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Every fin is different says dolphin-watching student Stefanie

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

  • A bottlenose dolphin frolicking off the Cornish coastline. Hannah Jones, Marine Discovery.

  • Bottlenose dolphins. Pic: Hannah Jones, Marine Discovery.

  • Bottlenose dolphins. Pic: Hannah Jones, Marine Discovery.

  • Stefanie Krafft has been looking at dolphin fin identification.

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A MARINE science student in Cornwall says dolphin fins are as individual as human faces after being inundated with pictures of the creatures as part of her research.

Stefanie Krafft, who is studying for a foundation degree at Falmouth Marine School, has been looking at fin identification as part of her dissertation.

Working with Penzance-based sea safari tour operator Marine Discovery, she has already made strides in looking at the distribution and behaviour of the majestic mammals.

But thanks to numerous images she has been sent of bottlenose dolphins frolicking around the Cornish coast, she has been able to collect an impressive amount of data helping to identify them.

Stefanie said she was excited to be working with Marine Discovery: "They provide me with data on where sightings have occurred so I can plot them on a geographic information system map which will help plan trips for sightings and assist with the identification of hotspots for behaviour."

She said help from organisations such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Newquay Atlantic Divers had been very useful: "The support from industry has been phenomenal. I have received hundreds of images of dolphins from around the Cornwall coast for the second part of my project which is fin identification.

"Dolphin fins are like human faces, unique to that individual. I will be producing a catalogue of these for future data collection."

Hannah Jones, from Marine Discovery said: "The work she is doing is something that we have been trying to find the time to do for a long while but with a business to run this can be very difficult.

"Stefanie will produce detailed maps of behaviour hotspots such as feeding areas which will help us to plan our trips."

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