Strandings of cetaceans and sea turtles
Strandings of cetaceans and sea turtles in the Alboran Sea and Strait of Gibraltar: a long–term glimpse at the north coast (Spain) and the south coast (Morocco).
A total of 13 species of cetaceans and three species of marine turtles were found in this study. Data were collected by eight independent and self–regulated stranding networks, providing information about 1,198 marine mammal (10 odontocetii, three mysticetii and one phocidae) and 574 sea turtle stranding events between 1991 and 2008. Trends in the strandings were analysed in relation to species composition and abundance, and their geographic and seasonal distribution. The most abundant species recorded were the striped dolphin and the loggerhead turtle. Some of the strandings, such as the humpback whale, harbour porpoise, hooded seal and olive ridley turtle, were considered ’rare’ because their distribution did not match the pattern of the study. When the north and south coasts in the study area were compared, pilot whales stranded more frequently in the north, while delphinid species stranded more in the south coast, and loggerhead turtles stranded more frequently in the north while leatherback turtles stranded more in south coast.