Workshops programme

Bottlenose Dolphins in Maltese Waters - BICREF

Workshops available on Saturday and Sunday - 21st & 22nd March 2015

Click HERE for the list of workshops and refer below for description of each

Click HERE to download the ECS Workshop Programmes 2015



Contact the workshop organizer for any further details


Saturday Workshops  - 21st March 2015

1.   FULL DAY:   New mitigation methods and evolving acoustic exposure guidelines.      21st March 2015   Download Programme: HERE

      Workshop Organizer Contacts: Andrew Wright <marinebrit(at)>;   Patrick Lyne <plyne1(at)> 

This workshop is offered by the MMOA and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. The purpose of the workshop is to cover changes in technology and recently developed methods, and to look at current methods used in mitigation with a view to improving or enhancing marine mammal mitigation guidelines in New Zealand and elsewhere.  The workshop will be structured around two sessions; the first session will concentrate on novel technologies used in mitigation, while the second will discuss mitigation guidelines for seismic surveys and other activities and the roles these new technologies may play in them.  Experts will present on a variety of topics including sound measurement, multi-beam, thermal imaging, acoustic deterrents, PAM and the use of streamers for PAM systems, acoustic exposure guidelines and soft start procedures. The workshop will end with a discussion which will consider how these methods may be used to improve mitigation, how they may be implemented and lastly guideline improvements. 

We recognise that we will not be aware of all emerging technologies and new data on mitigation effectiveness. We therefore welcome the submission of posters on relevant topics for discussion during the breaks and in the free-flowing session at the end of the day.

If you wish to present a poster at this workshop, please contact Frances Robertson: frances.c.robertson(at) 
There will be a nominal fee for this workshop that we expect to be €25 or less, but this has yet to be confirmed.


2.  FULL DAY: Workshop on "Communicating marine mammal science to students and the general public"   21st March 2015  

     Workshop Organizer contact: Volker Smit <cetaceos(at)>

    Download programmeHERE  

     The aims of the workshop are to:

  • share information about sources related to education,
  • exchange ideas and knowledge in new science teaching tools,
  • exchange experience in addressing the media, 
  • foster general networking with all stakeholders,
  • exchange about the outreach of education and
  • support ECS to address educational questions.

After the workshops at the ECS in Setubal in 2013 and Liège in 2014 we want to continue to share educational and outreaching experiences of communicating marine mammal science to schools and to the general public. These experiences can be educational programs that support school curricula, pedagogical outreach materials such as books, videos, kits, activities and exhibitions.  From the last workshop in Liège we know that many educators lack knowledge in fields like economics, social sciences and marketing. Here we want to give some input by inviting speakers of such fields. As in recent years we will focus on the theme of the conference: "Marine Mammal Conservation - from Local to Global". The workshop is open to researchers, educators, science teachers, students and to the media.


3.  FULL DAY:  ECS 2015 student workshop: Careers beyond academics    21st March 2015  From 10:00-16:00      Download Programme: HERE

     Workshop Organizer Contact:   Inger van den Bosch   <ecs.students(at)>

Admission for this workshop is free.

This years European Cetacean Society student workshop will be about careers beyond academics. After a university or college education options on proceeding in a career regarding marine mammals might seem limited. During this workshop the students will be provided with a broad perspective of other options. In the morning, topics such as international agreements, NGO's, Environmental services, conservation techniques, public awareness and social media will be covered by professionals from the corresponding fields of expertise. 

In the afternoon, students can choose between two parallel sessions:
Session A: This session will be on R. In this session both the basics of how to work R, as well as more in depth problem solving will be covered. For this workshop student will be required to bring their own laptops with the appropriate software (software can be downloaded for free). 
Session B: In the other parallel session a case will be worked out on which students can work together and develop their marine conservation skills and knowledge. More details on this second session option will be updates as soon as possible.

If you would like to participate in this workshop please sign up by sending an email to: ecs.students(at)   Also indicate which afternoon session you would be attending (A or B). 


