My name is Caroline and I come from France, where I study agronomy and environmental science. After a study semester in the Netherlands to learn more about the aquaculture and marine resources management, I came to Archipelagos, until the summer, to be part of the Marine Mammal Team.

I am working on two separate projects. The first one is about the dolphins’ interactions with fish farms. As fish farms are an alternative food source for dolphins, more and more interactions take place and dolphins adopt opportunistic foraging behavior.

We plan to investigate the seasonal and temporal interactions through the dolphins’ presence (see if it is always the same dolphins that are coming in this area) and the dolphins’ behaviour in a fish farm area in a neighboring island of Lipsi: Leros. As it is a new project, I am still working on the protocol. This is really important in order to have long-term monitoring and to be able to have a good data set.

The second one is to assess the marine litter in the Aegean Sea. During each boat surveys, we monitor cetacean presence and behavior, environmental data but also floating marine litter. Each time we see a floating marine litter, we record the GPS coordinate, size, viewing quality and the type of marine litter.

The purpose of this project is to qualify the marine debris through the composition, density, and distribution and thus quantify the human impact and the marine pollution on the cetacean populations. My engineering background helps me in this project as I am doing data analysis and statistical analysis.

I am both working in the field and in the office. As soon as I can, I take part in a boat survey because it is a really good opportunity to get out of the office and do fieldwork to collect data. I really enjoy boat surveys. I also take part in other surveys such as macro plastics or land survey.

I have not finished my projects yet but, I am definitely learning more and more about the marine mammals and the Aegean environment.

Caroline Abrégal
Agronomy and Environmental Science, ENSAIA
On-site intern at Archipelagos’ Marine Mammal Research Team