Sci. publications

(in chronological order)

Reprint (pdf) requests for  the papers listed below (in red) may be sent to: gn (at) disciara (.) net

1. Gandolfi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1971. The influence of recent experiences on the conquest of territory in Padogobius martensi (Teleostei, Gobiidae). Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rendiconti Scienze Fisiche Matematiche Naturali 51:405-410.

2. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1977. A killer whale (Orcinus orca L.) attacks and sinks a sailing boat. Natura (Milano) 68(3-4):218-220. reprint available

3. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1979. Su di uno scheletro di Balaenoptera edeni Anderson 1878, spiaggiato sulle coste caraibiche del Venezuela (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae). Natura (Milano) 70(4):265-274. reprint available

4. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Watkins W.A. 1980. A remora, Remilegia australis, attached to an Atlantic spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 79(3):119-121. reprint available

5. Wolfson F.H., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1981. The whale shark, Rhiniodon typus Smith 1828: an annotated bibliography (Selachii, Rhiniodontidae). Atti Società Italiana di Scienze naturali, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano 122(3-4):171-203. reprint available

6. Cagnolaro L., Di Natale A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1983. Guide per il riconoscimento delle specie animali delle acque lagunari e costiere italiane. AQ/1/224. No. 9. Cetacei. Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy 186 pp.

7. Watkins W.A., Moore K.E., Sigurjonsson J., Wartzok D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1984. Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) tracked by radio in the Irminger Sea. Rit Fiskideildar 8(1):1-14. reprint available

8. Schweitzer J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1986. The rete mirabile cranica in the genus Mobula: a comparative study. Journal of Morphology 188:167-178. reprint available

9. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cagnolaro L. 1986. Richiesta di collaborazione dei musei italiani per lo studio dei cetacei. Museologia scientifica 3(3-4):287-288.

10. Watkins W.A., Tyack P., Moore K.E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Steno bredanensis in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Mammal Science 3(1):78-82. reprint available

11. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Eco-ethological aspects of the genus Mobula (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae) in the Gulf of California (Mexico). Italian Journal of Zoology (N.S.) 21:196.

12. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. A revisionary study of the genus Mobula Rafinesque, 1810 (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae), with the description of a new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 91:1-91. reprint available

13. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Killer whale, Orcinus orca, in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Mammal Science 3(4):356-360. reprint available

14. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cagnolaro L. 1987. I nomi italiani dei cetacei. Bollettino di Zoologia 4:359-365. reprint available

15. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1987. Myliobatiform rays fished in the southern Gulf of California (Baja California Sur, Mexico) (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes). Memorias V Symposio Biologia Marina, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur:109-115. reprint available

16. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1988. Natural history of the rays of the genus Mobula in the Gulf of California. Fishery Bulletin 86(1):45-66. reprint available

17. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Serena F. 1988. Term embryo of Mobula mobular (Bonnaterre, 1788) from the northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Chondrichthyes: Mobulidae). Atti Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali, Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Milano 129(4):396-400. reprint available

18. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hillyer E.V. 1989. Mobulid rays off Eastern Venezuela. Copeia 1989(3):607-614. reprint available

19. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1990. A note on the cetacean incidental catch in the Italian driftnet swordfish fishery, 1986-1988. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 40:459-460. reprint available

20. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Airoldi S., Bearzi G., Borsani J.F., Cavalloni B., Cussino E., Jahoda M., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M. 1990. Distribution and relative abundance of cetaceans in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 4:41-43.

21. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Pavan G. 1990. Underwater acoustic signals of the striped dolphin, Stenella coerule­oalba. European Research on Cetaceans 4:69.

22. Focardi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M., Marsili L. 1991. Subcutaneous organochlorine levels in finback whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 5:93-96.

23. Borsani J.F, Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. A cetacean sound library catalogue of the Mediterranean Sea. Bioacoustics 4(1):60-61.

24. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M. 1992. The use of non-destructive biomarker in Mediterranean cetaceans: preliminary data on MFO activity in skin biopsy. Marine Pollution Bulletin 24(9):459-461.

25. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Research activities and conservation status of cetaceans in Italy. Bollettino del Museo dell’Istituto di Biologia, Genova 56-57:53-85. reprint available

26. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bonomi L. 1992. Bottlenose dolphins off Croatia: a socio-ecological study. European Research on Cetace­ans 6:130-133.

27. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. An acoustic study of sperm whales (Physeter catodon) and other cetaceans in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea and the western Ionian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:171-173.

28. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Jahoda M. 1992. Photo-identification and behavioural observations of fin whales summering in the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:86-89.

29. Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Acquarone M. 1992. Cetacean sighting reports by amateurs: a two-sided coin. European Research on Cetaceans 6:79-82. reprint available

30. Acquarone M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Pigmentation patterns of striped dolphins in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:203-205.

31. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Preliminary observations of bottlenose dolphins near the Island of Tavolara, Sardinia. European Research on Cetaceans 6:127-129.

32. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Cetacean Sound Archive: collection of sound recordings of cetaceans from the Medi­terranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 6:168-170.

33. Focardi S., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1992. Organochlorines and trace elements in subcutaneous blubber of Bal­aenoptera physalus and Stenella coeruleoalba. European Research on Cetaceans 6:230-233.

34. Politi E., Bearzi M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Cussino E., Gnone G. 1992. Distribution and frequency of cetaceans in the waters adjacent to the Greek Ionian Islands. European Research on Cetaceans 6:75-78.

35. Notarbartolo G., Ausenda F., Orsi Relini L., Relini G. 1992. Una proposta di gestione dell’ambiente pelagico: la Riserva della Biosfera nel Bacino corso-ligure provenzale. Atti XXII Congresso della Società Italiana di Biologia Marina, Cagliari, Santa Margherita di Pula, 20-24 May 1991. Oebalia, Supplemento 17:517-521. reprint available

36. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. I cetacei del Mediterraneo. pp. 39-52 in: XIX Seminario sulla Evoluzione Biologica e i grandi problemi della Biologia: faune attuali e faune fossili, Roma, 26-28 febbraio 1992. Contributi del Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare “Beniamino Segre”, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Roma. reprint available

37. Watkins W.A., Daher M.A., Fristrup K.M., Howald T.J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. Sperm whales tagged with transponders and tracked underwater by sonar. Marine Mammal Science 9(1):55-67. reprint available

38. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Venturino M.C., Zanardelli M., Bearzi G., Borsani J.F., Cavalloni B. 1993. Cetaceans in the central Mediterranean Sea: distribution and sighting frequencies. Italian Journal of Zoology 60:131-138. reprint available

39. Cagnolaro L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Podestà M. 1993. Profilo della cetofauna dei mari italiani. Supplemento alle Ricerche di Biologia della Selvaggina 21:101-114. reprint available

40. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Forcada J., Acquarone M., Fabbri F. 1993. Population estimates of fin whales and striped dolphins summering in the Corso-Ligurian Basin. European Research on Cetaceans 7:135-138.

41. Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1993. Respiration patterns of fin whales summering in the Ligurian Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 7:237-240.

42. Lafortuna C.L., Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Saibene F. 1993. Respiratory pattern in free-ranging striped dolphins. European Research on Cetaceans 7:241-246.

43. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Leonzio C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Focardi S. 1993. Skin biopsies in cetaceans: a non-destructive method for biomarker studies. European Research on Cetaceans 7:279-282.

44. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G. 1993. Cetaceans in the Northern Adriatic Sea: past, present and future. Periodicum Biologorum, Zagreb 95(4):517.

45. Di Natale A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. A review of the passive fishing nets and trap fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea and of the cetacean bycatch. pp. 189-202 in: W.F. Perrin, G.P. Donovan and J. Barlow (eds.), Gillnets and cetaceans. Reports of the International Whaling Commis­sion Special Issue 15 69 p.

46. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. The Mediterranean Sanctuary for the protection of cetaceans: a difficult transition from paper to reality. European Research on Cetaceans 8:18-21. reprint available

47. Watkins W.A., Daher M.A., Fristrup K., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. Fishing and acoustic behavior of Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) near Dominica, southeast Caribbean. Caribbean Journal of Science 30(1-2):76-82. reprint available

Abstract. Two pods of Lagenodelphis hosei Fraser 1956 (Fraser’s dolphin) were observed in the southeast Caribbean, off Dominica. On 26 October 1991 a pod of about 60 dolphins including small calves was observed for 2.5 h. On 28 October 1991 a pod of about 80 mostly larger dolphins was observed for more than 1 h. The pod of 26 October was composed of a number of groups. Individuals from several of those groups cooperated in herding fish identified as “rainbow runner” (Elagatis bipinnulatus) that were schooled near the surface. The pod of 28 October operated as one large, relatively tight group which separated for only short periods into two or three smaller groups which also chased near-surface schools of (unidentified) fish. Recordings of underwater sounds were made by a three-dimensional hydrophore array. Events were followed acoustically and visually, and video and photographs were taken of surface activities. The dolphins used broadband clicks in apparent echolocation, and communicative whistles with fundamentals ranging from 4 to 24 kHz, lasting from 0.1 to 2 sec. Repetitive sounds with distinctive frequency contours were produced by individuals.

