The coordinated interpretation of the data collected by the five teams will allow to evaluate the actual population level of the Black Sea cetaceans, their health status, and the anthropogenic and natural causes of mortality : bycatch, contamination by stable pollutants (heavy metals, mainly total and organic Hg, and organochlorines), sickness, parasites, etc.
Finally, these conclusions will serve as a basis for formulating proposals for appropriate conservation measures, probably necessary for the protection, or even the survival, of marine mammals in the Black Sea.
The three small cetacean species of the Black Sea : common dolphin Delphinus delphis, bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus and harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena were severely reduced by active (legal and illegal) killing. The level of their populations is very low, and all three species are considered as endangered in the Black Sea.
The aim of this Joint Research Project is to collect dead animals carcasses, both stranded and bycaught, and to study them as completely as possible, in order to determine the causes of mortality and the health status of the populations. The East European partners (Ukraine, partner no 2 and coordinator of the field work, Bulgaria, no 4 and Georgia, no 5) will care for systematic sampling along the coasts and, when possible, on the fishing grounds. Species, sex and age will be determined, as well as basic laboratory determinations 'histopathology, cytology, parasitology, bacteriology, mycology, microalogology; partner no 2). The West European partners are responsible for the ecotoxicology (Belgium, partner no 1 and general coordinator) and pathology (Germany , no 3).
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts