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Salvatore Cerchio

Director of African Cetaceans

Salvatore Cerchio is a marine mammal biologist who has worked in multiple disciplines on free ranging populations of cetaceans around the world for over 30 years. He is a PI with AACF and the director of the AACF’s African Cetacean Program, including the Omura’s Whale Project. Salvatore completed his MSc in Marine Science at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan.

Salvatore has conducted research around the globe on several species of cetaceans, applying expertise in population status assessment, bioacoustics, molecular ecology and behavioral ecology. Since 2004 Salvatore has worked primarily in the Western Indian Ocean, focusing his field work off Madagascar. In 2013, his team made the remarkable discovery of a population of Omura’s whales off northwest Madagascar, representing the first population of this newly discovered species of baleen whale to be studied globally. His recent and current work includes: investigating the biology and conservation status of the Omura’s whale, off northwest Madagascar; assessing diversity, distribution and status of cetaceans, particularly migratory baleen whales, using passive acoustic monitoring in the Mozambique Channel and the Southwest Indian Ocean; passive acoustic assessment of endangered Arabian Sea humpback whales and blue whales off the coast of Oman; mitigating the impact of artisanal hunting of coastal dolphins on the west coast of Madagascar; and investigating the abundance, population structure and mixing of humpback whales in the Southwest Indian Ocean. Salvatore’s past work includes the passive acoustic assessment of cetacean diversity off Angola; investigating the impact of anthropogenic noise (particularly seismic surveys) on baleen whales; assessing male reproductive success and the mating system of humpback whales off the Pacific coast of Mexico; and studying the singing behavior and population abundance of Hawaiian humpback whales. Salvatore is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group, a long term Invited Participant of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, and co-chair of IndoCet, the Indian Ocean Network for Cetacean Research.

Salvatore Cerchio, Director of African Cetaceans - African Aquatic Conservation Fund

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