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NTU student presents undergraduate dissertation at the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) Symposium 2021

BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology graduate Luana Clementino De Sa, recently presented her undergraduate dissertation titled ‘An investigation into the use of signature whistles in the local subpopulation of shorted beaked common dolphins (Delphinus Delphi’s) in the Eastern Aegean sea, Greece’, at the EAAM Symposium 2021.

Luana Clementino
Luana presenting at the EAAM Symposium 2021

The EAAM’s membership includes veterinarians, biologists, zoo and marine park directors and managers, trainers and caretakers, researchers, students and other persons who devote a significant amount of time to the in-situ and ex-situ welfare and conservation of marine mammals through research, medical care, training, education, conservation, management and related activities.

The EAAM Symposium is an annual three-day event to share information about science, advancements in management and veterinary care, and other progress that will help marine mammal professionals around the world. The Symposium counts with the participation of International Key Speakers and is a blend of round tables, scientific sessions, oral presentations, and due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year, a new format of video presentations. We spoke to Luana to find out more.

“I knew about the EAAM for a while and knew they had a call for abstracts every year. I had heard from colleagues and lecturers that it is a very student friendly conference, so it seemed like the best place to start.”

“For my dissertation, I looked at the use of signature whistles by common dolphins (Delphinus Delphis) in Greece. I have always been very passionate about whales and dolphins and throughout my undergraduate degree, I developed more specific interests, one of them being the way in which they communicate”, Luana told us.

“During my placement year at Archipelagos Institute for Marine Conservation, where I worked as part of the Marine Mammal Team, I had the opportunity to focus my research on bioacoustics and was able to collect data to use in my dissertation. I decided to focus on signature whistles, as it was a relatively new field of research for common dolphins.”

The Symposium was due to take place in March 2020, but was later re-scheduled to an online conference in March 2021 following covid-19 restrictions.

“I personally believe that sharing our work is key to allow progress in science, and this was my first goal from this presentation. We found interesting results with this study and I thought they should be shared with people from the field”, Luana went on to say.

Student working on boat
Luana conducting research in the Eastern Aegean sea, Greece

“Another great benefit from attending conferences is the amount of people you meet - this helps building my network. Not only with people that have similar interests, but also with professionals from different backgrounds, which is equally important. It is a great opportunity to get different perspectives on our work, share opinions and get advice. In addition, it means that now more people are aware of the outcomes of this study and can apply them in different settings”, Luana explained.

“I also like challenges, and I knew that by attending this conference I would be out of my comfort zone. This gave me the motivation to work very hard to achieve a personal goal to get my work out there and helped me with developing my skills in communicating my work effectively.”

“Professionally, having the opportunity to present our work gives us extremely good experience as science communicators, and I have learned so much in these three days by listening to so many great presentations from other amazing researchers and professionals.”

“Myself and my supervisors will continue to work on this project in the future – a special thanks to Dr Adele Lloyd for being an outstanding supervisor, I am incredibly grateful for your support. I also intend to keep attending the EAAM Conference in future years and listen to more incredible talks, and who knows maybe present more projects that I have the chance to get involved in!”

NTU student presents undergraduate dissertation at the European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM) Symposium 2021

Published on 24 March 2021
  • Subject area: Animal, equine and wildlife
  • Category: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
  • Location: Brackenhurst Campus

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