“Build local human capability and give a chance to local students to experience hands on what dolphin research means”, this is one of our educational target. So last August we contacted the students that already expressed their interest in the project and proposed them to become dolphins scientist for a month, learn more about dolphins and the techniques utilised to study them in the wild and get trained in Photo Identification data analysis helping us analysing the data collected so far during our survey. Individual dolphins can be identified by the shape of their dorsal fin so the Photo-Identification analysis is used to identify the single dolphins individuals and track them in their movements in a region. Photo-Id data are also invaluable to estimate the size of a population.
They simply have done a fantastic job! and now the results of the analysis are about to be unified in the first dolphin fin catalogue available in the Gulf for two of the three species most frequently observed along the UAE coastline, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. Watch out this space for exciting news soon!
We organised two group of students, on based in Abu Dhabi with the support of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, that provided the venue, and one in Dubai at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, one of our main sponsors. Abu Dhabi based group was lead by Camilla one of our permanent volunteers, specialised in PhotoIdentification analysis, and the Dubai group was supervised by the project director. Students were from different background from local and international universities and secondary schools. They all showed an amazing determination and commitment throughout the period squeezing their eyes through the over 4,000 pictures collected during our research survey in Dubai waters and pictures sent by the public through the “Report a Sighting” system. Some students also joined the research survey on board and some are due to join us soon.
It has been great to see their enthusiasm and surely they are now back to their studies with a better idea of what research on a marine species means! Thanks go to Shamsa, Veronica, Joanna Francesca, Emma, Akshata, Sarah, Sara and Sudha for their great participation!