 

48. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1994. La cetofauna del bacino corso-liguro-provenzale: rassegna delle attuali conoscenze. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 1(1):95-98. reprint available

49. Forcada J., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Fabbri F. 1995. Abundance of fin whales and striped dolphins summering in the Corso-Ligurian Basin. Mammalia 59(1):127-140. reprint available

Abstract. A sightings survey was carried out in the western Ligurian Sea and in the offshore waters off western Corsica during August 1992, to estimate the density and absolute abundance of cetacean species in the area. Standard line transect analysis could be applied to the two most abundant species encountered, striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). Whale abundance was estimated as 901 individuals (coefficient of variation (CV) = 0,217 ; 95 % confidence interval: 591-1,374 whales), and striped dolphin abundance was estimated as 25,614 individuals (CV = 0.253; 95% confidence interval: 15377- 42658 dolphins). Densities of cetaceans presented here, compared to densities estimated in previous surveys across the entire western Mediterranean, highlight the importance of the Corso-Ligurian Basin as a main habitat for pelagic cetacean populations.

 

50. McEachran J.D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. Peces Batoideos. Pp. 745-792 in: W. Fischer, F. Krupp, F. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter, and V.H. Niem (Eds.), Guia FAO para la identificaciòn de especies para los fines de la pesca. Pacifico centro-oriental. Vol. 2. Vertebrados. Parte 1. FAO, Roma.

51. Politi E., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. A preliminary study of the ecology of cetaceans in the waters adjacent to the Greek Ionian islands. European Research on Cetaceans 8:111-115.

52. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1995. A comparison of the present occurrence of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, and common dolphins, Delphinus delphis, in the Kvarnerić (Northern Adriatic Sea). Annales (Annals for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies) 7:61-68.

53. Marsili L., Fossi M.C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Focardi S. 1996. Organochlorine levels and mixed-function oxidase activity in skin biopsy specimens from Mediterranean cetaceans. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin 5:723-728.

54. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Berubé M., Zanardelli M., Panigada S. 1996. The role of the Mediterranean in fin whale ecology: insight through genetics. European Research on Cetaceans 9:218-219.

55. Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1996. Distribution of cetaceans off northwestern Sardinia. European Research on Cetaceans 9:104-107.

56. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1996. Photoidentification-based tracking of resident individual bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (Northern Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 9:132-138.

57. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Problemi di conservazione degli elasmobranchi in Italia. Quaderni della Civica Stazione Idrobiologica di Milano 22:11-15. reprint available

58. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Barbaccia G., Azzellino A. 1997. Birth at sea of a false killer whale, Pseudorca crassidens. Marine Mammal Science 13(3):508-511. reprint available

 

59. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E. 1997. Social ecology of bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric’ (northern Adriatic Sea). Marine Mammal Science 13(4):650-668. reprint available

Abstract. A bottlenose dolphin community was studied from small inflatable craft from 1987 to 1994 in a relatively large area (about 800 km’) east of the islands of LoSinj and Cres, northern Adriatic Sea. A total of 106 individuals were photoidentified based on natural permanent marks on their dorsal fins. Most of the dolphins were resighted on a regular basis, indicating a hig:h level of year-round site fidelity, although their range was evidently greater than the chosen study area. Dolphin density was highly variable and considerably lower than for most well-known bottlenose dolphin communities. Groups averaged seven individuals, with a mode of two. Groups entirely composed of adults were the smallest, groups with calves the largest. Group fluidity was high, seasonal and yearly changes in mean group size being also considerable. Summer was the peak calving season, with a striking variation in the number of births on alternate years. Poor evidence of shark predation was found. The social organization of this dolphin community seemed to be highly flexible, possibly as an adaptation to cope with environmental changes as well as with a limited and variable availability of prey.

 

60. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Gordon J. 1997. Bioacoustics: a tool for the conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 30:125-146. reprint available

Abstract. Massive human presence in the Mediterranean and inadequate management of marine resources have recently become a threat to marine mammal survival in this region. The main problems facing cetaceans in the Mediterranean include: by‐catch in fisheries competition with artisanal coastal gillnet fisheries, presence of noxious manmade, compounds in the trophic chains, and finally, a generalised degradation of environmental quality, particularly evident over the continental shelf, caused by loss of biodiversity, depletion of living resources, increased human disturbance, and changes in the physical and chemical properties of the environment. Conserving cetaceans in the Mediterranean is a modern challenge: appropriate management schemes and pollution control measures should enable marine mammals to coexist with intense human activities, and the Mediterranean could provide an excellent testing ground for such an enterprise. Recent developments in the field of marine bioacoustics could provide information highly relevant to the conservation of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea: acoustic surveys can be performed to monitor the distribution and relative abundance pelagic species, and to investigate habitat partitioning of coastal species. Analysis of distinctive vocalisations can indicate the likelihood of links between Mediterranean an Atlantic populations. Finally, acoustics can play a major role in solving problems posed by interactions between cetacean and fisheries, in monitoring the effects of high‐intensity acoustic deterrents, and to understand the possible negative effects of some manmade noise on cetacean populations.

 

61. Borsani J.F., Pavan G., Gordon J.C.D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Regional vocalisations of the sperm whale: Mediterranean codas. European Research on Cetaceans 10:78-81.

62. Jahoda M., Airoldi S., Biassoni N., Borsani J.F., Cianfanelli L., Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Panigada S., Zanardelli M. 1997. Behavioural reactions to biopsy-darting on Mediterranean fin whales. European Research on Cetaceans 10:43-47.

63. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Jahoda M., Biassoni N., Lafortuna C. 1997. Reactions of fin whales to approaching vessels assessed by means of a laser range finder. European Research on Cetaceans 10:38-42.

64. Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Mazzanti C. 1997. Cetaceans found in the waters surrounding Lanzarote, Canary Islands. European Research on Cetaceans 10:107-112.

65. Nascetti D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. A fin and sperm whale sighting programme undertaken by the Italian Navy in the Central Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 10:150-153. reprint available

66. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1997. Bottlenose dolphins following bottom trawlers in the Kvarnerić (Northern Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 11:202-204.

 

67. Berubé M., Aguilar A., Dendanto D., Larsen F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Sears R., Sigurjònsson J., Urban-Ramirez J., Palsbøll P.J. 1998. Population genetic structure of North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Cortez fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758): analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear loci. Molecular Ecology 7(5):585-599. reprint available

Abstract. Samples were collected from 407 fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, at four North Atlantic and one Mediterranean Sea summer feeding area as well as the Sea of Cortez in the Pacific Ocean. For each sample, the sex, the sequence of the first 288 nucleotides of the mitochondrial (mt) control region and the genotype at six microsatellite loci were determined. A significant degree of divergence was detected at all nuclear and mt loci between North Atlantic/Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez. However, the divergence time estimated from the mt sequences was substantially lower than the time elapsed since the rise of the Panama Isthmus, suggesting occasional gene flow between the North Pacific and North Atlantic ocean after the separation of the two oceans. Within the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, significant levels of heterogeneity were observed in the mtDNA between the Mediterranean Sea, the eastern (Spain) and the western (the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of St Lawrence) North Atlantic. Samples collected off West Greenland and Iceland could not be unequivocally assigned to either of the two areas. The homogeneity tests performed using the nuclear data revealed significant levels of divergence only between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of St Lawrence or West Greenland. In conclusion, our results suggest the existence of several recently diverged populations in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, possibly with some limited gene flow between adjacent populations, a population structure which is consistent with earlier population models proposed by Kellogg, Ingebrigtsen, and Sergeant.

 

68. Marsili L., Fossi M.C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Nani B., Panigada S., Focardi S. 1998. Relationship between organochlorine contaminants and mixed-function oxidase activity in skin biopsy specimens of Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). Chemosphere 37(8):1501-1510.

69. Bearzi G., Fortuna C.M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1998. Unusual sighting of a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the Kvarnerić, Northern Adriatic Sea. Natura Croatica 7(3):169-278.

 

70. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E., Bayed A., Beaubrun P.C., Knowlton A. 1998. A winter cetacean survey off Southern Morocco, with a special emphasis on suitable habitats for wintering right whales. Reports of the International Whaling Commission 48:547-550. reprint available

Abstract. Between 20 January and 14 February 1996, a 20 m auxiliary ketch investigated the coastal waters of Southern Morocco, a former wintering ground for right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). The aims were to: verify if right whales could still be found in the area; evaluate the environmental conditions of the region and assess its suitability as a right whale habitat; investigate the status of other cetaceans living in the area; and establish a long-term cetacean sighting and stranding reporting mechanism in co-operation with the local authorities. A 750km survey yielded no cetacean sightings except inside Dakhla Bay, where communities of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Atlantic humpbacked dolphins (Sousa teuszii) were found to coexist. Local knowledge of a regular, predictable presence of large whales in the coastal zone was lacking. The hypothesis that the area still serves as a winter concentration site for the remnants of an eastern North Atlantic right whale population, although not falsified by this study, seems rather unlikely. The dearth of cetaceans in the shelf waters of Southern Morocco, as well as the possible over-exploitation of the fishing resources in the region, may be cause for concern and warrants further investigation. Finally, with the objective of increasing baseline information on the local cetacean fauna, and particularly concerning the possibility that right whales may be sighted in the future, a procedure was established for the long-term routine reporting of cetacean sightings and strandings by the Royal Navy of Morocco to the Groupe d’Etudes des Cétacés et Pinnipèdes du Maroc, Rabat.

