“…. “For many years we have been recording from our boats and studying the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), which contrary to its name is not common at all. Its population has almost disappeared from the rest of the Mediterranean, and in the eastern Mediterranean it is classified as ‘endangered’,” says Ms Miliou.

Since 2001, Archipelagos Institute researchers have been searching for the common dolphin in the eastern Aegean, without finding one. “We recorded it for the first time in 2008, while in the last five years alone we have identified through photo-identification 172 different individuals of the species. We distinguish the different individuals by the distinctive markings on their fins and body,” explains the scientific manager of Archipelagos.

The researchers did not stop at just recording but are trying to understand the interactions between the different dolphins. “We processed the survey data through so-called social network analysis. We uncovered 12 different subgroups of common dolphins, with no distinct social structure, i.e. the dolphins choose their company, which they change. It is estimated that these subpopulations of common dolphins travel long distances from the northeastern to the southern Aegean Sea,” explains Ms Miliou.

“The better we know a species, the better we can protect it. There is a lot we have to do because we still don’t know much about the wonderful world of cetaceans,” adds the marine biologist.

Unfortunately, in Greece, we are over time far behind in the protection of marine life. Nowadays, the dolphin populations in the Aegean and the cetaceans that ‘frequent’ the Greek trench are threatened by the over-concentration of vessels and plans for marine mining.”