Dolphins are some of the most intelligent creatures on earth. They use complex sounds to communicate in ways we’re only beginning to understand, but noise pollution from tourist boats is destroying their acoustic habitat. An explosion of unregulated dolphin watching boats are forcing dolphins to yell underwater, making it hard for them to communicate and pushing them further away from the shore to areas less suitable to raise their young. For mission 8 we teamed up with AIMM Portugal, an organization studying and protecting dolphins in the region.
In some parts of the Algarve coast, up to 150 boats head out to chase dolphins multiple times a day. All that noise and disruption is starting to impact the dolphin’s migratory patterns. To enact change, researchers need to know what’s happening underwater.
With the support of the Planet WIld community we were able to fund two hydrophones that can record underwater dolphin communication for acoustic analysis. This kind of evidence-based data is crucial to advocate for marine protection in Portugal.
Dr Joana Castro
Joana is the founder of AIMM Portugal, an initiative dedicated to studying and protecting dolphins along Portugal’s Algarve coast. Ever since she was a kid, Joana has been obsessed with dolphins and has dedicated her life to protecting this incredible species. Joana and the team have contributed ten years worth of vital data to an incredible initiative creating a new marine protected area on the Algarve coast. This is a huge community success and the law will go into effect in 2024.