4.  FULL DAY:  Strengthening the cooperation for a better cetacean conservation in the ACCOBAMS area: Working Together with Common Tools  

                       21st March 2015   Download Programme: HERE

     Workshop Organiser Contact:   Maylis Salivas <msalivas(at)>


  • Highlight the importance of a comprehensive action in the cetacean conservation:
  • Launch the first cetaceans conservation network in the ACCOBAMS area
  • Facilitate exchanges and collaboration between all stakeholders in cetacean conservation
  • Train relevant stakeholders on a common tool: Intercet Web-GIS application on photo identification

With this workshop, we would like to launch the first network in cetology for the ACCOBAMS area (Mediterranean, Black Sea and Atlantic adjacent area). The objective is to facilitate the information data flow and dynamic exchange of knowledge and experiences between all experts involved in cetacean conservation (scientists, NGOs, students,…).
This initiative came from a real need expressed by ACCOBAMS Parties during the regional workshops on ACCOBAMS Strategy in 2012. In this context, and after consultation with ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee and ACCOBAMS Partners, we decided to propose a dynamic internet tool allowing: 
(i) the consultation of studies and actions with contacts referents (everybody can ask to add studies or activities), 
(ii) concrete exchanges through a discussions’ forum, a blog. 
All topics about the conservation of cetaceans can be filed (research, threats, stranding etc.). This tool aims at facilitating collaborations between all actors in cetacean conservation, especially between experts from North Countries and experts South Mediterranean Countries, but also between experts within a same sub-region.  
Another tool will be demonstrated during the worksop: the Intercet database.
Intercet is a photo ID Web-GIS application thought to support aggregation, visualization and integrated analysis of data coming from various institutions engaged in cetacean research. About 100 potential data contributors at Mediterranean level were identified during the last ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee. A training of different experts involved in the cetacean conservation, on the Intercet use, is the first step of a sustainable implementation of this important tool that promotes data sharing on a common basis.
The final objective of the workshop is the implementation and the use of common and relevant tools for the conservation of cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS area.


5.  HALF DAY : ECS Rescue Workshop      2015, March 21st – PM   Download Programme: HERE

     The workshop will be a series of presentations followed by discussion.   All are welcome and there will be no charge for participation.

       Workshop Organizer Contact:  Mark Simmonds:  mark.simmonds(at)

Proposals for presentations are still welcomed.

Provisional agenda.
Key note presenter: David Mattila, Convener, Global entanglement response network
Secretariat, International Whaling Commission:
Whale entanglement and disentanglement:  - a global overview. 
(This will include consideration of the latest best practice, misconceptions about rescue, causes and remedies of entanglement and an explanation of how training can be requested.)

Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator International Fund for Animal Welfare:
A comparison of single versus mass cetacean rescues. 

Stephen Marsh/Alan Knight OBE – British Divers Marine Life Rescue: 
1. New method of catching seals in Nuclear power stations
2. Recent efforts to stop the mass stranding of Pilot whales in Essex – herding using boats

Brian Sharp, IFAW: 
‘Seal flushing’ – the effects of disturbance by recreational and wildlife-watching vessels.

Mark Simmonds OBE, Senior Marine Scientist, Humane Society International: 
The development of improved rescue collaboration across Europe.

Other issues that will be discussed will include updates on work on seal disentanglement and euthanasia approaches. 


Sunday Workshops - 22nd March 2015

1.  FULL DAY: Marine mammals pathology: update of the necropsy protocol on dissection techniques and tissue sampling  22nd March 2015 

     THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL!        Download Programme: HERE

      Workshop organisers contactThierry Jauniaux <t.jauniaux(at)> ; Lonneke Ijsseldijk <l.l.ijsseldijk(at)> and others.

AIM: The protocol used during necropsies of (small) cetaceans is the tissue sampling and necropsy protocol written in 1991 by Thijs Kuiken and Manuel Garcia Hartmann. Increasing knowledge and experiences on this topic makes it necessary to update the protocol including also considerations for pinnipeds and large cetaceans, together with international experts of this field of research. 

To increase knowledge on distribution and population biology, and to identify main lesions and threats of marine mammals, scientists started to record information on stranded carcasses many years ago. Pathological examination is an important part of this, as diseases play a role in population dynamics. Stranding and mortality data can be used as an indicator for populations. Marine mammals are protected in many intergovernmental organisations and agreements which encourage using stranding and mortality patterns for conservation measures. Such species are considered as bio-indicator for toxicology. In addition, emerging and potentially zoonotic pathogens are frequently isolated and identified. Then, systematic necropsies using a similar protocol are essential to compare data at the European level.

Post-mortem investigation on (small) cetaceans are conducted according to the protocol of Kuiken & Hartmann composed in 1991. In 1994, an extra section was added dedicated to external features and interpretation of these. Cetaceans are frequently reported suffering from all kinds of external trauma. It is vital to understand the causes of mutilations and mortality, including those which are human-related. In recent years, we gained more experience and knowledge in tracing the causes of these mutilations, and new causes (i.e. predator attacks) came to light. 

