Oh, the Mediterranean Sea, one of the busiest bodies of water in the world. Between cargo vessels, expensive yachts, and cruise ships, it’s hard to imagine there being enough room for megafauna to live. You’re not totally wrong if you feel that way, as the Mediterranean Sea’s cetaceans aren’t doing that well. However, this sea’s whales and dolphins have allies by their side doing incredibly hard work to understand their ecology, the threats they are facing, and finding ways to make their lives easier.
To teach us about cetaceans in this famous sea, today we are sitting down with Aylin Akkaya, PhD, Director of Marine Mammals Research Association (DMAD), Marine Mammal Consultant of WWF-Turkey, and Research Director of Montenegro Dolphin Research (MDR). Aylin knew from an early age that she wanted to be a biologist when she grew up, and spent her university years traveling across the globe studying animal behavior and ecology. After stints in Australia, Asia, and Africa, she returned to Turkey to pursue a PhD studying dolphins in the highly-trafficked Instanbul Strait. During grad school, she realized she discovered a gaping hole in science and decided to fill it by launching her NGO, DMAD – Marine Mammals Research Association. Since its launch, Aylin and her team have recorded over 7 years of whale and dolphin sightings and behaviors in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and are starting to show the world what cetaceans are experiencing in this part of the world.
Aylin and I have a fantastic time discussing:
- Her love for nature as a childhood
- Stories about her research abroad
- Everything cetaceans are facing in the eastern Mediterranean Sea
- What it’s been like for her as the first Turkish woman biologist pursuing this work
- How we can help save and protect cetaceans while visiting the Mediterranean Sea
- and her hopes for the future.
Alright, everyone. Please enjoy this educational and personal conversation with Aylin.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Aylin in the Field
Links & Resources
DMAD – Marine Mammals Research Association
Other Resources Mentioned in the Show
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