Hi! My name is Ms. Thompson. I am a third grade teacher at the Collegiate School in New York. Join me as I study bottlenose dolphins in the waters of Greece!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Visit Kalamos

We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, however it was quite windy. The sea state appeared to be around level 3. We all boarded the Zodiac and began our search for dolphins. Once we were away from the mooring it was obvious that it was going to be a very rough ride. Imagine what it feels like to ride a horse on top of the ocean. That is what it was like for me. I had to hold on tight as the boat galloped across the gulf. Unfortunately, because of how rough the water was we could not detect any dolphins, even though I am certain they were there. We were only out for about one hour before Joan decided we should return to shore. I asked him what the sea state was and he told me that the level had reached a maximum of 6 during our journey. Dolphin sightings are difficult in any condition above level four.

Since we could not look for dolphins we returned to the research center and watched a short documentary and Joan gave a presentation about cetaceans. I learned that there are two main groups of cetaceans. One is called misticetes and the other is odontocetes. Whales are in the misticetes group and dolphins are in the odontocetes group. What do you think is the main difference between the two groups?

After lunch we took a ride to the Kalamos research sight. It is located in the Ionian Sea. Joan's collegue Giovanni Bearzi use to research a population of common dolphins that lived in the area. As a result of overfishing it is now rare to see one of these dolphins, where as little as ten years ago, you could stand on the shores and be certain that a dolphin would appear. Overfishing of sardines in this area is the cause of the disappearance of these dolphins.

One reason why overfishing has become such a problem is improvements in technology. Ways of catching fish are now quite advanced and the fish really do not stand a chance. Can you describe at least one technique fisherman use today that enables them to catch very large quantities of fish? How does this affect the ecosystem?

During our outing Joan showed us a fish farm in the Ionian Sea. Fish are caught when they are very young and placed in cages. When they are large enough they are sold commercially. How does this contribute to overfishing? Dolphins are often seen around fish farms because they like to steal the fish from the cages. It is kind of like a self serve restaurant for them.

Finally we came home and enjoyed the delicious dinner that Cas and Marie-Claire made for us. Each night two people are responsible for cooking a dish that is representative of their homeland. I was in charge of last night's menu. Guess what I cooked.

Weather reports are predicting nice weather tomorrow. We are going to bed optimistic. Hopefully I will get to take some dolphin pictures to share with everyone.


At April 20, 2010 at 5:53 PM , Anonymous John Lu said...

How are the dolphins able to grab up the fish if the fish can't get out? Maybe I didn't catch it, but since dolphins just come to the fish farms, were you looking for them nearby the farms?

At April 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM , Anonymous Emily said...

I love that photo of you, Nic. This has been such a great experience for us here at home, so I can only imagine how special it is for you. Miss you loads!
P.S. Whatever you cooked I hope you slathered it in lots of wasabi mustard. :)

At April 20, 2010 at 9:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to guess what you cooked! Could it be burgers? lasagne? or tomato and mozarello salad? I am loving your photos and all of your information. You are making your students really think! Mrs. Hutchinson

At April 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you made hamburgers and pickles! Love your updates. I did not know about the fish farms. At first I thought that seemed like a good idea because the fish would be protected. But guess not!! Can't wait to read how today goes! Hopefully I'll be home before you!! Ms. Bocchetti

At April 21, 2010 at 11:21 AM , Anonymous 3Z said...

Okay, so 3Z has a lot to say about your post, Mrs. Thompson. First, we think the difference between misticetes and odontocetes cetaceans is that the odontocetes group has teeth, but the misticetes don't.

Our idea about the fish farm is it takes away the dolphins' food supply.

As for what you cooked, 3Z boys had these guesses:
french fries

Can't wait for your next post!

At April 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM , Blogger Nicole T. said...


Dolphins get the fish from the fish farms by by using their teeth to bite through the cages which are made of nets. When we were near the fish farm we were looking for dolphins, but we do not only look for dolphins near the farms. We are investigating many areas in Amvrakikos Gulf.

At April 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM , Blogger Nicole T. said...

Thanks Em! I love reading your comments and I am so impressed with 3Z. I do miss you guys very much, but I am loving being here. It has been amazing. See you soon.

At April 21, 2010 at 1:27 PM , Blogger Nicole T. said...


Right again! If the misticetes don't have teeth what do you think they have instead?
The fish farms do take away the dolphins' food. I cooked cheeseburgers with french fries. It was good. Everybody enjoyed it and they all said it was much better than McDonalds.

At April 21, 2010 at 5:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mrs. Thompson,

We took a stab at answering some of your questions, too! Take a look at our posts and let us know what you think!



At April 22, 2010 at 9:30 AM , Blogger Margaret said...

Hi Miss Thompson,
Happy Earth Day!
We are 2P library and we want to know how many times have you had rough seas?
We think the biggest difference between whales and dolphins is size.


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