 

71. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Diurnal behavior of free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (northern Adriatic Sea). Marine Mammal Science 15(4):1065-1097. reprint available

Abstract. The diurnal behavior of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) community was observed from small inflatable craft between 1987 and 1994. Following a preliminary ad libitum study 11,839 3-min behavioral samples were recorded in 1991-1994. The behavioral budget showed a predominance (about 80%) of activities characterized by long (>30 sec) dives, considered to be largely related to prey search or feeding. Obvious foraging near the surface was observed rarely. The frequent following of trawlers (accounting for 4.6% of the behavioral budget) was indicative of the presence of alternative strategies for finding food. Yearly and seasonal behavioral variation-particularly in feeding- related and travel behaviors-was consistent with the hypothesis of behavioral flexibility as a response to environmental changes and fluctuating prey kind and availability. Yearly shifts in social behavior appeared to be partly influenced by breeding cycles. Groups engaged in feeding-related activities were significantly smaller than traveling or socializing groups, and dramatic interannual group-size shifts seemed to be largely affected by environmental variables, rather than being entirely determined by behavioral activity changes. The remarkable behavioral flexibility of this bottlenose dolphin community may contribute to its survival in the shifting environmental conditions of the northern Adriatic Sea. However, the high proportion of time consistently devoted to feeding-related activities, as compared to other areas, suggests that food resources in the KvarneriC were not only highly variable but also depleted.

 

72. Lauriano G., Tunesi L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Salvati E., Cardinali A. 1999. The role of cetaceans in the zoning proposal of marine protected areas: the case of the Asinara island MPA. European Research on Cetaceans 13: 114-117.

73. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Clark C.W., Zanardelli M., Panigada S. 1999. Migration patterns of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): shaky old paradigms and local anomalies. European Research on Cetaceans 12:118.

74. Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M., Lauriano G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Site fidelity, seasonal residence and sex ratio of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Ligurian Sea feeding ground. European Research on Cetaceans 12:124.

75. Biassoni N., Jahoda M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Lafortuna C. 1998. Fin whale reactions to research vessels, assessed by the use of laser range-finding binoculars and respiration monitoring. European Research on Cetaceans 12:126-130.

76. Lafortuna C.L., Jahoda M., Biassoni N., Almirante C., Azzellino A., Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Saibene F. 1998. Locomotor behaviour and respiratory patterns in Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) tracked in their summer feeding ground. European Research on Cetaceans 12:156-160.

77. Fortuna C.M., Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Analysis of respiration patterns of bottlenose dolphins observed in the Kvarneric (northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). European Research on Cetaceans 12:151-155.

78. Bearzi G., Politi E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Apparent lack of seasonal patterns in the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins in the Kvarneric (north Adriatic Sea). European Research on Cetaceans 12:202.

79. Bérubé M., A.Aguilar A., D.Dendanto D., F.Larsen F., G.Notarbartolo di Sciara G., R.Sears R., J.Sigurjonsson J., P.J.Urban-Ramirez P.J., Palsbøll P.J. 1999. Genetic analysis of the North Atlantic fin whale: insights into migration patterns. European Research on Cetaceans 12:318.

80. Palsbøll P.J., Berubé M., Clapham P.J., Dietz D., Feddersen T.P., Heiberg A.C., Heide-Jørgensen M.P., Jørgensen H., Larsen A.H., Larsen F., Lien J., Mattila D.K., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 1999. Post-glacial origin and expansion of Arctic and temperate cetacean populations in the North-Atlantic. European Research on Cetaceans 12:320.

81. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Casini S., Savelli C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Lorenzani J., Castello H., Junin M., Focardi S. 1999. Skin biopsy as a non-destructive tool for the toxicological assessment of marine mammal populations. European Research on Cetaceans 12:362-367.

82. Gordon J.C.D., Matthews J.N., Panigada S., Gannier A., Borsani J.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Distribution and relative abundance of striped dolphins, and distribution of sperm whales in the Ligurian Sea cetacean sanctuary: results from a collaboration using acoustic monitoring techniques. Journal of Cetacean Research & Management 2(1):27-36. reprint available

83. Brownell R.L., Jr., Tillman M.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Berggren P., Read A.J. 2000. Further scrutiny of scientific whaling. Science 290:1696. reprint available

84. Borsani J.F., Clark C.W., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Sound production by fin whales in the Corsican-Ligurian Basin, Mediterranean Sea. European Research on Cetaceans 14:75.

85. Airoldi S., Azzellino A., Fadda V., Gaspari S., Nani B., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Mariani M. 2000. Social ecology of Risso’s dolphins in the Ligurian Sea: preliminary results. European Research on Cetaceans 14:213-217.

86. Bearzi G., Politi E., Fortuna C.M., Mel L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. An overview of cetacean sighting data from the northern Adriatic Sea: 1987-1999. European Research on Cetaceans 14:356-361.

87. Serena F., Vacchi M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2000. Geographical distribution and biological information on the basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas. Proceedings of the 3rd European Elasmobranch Association Meeting, Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1999. Paris : Societè Française d’Ichtyologie & IRD 2000:47-56.

 

88. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2001. Are the Mediterranean top predators exposed to toxicological risks due to endocrine disrupters? Annals of the New York Academy of Science 948:67-74.

Abstract. Man-made endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) range across all continents and oceans; some geographic areas are potentially more threatened than others: one of these is the Mediterranean Sea. This basin has limited exchange of water with the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by some of the most heavily populated and industrialized countries in the world. Accordingly, levels of some xenobiotics are much higher here than in other seas and oceans. In this research the unexplored hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pelagic fish and marine mammals) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. Here we illustrate the development of sensitive biomarkers (Vitellogenin, Zona Radiata proteins) for evaluation of toxicological risk in top marine predators (Xiphias gladius, Thunnus thynnus thynnus), and nonlethal techniques, such as nondestructive biomarkers (BPMO activities in skin biopsy), for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mammals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis, and Balaenoptera physalus).

 

89. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Ancora S., Moscatelli A., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2001. Do endocrine disrupting chemicals threaten Mediterranean swordfish? Preliminary results of vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins in Xiphias gladius. Marine Environmental Research 52:477-483. reprint available

Abstract. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have the potential to alter hormone pathways that regulate reproductive processes in wildlife and fishes. In this research the hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pelagic fish) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. These marine organisms tend to accumulate high concentrations of EDCs such as polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs). The potential effects of EDCs on a fish species of commercial interest, the top predator Xiphias gladius (swordfish), were investigated using vitellogenin (Vtg) and Zona radiata proteins (Zrp) as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Dramatic induction of typically female proteins (Vtg and Zrp) was detected by ELISA and Western Blot in adult males of the species. These results are the first warning of the potential risk for reproductive function of Mediterranean top predators, and suggest the need for continuous monitoring of this fragile marine environment.

 

90. Clark C.W., Borsani J.F., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Vocal activity of fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, in the Ligurian Sea. Marine Mammal Science 18(1):286-295. reprint available

 

91. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Ancora S., Mori G., Neri G., Ausili A., Romeo T., Moscatelli A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Biomarkers of exposure and effects for assessing toxicological risk of endocrine disrupters in top predators of the Mediterranean Sea. P.S.Z.N.; Marine Ecology, Supplement 1:184-189. reprint available

Abstract. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have the potential to alter hormone pathways that regulate reproductive processes in wildlife and fisheries. In this research the unexplored hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pela-gic fish and marine mammals) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. In the Mediterranean environment, top predators accumulate high concentrations of polyhalo-genated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals, incurring high toxicological risk. Here we illustrate the need to develop sensitive biomarkers for evaluation of toxi-cological risk in top marine predators (Xiphias gladius, Thunnus thynnus thynnus) and non-lethal techniques, such as non-destructive biomarkers, for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mammals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis and Balaenoptera physalus). Problem Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) have recently attracted much public and sci-entific attention (Colborn et al., 1993; Colborn et al., 1996; Colborn et al., 1998). EDCs are a structurally diverse group of compounds that may adversely affect the health of humans, wildlife and fisheries, or their progenies, by interaction with the en-docrine system (Gillesby & Zacharewski, 1998). They include chemicals used heavily in the past, in industry and agriculture, such as polychlorinated biphenyls and organo-chlorine pesticides, and those that are currently used, such as plasticizers and surfac-tants. Many of the known EDCs are estrogenic, affecting particularly reproductive functions. These chemicals are especially damaging during the embryonic, foetal and early postnatal periods because they resemble or interfere with hormones, growth fac-tors and neurotransmitters (Colborn et al., 1998; Colborn, 1998). Because of the lipo-philic and persistent nature of most xenobiotic estrogens and their metabolites, many bioaccumulate and biomagnify (Colborn, 1998; Arukwe et al., 1997). Man-made EDCs range across all continents and oceans; some geographic areas are potentially more threatened than others: one of these is the Mediterranean Sea. This ba-sin has limited exchange of water with the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by some of the most heavily populated and industrialised countries in the world. Accordingly, lev-els of some xenobiotics are much higher here than in other seas and oceans (Bernard, 1978). Mediterranean marine fauna could therefore be a target of EDCs. In this peculiar environment, top predators (such as large pelagic fish and marine mammals) tend to accumulate high quantities of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals (Marsili, 2000; Nigro & Leonzio, 1996). For example, PHAH levels in a top Mediterranean predator, the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), are 1±2 orders of magnitude higher than in Atlantic and Pacific dolphins (Marsili, 2000) of the same species. This suggests the hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species are poten-tially ªat riskº due to EDC contamination. In order to explore the extent of this potential problem we applied diagnostic and prognostic tools (biomarkers) to monitor the exposure and effects of EDCs in Mediterranean terminal consumers. In this project, supported by the Italian Ministry of the Environment, the potential estrogenic effects of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons on Mediterranean top predators is investigated using sensitive biomarkers such as Vitel-logenin (Vtg), Zona Radiata proteins (Zrp) for evaluation of toxicological risk in Xi-phias gladius and Thunnus thynnus thynnus (Large Pelagic Fish Project), and non-lethal techniques, such as non-destructive biomarkers (BPMO activities in skin biopsy), for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mam-mals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis and Balaenoptera physalus) (Marine Mammals Project).

