Balearic Islands


Research expedition: whales, dolphins and sea turtles

As a research participant aboard a marvellous old, yet newly refurbished sailing boat, you will explore the ocean searching for sea turtles, dolphins and whales with the help of binoculars. With expert guidance, you will document the sightings and help to identify the marine animals via photo identification. By doing so, you will significantly contribute to the pioneering work needed to protect these dolphin, whale and turtle species in the Mediterranean Sea off the Balearic Islands.

The sea around the Balearic Islands shows special oceanographic characteristics, like a steeply sloping underwater topography. This makes it an exceptional location for the study of the open ocean ecosystem and the ecology of great pelagic species. For large migratory species, such as sperm whales, pilot whales, loggerhead turtles and bluefin tuna, the waters of the Balearic Islands are considered to be an important habitat.

These species are legally protected by EU legislation as well as numerous other multilateral agreements. However, major gaps in knowledge prevail with respect to their distribution, migration routes, habitat use, and ecology, as well as the threats to which the sea turtles, dolphins, whales and tuna are exposed. Further research into these factors is a prerequisite for proper protection of marine biodiversity and habitats.

Endeavour for the protection of dolphins, whales and sea turtles

OceanCare endeavours to improve the management and conservation status of the dolphins, whales and sea turtles in the waters surrounding the Balearic Islands and thus co-operates in the international project OASIS together with the Spanish partner organisations ALNITAK and KAI Marine. As part of this project, research on the movements, habitat use and ecology of loggerhead sea turtles, sperm whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, striped dolphins, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and bluefin tuna is conducted by using visual and acoustic methods as well as photo identification. OceanCare, ALNITAK, and KAI Marine are looking for research participants to assist in this research and conservation project for a one week adventure.

Dates and Cost Participation

Living and conducting research aboard a marvellous old, yet newly refurbished sailing ship
Course language: English

Dates for 2019 follow in autumn 2018.

Programme info & booking