ECS 2022 Roman Dolphins

As part of the 33rd conference of the European Cetacean Society, in the biology section, our association, in collaboration with the APS Sotto al Mare and the Rome Nature Regional Authority, presented a study entitled Tursiope Breeding Area in the Waters of Rome.

This study presents data from a local population of bottlenose dolphins monitored in the coastal waters of Rome (Central Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy) over seven years (2015-2021). We studied the presence and distribution of dolphins and performed photo identification analyses. According to our data, the waters of Rome represent a breeding area and an important nursery area for this local population.

The study area measures 700 km², extends from the coastline to the 200 m bathymetry, is bordered by the north by the mouth of the Tiber River, to the south by an underwater mountain, the MPA "Secche di Tor Paterno" (managed by the regional agency RomaNatura).

The stable presence of a nucleus of females frequently accompanied by immatures and neonates shows that the species uses the area for calving and nursing. The mouth of the Tiber River and the underwater mountain of the Tor Paterno MPA, geological features known to concentrate food resources, might be the main factor that makes the area suitable for these critical activities.