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  • Meg

Dolphin Acoustics

Hi, I’m Meg and I am the coordinator of the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking Project. As someone who has always been deeply passionate about the ocean and its inhabitants, I founded Falmouth Marine Conservation Group in 2016 with the goal of raising awareness and promoting conservation efforts to protect and preserve our marine environments.


Image: © Lewis Gillingham madebylewis.com

In addition to my volunteer work with Falmouth Marine Conservation Group, I also work as a marine scientist, coordinating the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking Project (CATT) along the South Coast. Skippering a traditional gaff rig sailing boat, working closely with the local marine conservation groups and stakeholders as well as organising the deployments of the CATT network. The Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking project is a collaborative effort to monitor long-term population trends in cetaceans along the South Coast. Cetaceans are a diverse group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. These animals play important roles in the health and balance of marine ecosystems, and it is vital that we work to protect and conserve them. To achieve this goal, the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking project has deployed a network of F-pod acoustic devices along the south coast of the UK, from Sussex to the Isle of Scilly. The F-pods, which were generously donated by Chelonia, monitors the presence and activity of dolphins, porpoises, and other toothed whales by the detection within the FPOD app of the trains of echolocation clicks that they make. By analysing the data collected by the F-pods, researchers can gain a better understanding of cetacean populations and how they are changing over time. The F-pods have been donated and linked to local marine groups to promote local engagement and education.


Image: © Lewis Gillingham madebylewis.com

Falmouth Marine Conservation group deployed an F-pod in the waters of Falmouth in Summer 2022 with the support of Falmouth Harbour and Research Development UK. The Maximum detection range for porpoises is approximately 400 metres and Dolphins may be detected at >1 km. The Marine group will be retrieving data from this device every 4 months to then be analysed. The Marine group members will be trained on how to analyse the data as well as work with students and researchers at The University of Exeter.


In addition to the F-pods, the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking project is also utilising visual sightings from local marine groups to monitor cetaceans on the south coast of the UK. We will be working with our Falmouth Marine Group SeaQuest coordinators who conduct monthly marine watches at Pendennis point surveying for Cetaceans and seals. This comprehensive approach allows us to get a more complete picture of cetacean populations and the factors that may be impacting them. The Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking Project is a collaborative effort involving a range of partners, including Chelonia, The Wildlife Trust, marine groups, and Exeter and Plymouth Universities. If you are interested in learning more about the Cetacean Acoustic Trend Tracking Project, or if you would like to get involved, please contact us.

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