 

92. Fossi M.C., Borsani J.F., Di Mento R., Marsili L., Casini S., Neri G., Mori G., Ancora S., Leonzio C., Minutoli R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Multi-trial biomarker approach in Meganyctiphanes norvegica: a potential early indicator of health status of the Mediterranean “whale sanctuary”. Marine Environmental Research 54:1-7. reprint available

Abstract. The aim of this study was to propose a suite of biomarkers (BPMO activity, NADPHcytocrome c reductase, NADH-ferricyanide reductase, esterases, porphyrins, vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins) and residue levels (organochlorines, PAHs and heavy metals) in the zooplanktonic euphausiid Meganyctiphanes norvegica as a potential multi-disciplinary diagnostic tool for assessment of the health status of the Mediterranean ”whale sanctuary”. Very little difference in BPMO was detected between sites, with values ranging from 0.75 to 2.68 U.A.F./mg prot/h. On the other hand larger differences between sites were found for reductase activities. Esterases (AChE), porphyrins (Copro-, Uro-, Proto-porphyrins) vitellogenin and zona radiata proteins were also detectable in this zooplanctonic species. Hg showed mean levels of 0.141 ppm d.w., Cd 0.119 ppm d.w. and Pb 0.496 ppm d.w. Total PAHs ranged from 860.7 to 5037.9 ng/g d.w., carcinogenic PAHs from 40.3 to 141.7 ng/g d.w., HCB from 3.5 to 11.6 ng/g d.w., DDTs from 45.3 to 163.2 ng/g d.w. and the PCBs from 84.6 to 210.2 ng/g d.w.

 

93. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Monk seal apocalypse. Guest editorial. The Monachus Guardian 5(2):1.

 

94. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Marsili L., Neri G., Mori G., Ancora S., Moscatelli A., Ausili A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2002. Biomarker for endocrine disruptors in three species of Mediterranean large pelagic fish. Marine Environmental Research 54:667-671. reprint available

Abstract. The hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species, such as large pelagic fish, are potentially at risk due to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), is investigated. The potential estrogenic effects of PHAHs in three fish species of commercial interest, the top predators bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus thynnus), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone), were investigated using vitellogenin (Vtg), zona radiata proteins (Zrp) and mixed function oxidases (EROD, BPMO) as diagnostic tools. High induction of Vtg and Zrp was detected by western blot and ELISAtechniques in adult males of X. gladius and T. thynnus thynnus, suggesting that these species are at high toxicological risk in the Mediterranean sea. Comparison of BPMO and EROD activities in the three species indicated, both in male and female, much higher MFO activity in bluefin tuna. This data suggests high exposure of this species to lipophilic xenobiotic contaminants in the Mediterranean environment.

 

95. Jahoda M., Lafortuna C.L., Biassoni N., Almirante C., Azzellino A., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Mediterranean fin whale’s (Balaenoptera physalus) response to small vessels and biopsy sampling assessed through passive tracking and timing of respiration. Marine Mammal Science 19(1):96-110. reprint available

Abstract. Twenty-five fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were individually studied in their Ligurian Sea feeding grounds to describe and measure short-term responses to the close approach of a fast-moving inflatable craft from which biopsy samples were collected. Passive tracking was performed with a new technique based on simultaneous determination of (1) position of the observation vessel, (2) laser-measured distance between the target animal and the observation vessel, and (3) azimuth of the target animal with respect to the observation vessel. Tracking was combined with timing of the surfacing intervals. Two different swimming-surfacing patterns supposed to be related to feeding and traveling, respectively, were observed. Supposed feeding whales reacted to disturbance by changing their behavior into traveling. Two different avoidance strategies were performed simultaneously by the whales: travel at increased velocity and reduction of the time spent at the surface. After the disturbance ceased, the surfacing activity never completely reverted to predisturbance conditions during one hour of postexposure control and supposed feeding behavior appeared to be suspended indefinitely. Our results suggest the need for whale watching regulations in the Ligurian Sea, particularly as far as presumed feeding whales are concerned.

 

96. Clapham P.J., Berggren P. Childerhouse S., Friday N.A., Kasuya T., Kell L., Kock K.-H., Manzanilla-Naim S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Perrin W.F., Read A.J., Reeves R.R., Rogan E., Rojas-Bracho L., Smith T.D., Stachowitsch M., Taylor B.L., Wade P.R., Brownell R.L., Jr. 2003. Whaling as science. Bioscience 53(3):210-212. reprint available

 

97. Orians G., Briand F., Diamond J., Colborn T., Gomez E., Guillemin R., Klug A., Konishi M., Lubchenco J., Mee L., Norse E., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Payne R., Safina C., Suzuki D., Wilson E.O., Woodwell G. 2003. “Scientists versus Whaling”: whose errors of judgment? Bioscience 53(3):200-203. reprint available

 

98. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Panigada S., Jahoda M., Airoldi S. 2003. Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus (L., 1758), in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33(2):105-150. reprint available

Abstract. 1. The ecology and status of fin whales Balaenoptera physalus in the Mediterranean Sea is reviewed. The species’ presence, morphology, distribution, movements, population structure, ecology and behaviour in this semi-enclosed marine region are summarized, and the review is complemented with original, previously unpublished data. 2. Although the total size of the fin whale population in the Mediterranean is unknown, an estimate for a portion of the western basin, where most of the whales are known to live, was approximately 3500 individuals. High whale densities, comparable to those found in rich oceanic habitats, were found in well-defined areas of high productivity. Most whales concentrate in the Ligurian-Corsican-Provençal Basin, where their presence is particularly noticeable during summer; however, neither their movement patterns throughout the region nor their seasonal cycle are clear. 3. Based on genetic studies, fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea are distinct from North Atlantic conspecifics, and may constitute a resident population, separate from those of the North Atlantic, despite the species’ historical presence in the Strait of Gibraltar. Fin whales are known to calve in the Mediterranean, with births peaking in November but occurring at lower rates throughout the year. They feed primarily on krill Meganyctiphanes norvegica which they capture by diving to depths in excess of 470 m. It is suggested that the extensive vertical migratory behaviour of its main prey may have influenced the social ecology of this population. 4. Known causes of mortality and threats, including collisions with vessels, entanglement in fishing gear, deliberate killing, disturbance, pollution and disease, are listed and discussed in view of the implementation of appropriate conservation measures to ensure the species’ survival in the region.

 

99. Reeves R.R., Smith B.D., Crespo E.A. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Dolphins, whales and porpoises: 2002 ­ 2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans. IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. ix + 139pp.

 

100. Bearzi G., Reeves R.R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Politi E., Cañadas A., Frantzis A., Mussi B. 2003. Ecology, status and conservation of short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the Mediterranean Sea. Mammal Review 33(34):224-252. reprint available

Abstract. 1. The recent decline in the Mediterranean population of short-beaked common dolphins Delphinus delphis has been the subject of scientific controversy and political indifference. Research on these animals has been very limited and there has been no large-scale, systematic effort to assess and monitor their abundance and distribution. The consequent lack of data has prevented a good understanding of historical and ongoing trends. 2. Nonetheless, literature and osteological collections confirm that common dolphins were widespread and abundant in much of the Mediterranean Sea until the late 1960s and that their decline occurred relatively quickly. Today, common dolphins remain relatively abundant only in the westernmost portion of the basin (Alboràn Sea), with sparse records off Algeria and Tunisia, concentrations around the Maltese islands and in parts of the Aegean Sea, and relict groups in the south-eastern Tyrrhenian and eastern Ionian Seas. Otherwise, these dolphins are rare in, or completely absent from, Mediterranean areas where information is available. 3. Circumstantial evidence and qualitative judgements by the authors suggest that the following factors may have contributed to the decline of common dolphins: reduced availability of prey caused by overfishing and habitat degradation; contamination by xenobiotic chemicals resulting in immunosuppression and reproductive impairment; environmental changes such as increased water temperatures affecting ecosystem dynamics; and incidental mortality in fishing gear, especially gillnets. The cumulative importance of these factors is poorly understood, and as a result, few conservation measures have been implemented. 4. This paper reviews current knowledge and suggests priorities for action aimed at identifying and mitigating the main threats to common dolphins in the Mediterranean, with the ultimate goal of restoring the species’ favourable conservation status in the region.

 

101. Lauriano G., Mackelworth P., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Densità e abbondanza del tursiope (Tursiops truncatus) nel parco nazionale dell’Asinara, Sardegna. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 10(2):717-720. reprint available

Abstract. In 2001 a dedicated survey was conducted in the Asinara Island National Park in order to estimate T. truncatus (Cetacea: Odontoceti) population density and abundance. Photoidentification s data were used/or capture-recapture method in CAPTURE software.

 

102. Lauriano G., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Mackelworth P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. Presenza e distribuzione dei cetacei nelle aree limitrofe al parco nazionale dell’Asinara (Sardegna nord-occidentale). Biologia Marina Mediterranea 10(2):848-852. reprint available

Abstract. A dedicated survey on presence and distribution of cetaceans off north-western Sardinia was held between ’94 and ’96 summer periods. A total of 120 sightings of five cetaceans species has been recorded. Fin whale was the most abundant species. Both striped and bottlenose dolphin were regularly sighted on the study area. The waters around the Asinara Island National Park showed an interesting cetacean fauna and could be an useful area for study and regulated whale-watching activity.

 

103. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2003. The role of skin biopsy in the detection of exposure of endocrine disrupting chemicals in Mediterranean cetaceans. Journal of Cetacean Research & Management 5(1):55-60. reprint available

Abstract. Use of skin biopsy is proposed as a sensitive non-lethal technique for the hazard assessment of Mediterranean cetaceans exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are a structurally diverse group of compounds that may adversely affect the health of humans and wildlife or their progeny, by interaction with the endocrine system. In the Mediterranean environment top predators accumulate high concentrations of polyhalogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAHs) and toxic metals, incurring high toxicological hazard. In this paper, the hypothesis that Mediterranean cetaceans are potentially at risk due to PHAH-EDCs is investigated using skin biopsy samples. Benzo-alpha-pyrene monoxigenase (BPMO) activity in skin biopsies was used as a potential indicator of exposure to different organochlorines (OCs) known to have endocrine disrupting properties. The main objective of this paper was to use this non-destructive ecotoxicological tool to define the potential hazard to Mediterranean odontocete and mysicete species, comparing the present data with values detected in other cetaceans from heavily polluted areas, affected by pseudohermaphroditism and other reproductive dysfunction. Subcutaneous tissue consisting of skin and blubber was obtained from striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Mediterranean basin. Sampling was performed in the western Ligurian Sea, between Corsica and the French-Italian coast, and in the Ionian Sea. High concentrations of DDT metabolites and PCB congeners (known as Endocrine Disruptors) were detected in the different species. Significant differences in BPMO induction and OC levels were found between odontocetes and mysticetes. Differences in organochlorine bioaccumulation and consequently potential risk due to endocrine disruptors were primarily related to different positions in the marine food web. A statistical correlation was found between BPMO activity and organochlorine (op’DDT, a potent estrogen and antiandrogen and pp’DDE, a potent antiandrogen) levels in skin biopsy specimens of the endangered Mediterranean population of common dolphin. Several conclusions on the potential risk to Mediterranean cetaceans can be drawn from comparison of the levels of OC-EDs detected in Mediterranean odontocetes with those in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) of the St Lawrence estuary and bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) affected by pseudohermaphroditism and other reproductive dysfunction. Finally, these results suggest that BPMO induction may be an early sign of exposure to EDCs such as OCs and a warning of the possibility of transgenerational effects through exposure of future generations via the placenta and milk.

 

104. Palsbøll P.J., Bérubé M., Aguilar A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Nielsen R. 2004. Discerning between recurrent gene flow and recent divergence under a finite-site mutation model applied to North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) populations. Evolution 58(3):670-675. reprint available

Abstract. Genetic divergence among conspecific subpopulations can be due to either low recurrent gene flow or recent divergence and no gene flow. Here we present a modification of an earlier method developed by Nielsen and Wakeley (2001), which accommodates a finite-site mutation model, to assess which of the two models of divergence is most likely given the observed data. We apply the method to nucleotide sequence data collected from the variable part of the mitochondrial control region in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Atlantic coast off Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. Our estimations strongly favor a model of recurrent gene flow over a model of recent divergence and zero gene flow. We estimated the migration rate at two females per generation. While the estimated rate is high by evolutionary standards, exchange rates of this order of magnitude is low from an ecological and conservation perspective and entirely consistent with the current paucity of fin whale sightings in the Strait of Gibraltar today. Intensive commercial shore-based whaling during the 1920s removed substantial numbers of fin whales in the Strait of Gibraltar and this local population has seemingly since failed to recover.

 

105. Mo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G., Cozzi B. 2004. Conservation policies from a regional to a national approach: the formulation of the Italian action plan for the conservation of cetaceans. European Research on Cetaceans 15:177.

 

106. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli M., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M., Pesante G., Revelli E. 2004. Distribution and occurrence of fin whales in the Ligurian Sea between 1990-99. European Research on Cetaceans 15:194.

 

107. Roussel E., Beaubrun P., David L., Di Méglio N., Airoldi S., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. An application of the Poseidon Programme: preliminary comparison of fin whale and human activities summer distributions in the north-western Mediterranean. European Research on Cetaceans 15:201-203.

 

108. Lauriano G., Di Muccio S., Cardinali A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Interactions between bottlenose dolphins and small scale fisheries in the Asinara Island National Park (north-western Sardinia). European Research on Cetaceans 15:295-301.

 

109. Fossi M.C., Marsili L., Neri G., Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Are Mediterranean cetaceans exposed to the toxicological risk of endocrine disruption? European Research on Cetaceans 15:338.

 

110. Jahoda M., Azzellino A., Lafortuna C., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Almirante C., Borsani J.F., D’Amico A., Panigada S., Zanardelli M., Bearzi G. 2004. Passive tracking and timing of respiration as a methodology to determine reactions of Mediterranean fin whales in response to different sources of possible disturbance. European Research on Cetaceans 15:355-357.

 

111. Bearzi G., Holcer D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. The role of historical dolphin takes and habitat degradation in shaping the present status of northern Adriatic cetaceans. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14:363-379. reprint available

Abstract. 1. Nine cetacean species have been reliably reported to occur in the shallow northern Adriatic Sea since the 17th century. However, only two species were considered regular there until the 1970s: the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). 2. Short-beaked common dolphins have progressively disappeared from the northern Adriatic and are now rare in the region. The systematic culling campaigns and other takes that occurred between the second half of the 18th century and the 1960s, and habitat degradation in subsequent years are the most likely causes of their decline. 3. Today, common bottlenose dolphins are the only regular component of the northern Adriatic cetacean fauna; however, they now occur at low densities, and their fragmented groups are facing significant anthropogenic threats. 4. The future of northern Adriatic dolphins will depend on precautionary action to prevent further decline and on intensified research effort aimed at identifying the most effective mitigation strategies.

 

112. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Briand F. 2004. Executive summary. In: F. Briand (Ed.), Investigating the roles of cetaceans in marine ecosystems. Venice, 28-31 January 2004. CIESM Workshop Monographs n° 25.

 

113. Lauriano G., Fortuna C.M., Moltedo G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2004. Interactions between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the artisanal fishery in Asinara Island National Park (Sardinia): assessment of catch damage and economic loss. Journal of Cetacean Research and management 6(2):165–173. reprint available

Abstract. In 1999, the Italian Central Institute for Applied Marine Research (ICRAM), in response to reports made by local fisheries, began a study into the interactions between common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and the artisanal fishery in the Asinara Island National Park (Sardinia). Using onboard observers, fishing boat surveys were carried out to determine the frequency of interactions, variations in the catch of target species and damage to two different types of trammel net caused by dolphins. Interactions occurred primarily with trammel nets targetting striped red mullet (Mullus surmuletus; the less valuable peacock wrasse, Simphodus tinca, was also caught). Interactions also occurred with trammel nets set for lobster (Palinurus elephas), cuttlefish (Sepia spp.) and scorpionfish (Scorpaena spp.), but these were considered negligible. The target species, catch and damage inflicted on the catch was recorded, both in the presence and absence of dolphins, in an effort to ascertain associated damage and economic cost. Loss of catch was found to be significant only in the case of nets deployed during the red striped mullet fishing season. Although the level of interaction was high relative to the narrow red striped mullet fishery season, the overall economic impact on the fishing community was found to be modest. The presence and regulations of the national park area may provide an opportunity for investigating mitigation activities compatible with both cetacean conservation and the maintenance of the traditional fisheries.

 

114. Greco S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Tunesi L. 2004. ‘Sistema Afrodite’: an integrated programme for the inventorying and monitoring of the core zones of the Italian marine protected areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14:S119-S122. reprint available

 

115. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2005. Le aree protette come strumento di tutela dell’ambiente marino. Pp. 201-220 in: G. Piva (ed.). I Parchi nel Terzo Millennio: ragioni e necessità delle aree naturali protette. Alberto Perdisa Editore, Bologna, 233 pp.

 

116. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bearzi G. 2005. Research on cetaceans in Italy. In B. Cozzi, ed. Marine mammals of the Mediterranean Sea: natural history, biology, anatomy, pathology, parasitology. Massimo Valdina Editore – The Coffee House Art & Adv, Milano. [download pdf]

 

117. Bearzi G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Bonizzoni S. 2005. Scientific literature on Mediterranean cetaceans: the Italian contribution. In B. Cozzi, ed. Marine mammals of the Mediterranean Sea: natural history, biology, anatomy, pathology, parasitology. Massimo Valdina Editore – The Coffee House Art & Adv, Milano. reprint available

 

118. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli Panigada M., Airoldi S., Borsani J.F., Jahoda M. 2005. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) summering in the Ligurian Sea: distribution, encounter rate, mean group size and relation to physiographic variables. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 7(2):137-145. reprint available

Abstract. This paper investigates the distribution of Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) between 1990-99 in the recently-established Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals. During the study period, 870 days were spent at sea, surveying a total of 73,046km, totalling 540 sightings of fin whales. Mean yearly whale encounter rates showed no significant differences in the first five years, but then steadily decreased between 1995-99. The highest encounter rates and largest mean aggregation size (mean=2.12; SD=1.32; SE=1.15) were in summer 1995 and the mean aggregation size throughout the study period was 1.75 (mode=1; SD=1.11; SE=0.05). Differences in mean aggregation size were significant between years, but not months. This is likely to be related to prey availability and to patchiness of plankton distribution. Generalised Linear Models were used to relate fin whale distribution to physiographic variables (mean, range and standard deviation of depth and slope, and distance from the nearest coast). Water depth was the most significant variable in describing fin whale distribution, with more than 90% of sightings occurring in waters deeper than 2,000m. This study demonstrates the deep water preference of fin whales in this area, emphasises the crucial role that this part of the western Ligurian Sea plays in the ecology of Mediterranean fin whales and provides recommendations for conservation and management measures in the area.

