The Sphyrna Odyssey 2019 mission, supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Monaco Explorations, ACCOBAMS with the Italian Ministry of the Environment, and by many other operational partners (see page “Partners”), highlights operates two Sphyrna naval surface drones, otherwise known as Autonomous Laboratory Ships. It is part of the Sphyrna Odyssey Campaigns initiated by Sea Proven, the journal Marine & Oceans, the University of Toulon, and Lemer Pax. It is placed under the scientific direction of Pr. Hervé Glotin of the University of Toulon / CNRS, a world-renowned specialist in underwater bioacoustics. This oceanographic mission which takes place between the end of September 2019 and the end of March 2020, in particular in the Pelagos cetacean sanctuary, in the western Mediterranean, has for main objective the listening and the follow-up of the populations of large-diving cetaceans but also the collection of a large amount of data from the various sensors onboard drones. The Sphyrna Odyssey mission does not aim to approach cetaceans but on the contrary to follow them from a distance in order to listen to them, and therefore study them, without ever disturbing them. She is part of the code of conduct of the Pelagos Sanctuary in which she conducts a large part of her research. The Pelagos Sanctuary is a maritime space of 87,500 km2 covered by an agreement between Italy, Monaco, and France for the protection of marine mammals (www.sanctuaire-pelagos.org).
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