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Research

AIMM’s work is fundamentally based on the research of the marine environment, with particular emphasis on marine megafauna, such as cetaceans, turtles and sharks. Every day we go out to sea (whenever the sea conditions allow) in order to collect data on the different species of marine megafauna that occur in the Algarve. These data and scientific results are intended to support the increase in knowledge of the species and actively contribute to the implementation of management and conservation measures.

Long-term research projects

Surveillance and monitoring of marine megafauna in coastal waters off the Algarve, Portugal.

The distribution and population dynamics of marine megafauna, namely cetaceans, sea turtles and sharks, which inhabit southern Portugal are poorly known. Some of these species are top predators playing a crucial role in ecosystem balance. AIMM focuses most of its efforts, primarily, on researching the occurrence, distribution and abundance of cetaceans on the southern coast of Portugal.

This study allows us to know which species inhabit these waters, why and for what purpose. Thus allowing inferences about their conservation status and what potential threats they face.

The characterization and improvement of “Dolphin & Whale watching” tourist activities in the Algarve.

AIMM believes that ecotourism activities are fundamental to creating a relationship between Man and nature. However, this tourism has to be done in a very cautious and sustainable way, as it directly impacts wild populations. Marine megafauna species, particularly dolphins, are animals that attract a lot of attention from the general public, making them ambassadors for ocean conservation.

Thus, AIMM collaborates directly and actively with Algarve whale watching companies, helping to ensure that this activity meets the requirements and is effectively carried out in a sustainable and educational way for tourists. 

The social organization and behavior of the different species of dolphins present in the Algarve.

Understanding the dynamics and social organization of different species allows us to better understand them and thus have information that allows for the creation of appropriate conservation measures for each of the different species. It is also essential for us to understand the basic ecology of these species.

The collection of marine megafauna ecology data and the potential effects of climate change.

Climate change and global warming are a great concern worldwide. Megafauna is also impacted by these changes, however the effects are not as immediate when compared to other taxa. Understanding how these environmental changes affect these species is essential for their conservation. 

 

The study of cetaceans through acoustics.

Marine mammals rely on acoustics to communicate, navigate and explore their habitat. Acoustic studies with marine mammals allow us to understand how these animals use sound, but also allow us to detect them and locate them in their habitat. Given the advantages and complementarity with traditionally used visual methods, AIMM started to use acoustics in order to reinforce the study of the distribution and abundance of these animals in the southern region of Portugal.

Communications

Baleen whales in Southern Portugal: new insights. 29th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Malta.

Laborde, M. I., Cid, A., Fonseca, C., Castro, J., 2015.

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Cetaceans in the extension of the Natura 2000 to the marine environment in Portugal – The M@rBis Project. 29th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Malta.

Castro, J., Cid, A., Laborde, M. I., 2015.

Potential effects of whale watching on common dolphins in the South coast of mainland Portugal. 28th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Liège, Belgium.

Galego, S., Castro, J., Laborde, M. I., 2014.

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Cetacean monitoring in the South Coast of mainland Portugal. 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Dunedin, New Zealand.

Castro, J., Cid, A., Fonseca, C., Galego, S., Laborde, M. I., 2013.

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The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in Southern Portugal (Southwestern Europe). 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Dunedin, New Zealand.

Cid, A., Laborde, M. I., Fonseca, C., Galego, S., Castro, J., 2013.

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Potential impacts of artisanal fisheries on the bottlenose dolphin population of the Sado estuary, Portugal. 27th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Setúbal, Portugal.

Laborde, M. I., Gamito, R., Ferreira, P., Solanou, M., Cabral, H.N., 2013.

Algarve region as a potential breeding ground for common dolphins in Portugal. 27th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Setúbal, Portugal.

Castro, J., Cid, A., Fonseca, C., Galego, S., Laborde, M. I., 2013.

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) response to boating pressure in the south coast of Portugal. 26th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Galway, Ireland.

Laborde, M. I., Fonseca, C., Candeias, J., Galego, S., Castro, J., 2012.

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Whale watching profitability assessment in mainland Portugal. 26th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Galway, Ireland.

Castro, J., Fonseca, C., Candeias, J., Galego, S., Laborde, M. I., 2012.

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Occurrence of a lone juvenile bottlenose dolphin in the Alvor estuary, Portugal. 26th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Galway, Ireland.

Fonseca, C., Laborde, M. I., Gonçalves, J. N., Castro, J., 2012.

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Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) photo-identification catalogue in Southern Portugal. 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Tampa, FL, USA.

Laborde, M. I., Gonçalves, J. N., Candeias, J., Prista, G., Castro, J., 2011.

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Development of a whale watching network in the South of Portugal. 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Tampa, Florida, USA.

Castro, J., Laborde, M. I., Sequeira, M., 2011.

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Cetacean research network in the south of Portugal: establishing a low-cost and long-term monitoring programme. 25th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Cadiz, Spain.

Laborde, M. I., Gonçalves, J. N., Verborgh, P., de Stephanis, R., Castro, J., 2011.

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Distribution of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in the south of Portugal. 25th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Cadiz, Spain.

Castro, J., Gonçalves, J. N., Alexandre, P., de Stephanis, R., Verborgh, P., Laborde, M. I., 2011.

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Abundance and distribution of Risso’s dolphin in the Southwest Iberian Peninsula. 25th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Cadiz, Spain.

Stekke, V., Gauffier, P., Verborgh, P., Besugo, A., Prista, G., Gonçalves, J. N., Laborde, M. I., Castro, J., de Stephanis, R, 2011.

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First catalogue of Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) of Portugal. International Meeting on Marine Resources. Peniche, Portugal.

Besugo, A., Prista, G., Gonçalves, J. N., Laborde, M. I., Castro, J., 2010.

Publications

MAMMALS IN PORTUGAL: a data set of terrestrial, volant and marine mammal occurrences in Portugal

Grilo, C. et al. (2022)

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A new Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) record for mainland Portugal.  J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 22: 75-80.

astro, J., Cid, A. and Laborde, M. I., 2021.

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Assessing the Behavioural Responses of Small Cetaceans to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Remote Sens., 13, 156.

Castro, J., Borges, F.O., Cid, A., Laborde, M.I., Rosa, R. and Pearson, H.C., 2021.

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Oceanographic Determinants of the Abundance of Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the South of Portugal. Oceans 1, no. 3: 165-173.

Castro, J., Couto, A., Borges, F.O., Cid, A., Laborde, M.I., Pearson, H.C. and Rosa, R., 2020.

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Smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena) observed off the Portuguese southern coast. Environmental Biology of Fishes 96 (9): 1-8.

Couto, C., Queiroz, N., T. Ketchum, J., Sampaio, E., Furtado, M., Cid, A., Castro, J. and Rosa, R., 2018.

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