 

119. Panigada S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Zanardelli Panigada M. 2006. Fin whales summering in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea): overview of studies on habitat use and diving behaviour. Chemistry and Ecology 22(Supplement 1):S255-S263. reprint available

Abstract. This paper presents a review and summary of data on fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the recently established Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine Mammals. The data presented were collected by the Tethys Research Institute during summers of 1990-1999 during a long-term study on the habitat use and preferences of fin whales in this area, described as their major feeding ground in the Mediterranean. Data on the presence, distribution, habitat use, and diving behaviour are reviewed. The data presented here emphasize the crucial role that the pelagic portion of the western Ligurian Sea plays in the ecology of Mediterranean fin whales and provide impetus for the expeditious implementation of conservation and management measures in the area.

 

120. Holcer D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Fortuna C.M., Lazar B., Onofri V. 2006. Occurrence of Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic Sea: evidence of an important Mediterranean habitat. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 87:359-372. reprint available

Abstract. The intent of this work is to summarize the available knowledge on the appearance, identification and distribution of Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) in the Adriatic Sea through a review of historical data, inspection of natural history collections and collection of original data. In total, eleven occurrences are documented of Cuvier’s beaked whale along the Adriatic coast with all records originating from the deep southern Adriatic basin. The number of recorded stranded Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic represents about 3% of the recorded specimens in the entire Mediterranean. This percentage increases up to about 5% when considering only data collected after the first recorded stranding of the recent era in 1975. Comparing these percentages to the extent of the area relative to the Mediterranean, the proportion of occurrence of the total stranded Cuvier’s beaked whales in the southern Adriatic ranged between the same to double of that of the entire Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, the southern Adriatic Sea should be considered as potentially relevant habitat of the Cuvier’s beaked whale. This hypothesis has clear conservation implications particularly in the view of the adverse impact of sonar experiments, carried out by navies from several countries, on this species and should be further investigated. Finally, there is no evidence of the northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) ever having occurred in this part of the Mediterranean region.

 

121. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2006. I cetacei. Pp. 217-230 in: M. Fraissinet and F. Pedretti (eds.), Salvati dall’arca. Alberto Perdisa Editore. 663 pp.

 

122. Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Serena, F. & Mancusi, C. 2006. Mobula mobular. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2.

 

123. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hyrenbach D., Agardy T. 2007. The Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals: case study. Lessons in conservation. http://ncep.amnh.org/ncep.

 

124. Wright A.J., Aguilar Soto N., Baldwin A.L., Bateson M., Beale C.M., Clark C., Deak T., Edwards E.F., Fernández A., Godinho A., Hatch L., Kakuschke A., Lusseau D., Martineau D., Romero L.M., Weilgart L., Wintle B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Martin V. 2007. Anthropogenic noise as a stressor in animals: a multidisciplinary perspective. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 20(2-3):250-273. reprint available

Abstract. Consequences of extreme noise exposure are obvious and usually taken into some consideration in the management of many human activities that affect either human or animal populations. However, the more subtle effects such as masking, annoyance and changes in behavior are often overlooked, especially in animals, because these subtleties can be very difficult to detect. To better understand the possible consequences of exposure to noise, this review draws from the available information on human and animal physiology and psychology, and addresses the importance of context (including physiological and psychological state resulting from any previous stressor exposure) in assessing the true meaning of behavioral responses. The current consensus is that the physiological responses to stressors of various natures are fairly stereotyped across the range of species studied. It is thus expected that exposure to noise can also lead to a physiological stress response in other species either directly or indirectly through annoyance, a secondary stressor. In fact many consequences of exposure to noise can result in a cascade of secondary stressors such as increasing the ambiguity in received signals or causing animals to leave a resourceful area, all with potential negative if not disastrous consequences. The context in which stressors are presented was found to be important not only in affecting behavioral responses, but also in affecting the physiological and psychological responses. Young animals may be particularly sensitive to stressors for a number of reasons including the sensitivity of their still-developing brains. Additionally, short exposure to stressors may result in long-term consequences. Furthermore, physiological acclimation to noise exposure cannot be determined from apparent behavioral reactions alone due to contextual influence, and negative impacts may persist or increase as a consequence of such behavioral changes. Despite the lack of information available to managers, uncertainty analysis and modeling tools can be coupled with adaptive management strategies to support decision making and continuous improvements to managing the impacts of noise on free-ranging animals.

 

125. Wright A.J., Aguilar Soto N., Baldwin A.L., Bateson M., Beale C.M., Clark C., Deak T., Edwards E.F., Fernández A., Godinho A., Hatch L., Kakuschke A., Lusseau D., Martineau D., Romero L.M., Weilgart L., Wintle B., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Martin V. 2007. Do marine mammals experience stress related to anthropogenic noise? International Journal of Comparative Psychology 20(2-3):274-316. reprint available

Abstract. Sound travels much further than light in the marine environment. As a result, marine mammals, especially cetaceans, rely heavily on sound for many important life functions, including breeding and foraging. This reliance on sound means it is quite likely that exposure to noise will have some detrimental effects on these life functions. However, there has been little application to marine mammals of the knowledge available in other species of stress responses to noise and other stressors. In this paper we begin to integrate what is known about marine mammals with the current knowledge gained in terrestrial mammals about stress physiology, specifically considering physiological and psychological context and thus also cumulative and synergistic impacts. We determined that it is reasonable to extrapolate information regarding stress responses in other species to marine mammals, because these responses are highly conserved among all species in which they have been examined to date. As a result, we determined that noise acts as a stressor to marine mammals. Furthermore, given that marine mammals will likely respond in a manner consistent with other species studied, repeated and prolonged exposures to stressors (including or induced by noise) will be problematic for marine mammals of all ages. A range of issues may arise from the extended stress response including, but not limited to, suppression of reproduction (physiologically and behaviorally), accelerated aging and sickness-like symptoms. We also determined that interpretation of a reduction in behavioral responses to noise as acclimation will be a mistake in many situations, as alternative reasons for the observed results are much more likely. We recommend that research be conducted on both stress responses and life-history consequences of noise exposure in marine mammals, while emphasizing that very careful study designs will be required. We also recommend that managers incorporate the findings presented here in decisions regarding activities that expose marine mammals to noise. In particular, the effects of cumulative and synergistic responses to stressors can be very important and should not be dismissed lightly.

 

126. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T., Hyrenbach D., Scovazzi T., Van Klaveren P. 2008. The Pelagos sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18:367-391. doi: 10.1002/aqc.855. reprint available

Abstract. 1. In February 2002, France, Italy and Monaco agreed to establish an international sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. The resulting Pelagos Sanctuary encompasses over 87 500 km2 of the north-western Mediterranean Sea, extending between south-eastern France, Monaco, northwestern Italy and northern Sardinia, and surrounding Corsica and the Tuscan Archipelago. 2. The Pelagos Sanctuary illustrates how the tenets of Marine Protected Area (MPA) design can be reconciled with the dynamic nature of oceanic systems, because its spatial scale was defined by oceanographic and ecological considerations, specifically the location of the Ligurian permanent frontal system. 3. By expanding protective measures beyond national waters, the Pelagos Sanctuary also sets a precedent for the implementation of pelagic protected areas in the high seas. The Pelagos Sanctuary will contribute to the conservation of the Mediterranean Sea at two scales: (i) locally, by protecting important cetacean foraging and breeding grounds in the Ligurian Sea, and by providing ‘umbrella’ protection to other marine predators in this area; and (ii) regionally, by empowering other conservation measures, such as the Specially Protected Areas Protocol of the Barcelona Convention and the wider goals of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black and Mediterranean Seas (ACCOBAMS). 4. However, because few cetacean species are resident within the Sanctuary, their effective longterm conservation will require large-scale management and coordinated monitoring throughout the Mediterranean basin.

 

127. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2008. Marine protected areas for cetaceans: basic concepts on selection, creation and management. Pp. 7-13 in: P.G.H. Evans (ed.), Selection criteria for marine protected areas for cetaceans. Proceedings of the ECS – ASCOBANS – ACCOBAMS Workshop held at the European Cetacean Society’s 21st Annual Conference, The Aquarium, San Sebastian, Spain, 22nd April 2007. ECS Publication Series n. 48. 104 p. reprint available

 

128. Guidetti P., Milazzo M., Bussotti S., Molinari A., Murenu M., Pais A., Spanò N., Balzano R., Agardy T., Boero F., Carrada G., Cattaneo-Vietti R., Cau A., Chemello R., Greco S., Manganaro A., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Russo G.F., Tunesi L. 2008. Italian marine reserve effectiveness: does enforcement matter? Biological Conservation 141:699-709. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.12.013 reprint available

Abstract. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have become popular tools worldwide for ecosystem conservation and fishery management. Fish assemblages can benefit from protection provided by MPAs, especially those that include fully no-take reserves. Fish response to protection can thus be used to evaluate the effectiveness of marine reserves. Most target fish are high level predators and their overfishing may affect entire communities through trophic cascades. In the Mediterranean rocky sublittoral, marine reserves may allow fish predators of sea urchins to recover and thus whole communities to be restored from coralline barrens to macroalgae. Such direct and indirect reserve effects, however, are likely to be related to the enforcement implemented. In Italy, many MPAs that include no-take reserves have been declared, but little effort has been spent to enforce them. This is a worldwide phenomenon (although more common in some regions than others) that may cause MPAs and reserves to fail to meet their targets. We found that 3 of 15 Italian marine reserves investigated had adequate enforcement, and that patterns of recovery of target fish were related to enforcement. No responses were detected when all reserves were analyzed as a whole, suggesting enforcement as an important factor to be considered in future studies particularly to avoid that positive ecological responses in properly managed reserves can be masked by neutral/negative results in paper parks. Positive responses were observed for large piscivores (e.g. dusky groupers) and sea urchin predators at reserves where enforcement was effective. Those reserves with low or null enforcement did not differ from fished areas.