The necropsy protocol needs to be re-evaluate and needs to be updated according to today’s knowledge and also include considerations for large cetaceans and pinnipeds. The goal of this workshop is to bring together experts in port-mortem research on marine mammals to share their knowledge and preliminary results. A special issue of the European Cetacean Society Newsletter will be proposed as a publication similar to “Marine Mammals Ashore; a field guide for stranding”, (Geraci and Lounsbury, second edition, 2002), including more specifically different European aspects (law, species, strandingnetworks,…) with the prospective to improve the use of post mortem data related with international European agreements priorities.


2.   FULL DAY:  Euroseal II   22nd March 2015   -    CANCELLED

      Workshop Organizer Contact: Patrick Pomeroy <pp6(at)>

3.  HALF DAY:  Developing professional ethics guidelines for European cetacean researchers   22nd March 2016 AM  Download Programme: HERE

     Workshop Organizer Contact:  ECM Parsons <ecm-parsons(at)>  

Many professional societies have developed professional ethical guidelines, such as the Society for Conservation Biology, the Society for Wetland Scientists and recently the Society for Marine Mammalogy. However, situations have arisen in the European cetacean research field that are unique to the region and field; for example, issues affected by European national laws, customs or traditions.  This workshop aims to produce a specific set of ethical guidelines that deals with, and provides professional practice advice and guidance for, European scientists in the cetacean research field. These guidelines would reference:

  • Research conduct
  • The intersect with politics and policy 
  • Dealing with the media 
  • Publication ethics
  • Working in other (developing) countries
  • Respecting indigenous cultures
  • Fund-raising and ethics
  • Competition and bullying
  • Equality issues (gender, sexual orientation and minorities)
  • Inappropriate behavior (e.g., sexual harassment )
  • Environmental impact of research
  • Animal welfare

The workshop will start with a short introduction to the field of professional ethics, with examples of appropriate literature and hypothetical case studies. 
The workshop will then split into focus groups to discuss specific issues and ethical concerns, followed by one or more discussion sessions.

Proposed output: A set of proposed guidelines and short report for the ECS council 


4.  HALF DAY:  Current developments in North Atlantic humpback whale research    22nd March 2015  AM    Download Programme: HERE


     Workshop Organizer Contact:   Frederick Wenzel <Frederick.Wenzel(at)>

AIM:   Workshop which includes working papers, oral presentations and posters on what are Current developments on eastern North Atlantic humpbacks.  Time will be set aside to explore and discuss gaps in data and research.  Goal is to gather information for future publications which would provide a better understanding of eastern North Atlantic humpbacks.

Gather the experts on No. Atlantic humpback whale research, whose collections of photo-identification catalogues; genetic samples and analysis, satellite tagging, etc…which provides a snapshot of local, regional and Northeast Atlantic humpback research.  
This session would be a collaboration of working papers, oral presentations, posters, and ideas on what are “Current developments” in eastern North Atlantic humpback whale research.  This session allows the participants to present preliminary data/findings, proposed research, and future research and discuss ways to improve our understanding of data gaps and required follow-up research.  The goal is to gain a better understanding of the dynamics and overlap of eastern North Atlantic humpbacks.
Expected Output:  
This session would generate publications on the latest findings of the eastern North Atlantic humpbacks population.  We would expect to promote and publish research on migratory movements; population genetic stock structure, population mark-recapture estimates, extending from Northern Norway to the Cape Verde Islands to the eastern Caribbean. 


5. HALF DAY: Procedures for the analysis of European marine mammal datasets from standardised transect surveys aboard dedicated research platforms   

    22nd March 2015 PM     Download Programme: HERE

    Workshop Organizer Contact:  Rachel Davies <Rachel.davies(at)>;  <Lucy.babey(at)>

AIM: To explore and review the analytical methodologies, techniques and tools used by organisations conducting fixed-transect surveys aboard maritime traffic platforms.

The aim of this workshop, organised by the European Cetacean Monitoring Coalition (ECMC), one of Europe’s largest partnership of ferry surveying organisations, is to explore the analytical methodologies and tools used by organisations conducting dedicated, fixed-transect surveys aboard maritime traffic platforms (ferries, whale watching boats, fisheries vessels etc), as well as techniques used and accepted for monitoring other taxa. This will be achieved through a combination of case studies presented by invited speakers using new approaches and guided discussion of appropriate techniques and addressing potential data biases when reporting on such metrics as changes in group size, occupancy rates, relative and observed abundance. 

Outcomes of the workshop include increased understanding and a review of analytical procedures for outputs that meet these metrics for reporting on species favourable conservation status. This therefore has direct implications to reporting and policy demands for marine mammal monitoring (e.g. EU Habitats Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive).