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Nikolina Rako Gospić

Nikolina Rako Gospić

PhD in Applied Marine Sciences

About

30
Publications
8,341
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412
Citations
Introduction
My work revolves around underwater acoustics; more precisely focuses on the effects of noise pollution on coastal dolphins’ vocalization and behaviour. I have over 15 years of research experience studying biology and ecology of marine mammals. I have been consulting state agencies on various topics, providing expert opinion and help in developing guidelines to address impact of anthropogenic noise on large marine vertebrates in Croatia.
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Publications

Publications (30)
Article
Recreational boats are a dominant source of underwater noise in coastal areas, but reliable boat noise assessment is generally lacking. Here the Underwater Radiated Noise (URN) of seven recreational and small fishing boats moving at two different speeds was measured in the shallow waters of the Cres-Lošinj Natura 2000 SCI (Croatia). Measurements we...
Article
Full-text available
One of the most studied aspects of animal communication is the acoustic repertoire difference between populations of the same species. While numerous studies have investigated the variability of bottlenose dolphin whistles between populations, very few studies have focused on the signature whistles alone and the factors underlying differentiation o...
Article
Full-text available
Spatio-temporal variability of marine soundscapes reflects environmental dynamics and local habitat health. This study characterizes the coastal soundscape of the Cres-Lošinj Natura 2000 Site of Community Importance, encompassing the non-tourist (11–15 March 2020) and the tourist (26–30 July 2020) season. A total of 240 h of continuous recordings w...
Article
Full-text available
Acoustical geographic variation is common in widely distributed species and it is already described for several taxa, at various scales. In cetaceans, intraspecific variation in acoustic repertoires has been linked to ecological factors, geographical barriers, and social processes. For the common bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ), studies o...
Article
Sounds are particularly important for animals that live in complex social communities. In this study, we assessed the communication calls (whistles) that common bottlenose dolphins emit during their foraging activities in the absence and presence of motor boats and during dolphin depredation on trawlers, in Alghero (Sardinia, Italy) and Cres-Lošinj...
Article
The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) population along the eastern Adriatic coast is believed to comprise discrete communities, yet many of them are unstudied. This study provides the first description of occurrence and demographic parameters for the community inhabiting waters of North Dalmatia. Dedicated boat‐based surveys conducted...
Article
Dolphin watching is growing fast along the Mediterranean coasts, without an equivalent effort for its management. Whale and dolphin watching has been promoted as ecotourism with conservation benefits. However, only a few studies have investigated the potential of these tours to change the awareness of the participants and improve their pro-conserva...
Article
Full-text available
The studies on the variation of acoustic communication in different species have provided insight that genetics, geographic isolation, and adaptation to ecological and social conditions play important roles in the variability of acoustic signals. The dolphin whistles are communication signals that can vary significantly among and within populations...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Northern Adriatic Sea (NAS) represents a transboundary area encompassing three different nations (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) that is characterized by many anthropic activities (maritime traffic, mussel and fish farms, industrial activities and tourist development) but also by high biodiversity and protected areas. This paper reviews the sea a...
Article
1. Previous studies suggest that the common bottlenose dolphin population in the Croatian Adriatic Sea is structured into distinct local communities. However, their home ranges and levels of interaction remain unknown. 2. Dedicated boat-based surveys were conducted seasonally, in three adjacent study sites from 2013 to 2017. Photo-identification da...
Article
Full-text available
Bottlenose dolphin communication has been studied extensively. Nevertheless, the combined effect of several variables on whistle structure has yet to be clearly understood. Here, we investigated the influence of underwater noise, boat presence, behaviour, group size and calf presence on the whistles of a small population of common bottlenose dolphi...
Poster
Full-text available
The common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) bear natural markings which make their dorsal fins unique. This enables individual recognition through photo-identification – a powerful and non-invasive method, utilized in a myriad of studies, but sensitive to changes of natural markings through time. To provide supporting information for photo-...
Chapter
Traveling underwater much faster than in air and covering much greater distances, sound provides an excellent means for rapid information acquisition and exchange. Consequently, sound is used by many marine organisms forcommunication purposes, food location, and for orientation. The frequency of sound affects its propagation capabilities and often...
Article
Whistles are acoustic signals produced by bottlenose dolphins particularly during social interactions. Here, we compare whistle from three Mediterranean areas (Croatia, Sicily and Sardinia) to investigate the presence of acoustic divergence and to discuss the possible causes of variability. Whistle parameters differ significantly between population...
Conference Paper
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), formally adopted by the European Union in July 2008, outlines 11 high level descriptors of Good Environmental Status (GES); descriptor 11 requires "monitoring the introduction of energy, including underwater noise” into the marine environment. A 3-year study monitoring sea ambient noise (SAN) (2007–20...
Poster
Full-text available
In the Cres–Lošinj archipelago (northeast AdriaticSea, Croatia) passive acoustic monitoring was applied to characterize local sea ambient noise (SAN) and assess the relationship between the underwater noise and the acoustic behavior (whistles) of resident bottlenose dolphin groups. Between 2007 and 2009, systematic monthly sampling of SAN was made...
Poster
Full-text available
We studied the biology and ecology of the resident population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the area around Vis Island (~5,500 km2) between 2007 and 2014. Data was collected in the spring and summer using a 6 meter rigid inflatable boat. We obtained 327 sightings and photo‐identified 723 individuals. Abundance of the bottlenose dol...
Article
Full-text available
1. Habitat diversity plays a significant role in shaping the genetic structure of cetacean populations. However, the processes involved in defining the genetic differentiation of these highly mobile marine mammals are still largely unknown. 2. Levels of genetic differentiation and dispersal patterns of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus...
Article
There is a resident common bottlenose dolphin population inhabiting the Kvarnerić area of the northern Adriatic Sea, Croatia. The observed decline in population size between 1995 and 2003 led to the declaration of a part of the Kvarnerić as the Cres-Lošinj Special Marine Reserve (CLSMR) in 2006. Protection lasted 3 years, before lapsing.A boat base...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to provide an objective mapping of the underwater noise and its sources over an Adriatic coastal marine habitat by applying the self-organizing maps (SOM) method. Systematic sampling of sea ambient noise (SAN) was carried out at ten predefined acoustic stations between 2007 and 2009. Analyses of noise levels were performed for 1/3 o...
Article
Full-text available
This study monitors the spatial and temporal variability of sea ambient noise (SAN) in the Cres-Losˇinj archipelago from 2007 to 2009 (north-eastern Adriatic Sea, Croatia). The archipelago is an important marine habitat for many protected species, including the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) that is considered as vulnerable to disturbance...
Article
The Cres-Lošinj archipelago represents an important nursing and feeding ground for the resident Tursiops truncatus (bottlenose dolphin) population. Scientific research on Tursiops truncatus in this area has been conducted since 1987, and the population abundance is currently estimated to be 113 individuals (95% CI = 107–121; SE = 6.967), showing a...
Article
The presence of a solitary striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) was recorded in September 2008 in the harbour of Mali Lošinj, Croatia. This species is considered to be a visitor to the Adriatic Sea, and is even more rarely seen in the northern, shallow part of this region. Whilst the animal was resident in the harbour, photo-identification and b...
Article
The striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) is not a common cetacean species in the northern Adriatic Sea. Its presence is generally related to deeper offshore areas beyond the continental shelf. Despite this fact, the analysis of data collected over the past 5 years indicates unusual site fidelity of a single individual in the relatively shallow V...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Adriatic Dolphin Project is a continuous research project run by the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation. The aim is to provide scientific background on bottlenose dolphins' biology and ecology in order to support initiatives for conservation of their natural habitats in the Adriatic Sea.
Project
Quantifying the signals produced by a species is a fundamental step in the investigation of their functionality, geographical difference, social and cultural transmission.The main objectives of the project are: i) analysis of the geographic variation of common bottlenose dolphin whistles in three Mediterranean areas (South Western Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean and Eastern Mediterranean); ii) assessment of factors (area of distribution, presence of boats, sea noise levels, behavior, group structure) promoting variability in bottlenose dolphin whistles in the Mediterranean Sea.