 

129. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Evans P.G.H. 2008. Fin whale Balaenoptera physalus. Pp. 669-672 in: S. Harris and D.W. Yalden (eds.), Mammals of the British Isles: Handbook, 4th edition. The Mammal Society, 3 The Carronades, New Road, Southampton SO14 0AA, Great Britain. 799 p.

 

130. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Hanafy M.H., Fouda M.M., Afifi A., Costa M. 2009. Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) resting habitat in Samadai Reef (Egypt, Red Sea) protected through tourism management. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 89(1):211-216. doi:10.1017/S0025315408002221 reprint available

Abstract. The daily presence of spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris, inside a small reef offshore the Red Sea coast of southern Egypt was monitored from January 2004 to January 2006. Observations indicated marked seasonal and daily variations in the use of the reef as a resting and socializing area by the dolphins, consistent during the two years of monitoring. Overall, the mean number of dolphins present in the reef at any day was 39.2 (SD ¼ 39.34, range 0-210), with the lowest presence in February to April and the highest in June. Similar to other populations of this species in other oceans, dolphins entered the reef between daybreak and mid-morning, and started exiting during the afternoon hours. Although calves were seen in all seasons, a sharp peak was observed in June. Monitoring data provided indications relevant to governmental management efforts, which were implemented in 2004 to ensure that the dolphins could continue using the reef for their resting needs while a sustainable, respectful tourist activity is allowed in a designated zone of the reef adjacent to the dolphins’ core habitat.

 

131. Abdulla A., Gomei M., Hyrenbach D., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T. 2008. Challenges facing a network of representative marine protected areas in the Mediterranean: prioritizing the protection of underrepresented habitats. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn164 reprint available

Abstract. The high endemism of the Mediterranean Sea provides strong motivation to develop a comprehensive plan for the conservation of its biodiversity and the management of its marine resources. Increasingly, this ecosystem-level approach calls for a comprehensive network of marine protected areas (MPAs) representative of the richness and diversity of this shared basin. Today, Mediterranean MPAs do not represent the diverse geography and habitats in the region. Despite a recent declaration on trawling restrictions in deep waters (.1000 m), there are no true deep-sea Mediterranean MPAs. All but one (98.9%) of the 94 marine areas currently under some type of protection or management are coastal. Moreover, 69 (73.4%) are located along the basin’s northern shore, highlighting the lack of MPAs in the south and east coasts. Yet, these underrepresented regions and habitats are ecologically distinctive by virtue of their particular oceanographic and biogeographic conditions. We identify several obstacles to Mediterranean MPA implementation and discuss how they can be overcome through strategic MPA network planning, contending that regional disparities in governance, institutional structures, wealth distribution, social capital, and availability of ecological data are responsible for discrepancies in the establishment and effectiveness of MPAs in this region.

 

132. Auster P.J., Fujita R., Kellert S.R., Avise J., Campagna C., Cuker B., Dayton P., Heneman B., Kenchington R., Stone G., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Glynn P. 2009. Developing an ocean ethic: science, utility, aesthetics, self-interest and different ways of knowing. Conservation Biology 23(1):233-235. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01057.x reprint available

 

133. Dolman S.J., Evans P.G.H., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Frisch H. 2010. Active sonar, beaked whales & European regional policy. Marine Pollution Bulletin 63:27-34.  doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.03.034  reprint available

Abstract. Various reviews, resolutions and guidance from international and regional fora have been produced in recent years that acknowledge the significance of marine noise and its potential impacts on cetaceans. Within Europe, ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS have shown increasing attention to the issue. The literature highlights concerns surrounding the negative impacts of active sonar on beaked whales in particular, where concerns primarily relate to the use of mid-frequency active sonar (1–10 kHz), as used particularly in military exercises. The authors review the efforts that European regional policies have undertaken to acknowledge and manage possible negative impacts of active sonar and how these might assist the transition from scientific research to policy implementation, including effective management and mitigation measures at a national level.

 

134. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2010. The word’s two remaining monk seal species: how many different ways are there of being Critically Endangered? The Monachus Guardian 13(1):39-41.

 

135. Bearzi G., Pierantonio N., Bonizzoni S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Demma M. 2010. Perception of a cetacean mass stranding in Italy: the emergence of compassion. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 11 p. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.1135 reprint available

Abstract. 1. The view that whales are malicious monsters has been pervasive throughout historical times. Conversely, the idea that these animals experience suffering has emerged only recently. One way of investigating perceptual, as well as behavioural, shifts is assessing general public reactions to mortality events involving wild, rare and charismatic animals. 2. Here, we report the responses of 118 individuals to questions regarding the mass stranding of seven sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) along the Adriatic Sea coast of Italy in December 2009, through interviews taken at the stranding site and in the direct proximity of the dead animals. 3. When asked why the whales were stranded, 44.1% of the respondents suggested anthropogenic causes and 21.2% non-anthropogenic. The remaining 34.7% mentioned a generic “disorientation” or stated they did not know. When asked how they felt about the whales, 68.6% expressed feelings of compassion or care towards the animals. Clearly non-compassionate attitudes accounted for only 4.1% of the sample. Finally, 21.2% expressed feelings that were ambiguous in terms of being suggestive of compassionate or non-compassionate attitudes, including 11.9% amazement, 4.2% deprecation and 5.1% powerlessness. 4. These results are in stark contrast with information obtained from accounts of similar events that have occurred in historical times, up until the first half of the 20th century. For centuries, responses to cetacean live strandings—typically including killing and harming of the animals—were either utilitarian or characterized by feelings including fear and a desire to “subjugate the beast”, with no apparent concern for their suffering and death. 5. We conclude that attitudes towards whales—today strikingly revolving around sadness, compassion and a sense of loss—have changed dramatically over time, with a steep turnaround in the 1970-80s. Full appreciation of the ongoing evolution in public perception can channel marine conservation efforts and assist in the design of response strategies to marine mammal strandings.

 

136. Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Birkun A., Jr. 2010. Conserving whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas: an ACCOBAMS status report, 2010. ACCOBAMS, Monaco. 212 p. [download pdf]

 

137. Lauriano G., Panigada S., Canneri R., Manca Zeichen M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2010. Abundance estimate of striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the Pelagos Sanctuary (NW Mediterranean Sea) by means of line transect survey. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(3):279-283.

Abstract. To assess cetacean densities in the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) specifically designated to protect cetaceans, a survey was carried out in the Ligurian-Provencal Basin (NW Mediterranean) in August 2008. An area of 58,000 km2 was surveyed in eight days with equally spaced zigzag transects, covering 1,255 km in favourable conditions. Tracklines were designed using Distance 5.0 to allow for homogeneous coverage probability over the selected area. Fifty three sightings of four cetacean species were made: striped dolphins (n = 37), fin whales (n = 12), sperm whales (n = 3) and Cuvier’s beaked whales (n = 1). Estimates of abundance were obtained using Distance 5.0. The estimated dolphin abundance was 13,232 (CV = 35.55; 95% CI = 6,640–26,368), with a density of 0.23 individuals km–1 (CV = 35.55; 95% CI = 0.11–0.45). No fin whale abundance estimate was possible due to the small sample size. The point estimate of the 2008 striped dolphin abundance estimate was almost half of that of a survey conducted in 1992 by Forcada and colleagues (1995) in the same area with comparable effort, platform and methodology (25,614; CV = 25.3; 95% CI = 15,377–42,658); nevertheless, the difference was not statistically significant. These results strongly support the need for further systematic monitoring in the Sanctuary and in the surrounding areas, in order to assess striped dolphin abundance, spatial and temporal trends.

 

138. Agardy T., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Christie P. 2011. Mind the gap: addressing the shortcomings of marine protected areas through large scale marine spatial planning. Marine Policy 35:226-232. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2010.10.006 reprint available

Abstract. A blind faith in the ability of MPAs to counteract loss of biodiversity is fraught with risk, especially when MPAs are poorly planned and when the consequences of establishing MPAs are not adequately thought out. MPA shortcomings are categorized as one of five main types: (1) MPAs that by virtue of their small size or poor design are ecologically insufficient; (2) inappropriately planned or managed MPAs; (3) MPAs that fail due to the degradation of the unprotected surrounding ecosystems; (4) MPAs that do more harm than good due to displacement and unintended consequences of management; and (5) MPAs that create a dangerous illusion of protection when in fact no protection is occurring. A strategic alternative, which fully utilizes the strengths of the MPA tool while avoiding the pitfalls, can overcome these shortcomings: integrating marine protected area planning in broader marine spatial planning and ocean zoning efforts.

 

139. Bearzi G., Pierantonio N., Affronte M., Holcer D., Maio N., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2011. Overview of sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus mortality events in the Adriatic Sea, 1555–2009. Mammal Review  doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2010.00171.x reprint available

Abstract. 1. In the Mediterranean Sea the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus is one of eight cetacean species considered to be regular inhabitants. Poor knowledge of its ecology and status, together with suspected decline in numbers, make studies of historical and present occurrence especially relevant. Long-term time series of stranding events are the most reliable data to provide a scientific framework for testing hypotheses that seek to explain the mechanisms responsible for cetacean strandings. 2. We present a comprehensive overview of cases of sperm whale mortality and human response to such events encompassing five centuries (1555-2009) within a portion of the Mediterranean Sea that offers a wealth of historical information— the Adriatic Sea. 3. A total of 36 mortality events were validated, involving 68 animals. Two findings of skeletal materials are also reported. The geographic distribution of strandings within the basin clearly was uneven, with 44.4% of records (n = 16) clustered along a 280 km portion of the western Adriatic coast. A relatively high number of mortality events occurred along gently-sloping sandy beaches away from suitable sperm whale habitat. 4. Until the first half of the 20th century killing of live-stranded animals was routine, all but one cases with known human response eliciting killing attempts. Starting from the 1980s, killing was replaced by efforts to rescue the animals. 5. Mass strandings of sperm whales have occurred since historical times in the Adriatic Sea. Mortality events involving multiple individuals accounted for at least 16.7% of the total sample (6 of 36 mortality events). At least 28.6% of live strandings (6 of 21) involved more than one individual. 6. This study contributes a long-term dataset based on careful validation of historical information, suitable for hypothesis-testing aimed to investigating spatial and temporal correlates of sperm whale strandings— particularly live strandings—as a clue to their causes.

