.Y.K., Baker C.S., Bauer G.B., Clapham P.J., Connor R.C., Craig A.S., Forestell P.H., Frankel A.S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hoffmann-Kuhnt M., Mercado III E., Mobley J., Shyan-Norwalt M.R., Spitz S.S., Solangi M., Thompson R.K.R., von Fersen L., Uyeyama R., Wells R., Wolz J.P. 2016. Memories: Louis M. Herman, 1930-2016. Marine Mammal Science 33(1):389-406. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12387

 

166. Panigada S., Donovan G.P., Druon J.N., Lauriano G., Pierantonio N., Pirotta E., Zanardelli M., Zerbini A.N., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2017. Satellite tagging of Mediterranean fin whales: working towards the identification of critical habitats and the focussing of mitigation measures. Scientific Reports 7:3365 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03560-9  Open access

Abstract. Mediterranean fin whales comprise a genetically distinct population, listed as Vulnerable (VU) in the IUCN Red List. Collisions with vessels are believed to represent the main cause of human-induced mortality. The identification of critical habitats (including migration routes) incorporating satellite telemetry data is therefore crucial to develop focussed conservation efforts. Between 2012 and 2015 thirteen fin whales were equipped with satellite transmitters, 8 in the Pelagos Sanctuary (although two ceased within two days) and 5 in the Strait of Sicily, to evaluate movements and habitat use. A hierarchical switching state-space model was used to identify transiting and area-restricted search (ARS) behaviours, believed to indicate foraging activities. All whales undertook mid- to long-distance migrations, crossing some of the world’s busiest maritime routes. Areas where the animals predominantly engaged in ARS behaviour were identified in both study areas. The telemetry data were compared with results from ecosystem niche modelling, and showed that 80% of tagged whale positions was near (<7 km) the closest suitable habitat. The results contribute to the view that precautionary management should include establishment of a coordinated and dynamic basin-wide management scheme; if appropriate, this may include the establishment of protected areas by specific regional Conventions.

 

167. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Kerem D., Smeenk C., Rudolph P., Cesario A., Costa M., Elasar M., Feingold D., Fumagalli M., Goffman O., Hadar N., Mebrathu Y.T., Scheinin A. 2017. Cetaceans of the Red Sea. CMS Technical Series 33, 86 p.

Abstract. Based on a review of the literature, complemented by original observations at sea made by the authors during the past 34 years, the cetacean fauna in the Red Sea appears to be composed of a total of 16 species: three Mysticetes (Bryde’s whale, Balaenoptera edeni; Omura’s whale, B. omurai; and humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae) and 13 Odontocetes (dwarf sperm whale, Kogia sima; killer whale, Orcinus orca; false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens; short-finned pilot whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus; Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus; Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, Sousa plumbea; rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis; Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus; common bottlenose dolphin, T. truncatus; pantropical spotted dolphin, Stenella attenuata; spinner dolphin, S. longirostris; striped dolphin, S. coeruleoalba; Indo-Pacific common dolphin, Delphinus delphis tropicalis). This review presents the very first documented and confirmed sightings of B. omurai, K. sima and S. bredanensis in the Red Sea. Of all the above species, however, only nine (Bryde’s whale, false killer whale, Risso’s dolphin, Indian Ocean humpback dolphin, Indo- Pacific bottlenose dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, spinner dolphin, and Indo- Pacific common dolphin) appeared to occur regularly in the Red Sea, the remaining seven only occurring sporadically as vagrants from the Indian Ocean. Even regular species appeared not to be uniformly distributed throughout the Red Sea, e.g., with Indo- Pacific common dolphins mostly limited to the southern portion of the region, and the Gulf of Suez only hosting the two bottlenose dolphin species and Indian Ocean humpback dolphins. No convincing evidence was found of the Red Sea occurrence of two whale species mentioned in the literature: the common minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, and the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus. The absence from the region of deep diving species (e.g., Ziphiidae and the sperm whale) can be explained by the geomorphology of the Straits of Bab al Mandab, with its extended shallow sill likely to discourage incursions by such species into the Red Sea. The coordinated effort and the different expertise of the authors has contributed to amending previous mistakes and inaccuracies, verifying and validating specimen identification, highlighting features of relevance for species taxonomy and, most importantly, drawing a fundamental baseline to inform conservation of cetaceans in the Red Sea.

 

168. Abudaya M., Ulman A., Salah J., Fernando D., Wor C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2017. Speak of the devil ray (Mobula mobular) fishery in Gaza. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries DOI 10.1007/s11160-017-9491-0  reprint available

Abstract. Little is known about the giant devil ray (Mobula mobular), an endangered species endemic to the Mediterranean. Gaza is the only region where this species is targeted, hence, this fishery was studied to address the knowledge gap on fishery interactions, species behavior, and life-history traits.  Devil rays have been frequenting this maritime area for at least the past 50 years for a short window from February to April. Landings are reported from 2005 to 2016, along with disc-width (DW) measurements for recent years. A total of 304 M. mobular (over 90% males) were landed in Gaza from 2014 to 2016, most which were mature and appeared to be mating (over 90% of males had sperm-filled claspers), providing critical insight that this area may serve as a mating ground. Yearly landings are shown here to closely match the allowed fishing distance from shore, which changes regularly, indicating that the rays are normally caught between 6 and 12 n.m. offshore. Width-weight conversion parameters are calculated for the first time for this species: a=2.68×10-6 and b=4.39. Fresh protein drives this local fishery, as food security is a major issue. An export market for gill plates was reported intermittently, and is no longer possible due to strict trade restrictions. We highlight the lack of awareness of fishers regarding the IUCN’s Red List ‘Endangered’ status of devil raysand stress the urgent need for national protection of this species, particularly due to the species’ very slow life-history traits and probable usage of this area as a mating ground.