The Slovenia Times

Science and fun at new dolphin centre

Environment & NatureScience & Education

Dolphins have always attracted attention with their playfulness and intelligence, and they are the subject of intense scientific research. Now, there is a whole centre dedicated to the marine mammals on the Slovenian coast.

Morigenos, the Slovenian marine mammal association, has launched a dolphin centre in Piran to raise awareness of these aquatic mammals and the role science plays in preserving the marine world.

The Dolphin Education and Research Centre is a new milestone in the research of and education on sea mammals in Slovenia for the association, which hopes it will provide a space for people to learn about their work and research.

"By educating and raising public awareness about dolphins and their conservation, we are protecting the entire marine ecosystem. Dolphins are bioindicators, which means that their presence can help us assess the state of the entire marine ecosystem," according to the head of the project, Krista Lokar.

The centre features an interactive exhibition with interesting facts about the life of dolphins and a more detailed presentation of Morigenos's research work.

Visitors are able to use an interactive application to get a real feel of dolphin research as well as visit a sound room where recordings of the sea, vessels and dolphin calls serve as a reminder of the importance of sound in the marine environment.

The centre features a realistic, life-size statue of a common bottlenose dolphin, one of the first identified and most commonly spotted dolphin species in Slovenia.

For the past 20 years, Morigenos has been studying the biology, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of dolphins in the Gulf of Trieste, making several important scientific breakthroughs in the process.

For example, they were the first in the world to prove that dolphins can be identified by their facial features, according to the association's founder and president Tilen Genov.

Despite the important research that has put dolphins living in Slovenian waters on the map of global science on marine mammals, Morigenos had so far not had rooms to connect with the general public. This has now finally changed.

Morigenos is an organisation that largely consists of volunteers who monitor and study dolphins in Slovenian and surrounding waters. For the past 20 years, their research has been contributing to the understanding and protection of dolphins and the conservation of marine ecosystems.

The centre opens for the public on 21 June.


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