 

140. Frantzis A., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Johnson C., Mazzariol S. 2011. Inter-basin movements of Mediterranean sperm whales provide insight into their population structure and conservation. Deep-Sea Research Part I. 58:454-459. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2011.02.005  reprint available

Abstract. The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600–2100 km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation.

 

141. Fossi M.C., Casini S., Caliani I., Panti C., Marsili L., Viarengo A., Giangreco R., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Serena F., Ouerghi A., Depledge M.H. 2012. The role of large marine vertebrates in the assessment of the quality of pelagic marine ecosystems. Marine Environmental Research 77:156-158. doi:10.1016/j.marenvres.2012.03.003  reprint available

Abstract. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy has been developed and is being implemented, with the objective to deliver “Good Environmental Status” by 2020. A pragmatic way forward has been achieved through the development of 11 “qualitative descriptors”. In an attempt to identify gaps in MSFD, regarding the data on large marine vertebrates, the SETAC e Italian Branch organised a workshop in Siena (IT). Particular attention was paid to the qualitative descriptors 8 (contaminants and pollution effects) and 10 (marine litter). The specific remit was to discuss the potential use of large marine vertebrates (from large pelagic fish, sea turtles, sea birds and cetaceans) in determining the environmental status of pelagic marine ecosystems. During the workshop it emerged that large pelagic fish may be especially useful for monitoring short- to medium-term changes in pelagic ecosystems, while cetaceans provided a more integrated view over the long-term. A theme that strongly emerged was the broad recognition that biomarkers offer real potential for the determination of good ecological status detecting the “undesirable biological effects” (indicator for descriptor 8).

 

142. Weir C.R., Macena B.C.L., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Records of rays of the genus Mobula (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes: Mobulidae) from the waters between Gabon and Angola (eastern tropical Atlantic) Marine Biodiversity Records 5; e26 doi:10.1017/S1755267212000061 reprint available

Abstract. The occurrence of the rays belonging to the genera Mobula (known collectively as the ‘devil rays’) and Manta is poorly documented in the eastern tropical Atlantic. Between August 2004 and September 2005, a total of 28 mobulid ray observations were recorded from geophysical survey vessels operating in the waters between Gabon and Angola. Water depth at the location of the sightings varied from 30 to 4000 m, reflecting an occurrence in both neritic and oceanic habitat. While most animals were unidentified to species level, photographs taken during two sightings facilitated the identification of two separate species/ species groups of Mobula. The first individual, photographed at the surface in deep water offshore of northern Angola, was identified as belonging to the M. mobular/M. japanica species group, comprising two species that are very similar in appearance and which future evidence may reveal to represent a single species. The second animal, photographed off Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo, was identified as a bentfin devil ray (M. thurstoni). The previously documented southernmost records of these species in the eastern tropical Atlantic were in the Mediterranean Sea (M. mobular), Coˆte d’Ivoire (M. japanica) and Senegal (M. thurstoni). These observations therefore extend the known distribution ranges into the south-east Atlantic Ocean.

 

143. Azzellino A., Panigada S., Lanfredi C., Zanardelli M., Airoldi S., Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Predictive habitat models for managing marine areas: spatial and temporal distribution of marine mammals within the Pelagos Sanctuary (Northwestern Mediterranean sea). Ocean & Coastal Management 67:63-74. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.05.024 reprint available

Abstract. Habitat use of seven different species of cetaceans inhabiting the Pelagos Sanctuary was studied using 18-year summer shipboard surveys data, in an area of approximately 25,000 km2. 2940 sightings were collected: 1996 striped dolphins, 626 fin whales, 120 Risso’s dolphins, 114 sperm whales, 27 common bottlenose dolphins, 25 long-finned pilot whales, 23 Cuvier’s beaked whales. Stepwise Logistic Regression Analysis was used to develop presence/absence predictive models. Statistics of depth and slope were used as covariates. Significant correlations were outlined (P < 0.05) supporting the hypothesis that physiographic factors may be employed as predictors of the species presence. The temporal variability of the species habitat use was also analyzed, confirming the reliability of the physiographic predictors. Temporal trends and variability in the species distribution were also assessed through a GLM analysis. The understanding offered by this long-term study is essential for managing the conservation status of these wide-ranging species. Physiographic factors may be employed as predictors of cetacean species presence. Predictions based on bathymetry were reliable despite temporal variability. This study findings provide insights about the biodiversity of unsurveyed areas. Model predictions allow to assess potential vulnerability of marine environments. Knowledge about resources vulnerability is the basis for any management plan.

 

144. Adnet S., Cappetta H., Guinot G., Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G. 2012. Evolutionary history of the devilrays (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes) from fossil and morphological inference. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 166:132-159. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00844.x  reprint available

Abstract. The exact affinities of the fossil teeth attributed to the devilrays (mobulids) are critical for resolving the debated origin of these giant pelagic rays amongst Myliobatiformes and the timing of their evolution toward planktivory. We performed the first detailed comparative description of teeth belonging to most of the living and fossil mobulids. Based on a survey of living devilrays, three dental morphologies are newly identified as cobblestone tooth plates, comb-like teeth, and peg-like teeth. In addition, all extinct mobulid species are reviewed with comments on their dentition, fossil record, and geographical distribution. As a result, three fossil mobulid taxa are newly described from the Late Eocene of south-west Morocco (Argoubia barbei gen. et sp. nov., Oromobula dakhlaensis gen. et sp. nov., and Eoplinthicus underwoodi sp. nov.). This has permitted the first assessment of the phylogenetic positions of extinct and extant species of mobulids, using cladistic analyses and a combined data set of nondental anatomical characters from the literature and the dental characters defined here. Our new results support the monophyly of mobulids including all living and most extinct species and indicate that mobulids are closely related to rhinopterids. They also indicate that there was a recent split within Mobulidae into the three tooth morphology groups that we describe in this paper. This work provides clues to the evolutionary history of this clade since the Early Eocene, including the gradual lack in tooth interlocking toward the filter-feeding strategy, whereas the preservation of cusped teeth without feeding function in modern filter-feeder mobulids is interpreted as a tool for precopulatory purposes.

 

145. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2012. Ancient waves, recent concerns: the budding of marine mammal conservation science in Italy. Aquatic Mammals 38(4):441-455. DOI 10.1578/AM.38.4.2012.441  reprint available

 

146. Guidetti P., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T. 2012. Integrating pelagic and coastal MPAs into large-scale ecosystem-wide management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2314  reprint available

 

147. Portman M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Agardy T., Katsanevakis S., Possingham H., Di Carlo G. 2013. He who hesitates is lost: why conservation in the Mediterranean Sea is necessary and possible now. Marine Policy 42:270-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.03.004  reprint available

Abstract. Marine conservation is urgently needed across the Mediterranean region, and much information exists to support establishment of conservation priorities and planning processes. Yet the identification of priority areas for conservation is challenging both from socio-political and ecological perspectives, and differing approaches to setting priorities have led to constraints and inertia. Based on a review of existing and proposed conservation initiatives at various scales throughout the Mediterranean, a model process is presented for furthering marine protection based on conservation priorities set at a regional scale and already endorsed internationally.  This article proposes implementing marine spatial planning within the eleven Ecological and Biological Sensitive Areas (EBSAs) of the Mediterranean Sea using an 8-step process designed for moving conservation forward in this particularly complex region.  The proposed process combines tenets of professional urban/regional planning and systematic conservation planning.  As shown with two specific examples, despite some conventional wisdom, there is enough information in the Mediterranean Sea to move forward with ecosystem-based marine spatial management for conservation purposes using the EBSAs as a starting point – and the time is right to do so.

 

148. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. 2013. Sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, in the Mediterranean Sea: a summary of status, threats, and conservation recommendations. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2409  reprint available

Abstract. 1. Sperm whales in the Mediterranean are a genetically distinct population classified as Endangered on the basis of the IUCN Red List criteria. 2. Threats that result in sperm whale direct mortality, such as bycatch in illegal driftnets and collisions with ships, together with the noxious effects of noise, pollution, ingestion of solid debris, disturbance from irresponsible whale watching operations, and possibly prey depletion and climate change, affect the survival of the Mediterranean population and are the cause of an inferred continuing decline. 3. Recommendations to sustain the presence of sperm whales in the Mediterranean in the future include respecting existing fishery, pollution and whale watching regulations, and introducing precautionary noise and maritime traffic regulations in areas characterized by high sperm whale densities, some of which could be considered for MPA designation. Finally, the regular monitoring of sperm whale population ecology, behaviour and mortality at the regional scale, to detect trends and help to understand links between the observed phenomena and their possible cause(s), could help to address other potential threats, such as prey depletion and climate change.

 

149. Notarbartolo di Sciara G. In press. Marine conservation. In: H.D. Smith, J.L. Suarez de Vivero, T.S. Agardy (editors), Handbook of ocean resources and management. Earthscan, London.