The Cetacean Sanctuary Research (CSR), established in 1990, is a long-term project focused on the monitoring of all ecological aspects of the cetacean species living in the Ligurian Sea (North-Western Mediterranean Sea). The main aim of the project is to produce scientific knowledge to support the conservation of marine mammals.
Studies and monitoring, conducted in the Pelagos Sanctuary for over 31 years (1990-2020), generated the longest time series and one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans.
The CSR Project focuses on population dynamics, spatial distribution, habitat preferences, ecology behaviour, bioacoustics and on the evaluation of long-term environmental changes and monitoring of anthropogenic pressures affecting the area.
In order to provide a scientific basis for management recommendations to policy makers, the research is also focused on the potential impact of human activities on cetacean populations in the Sanctuary area. The aim is to provide a basic understanding of these complex interactions, also taking into account the variability of both environmental and anthropogenic factors over a three decades time period.
The studies conducted in the 90’s showed that this area is the most important habitat for cetaceans in the Mediterranean, given its high species diversity and its intense biological activity. This evidence led the Institute to play an active role in the creation of the “Pelagos Sanctuary of Mediterranean marine mammals”.