Centro de Estudios para la

Conservación de Ecosistemas Marinos

Some porpoises for happiness

Among all the dolphin groups of the past weeks, one of the three small cetaceans we work with was still missing this field season: The Burmeister’s porpoise/marsopa espinosa/Phocoena spinipinnis. Of course one reason for this was that the study areas we selected were presumably typical Chilean dolphin habitat, which is not where you would go look for the “marsopas”, as they prefer deeper waters. The other, probably more important reason was that it can be incredibly hard to spot marsopas. Picture a really shy animal, that disappears with its long diving phases once you have come somewhat close to its original position and then pops up 5 minutes later, 500 meters away. ...And then it doesn’t

Dolphins in a changing environment

Over thousands of years, food, friends and foes have shaped all aspects of the dolphins’ lives, and many depend on specific habitats. Chilean dolphins prefer shallow, productive, usually sheltered waters very close to shore with input from rivers. This puts them often close to where humans have chosen to live and reap the richness of the sea. Dolphin Picknick off the Panamericana is such an example of dolphins occurring close to human activities. Our long-term study area in southern Chiloé in the heart of Chile’s aquaculture hub is another. Chilean dolphin off Quemchi - with a navy vessel, an aquaculture vessel, some mussel farms and the beach promenade in the background. (photo: Sonja) Hu

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