Scientists on quest for harbour porpoises

Wind direction determines route

Harbour porpoises are in the spotlight!

Dr Corinna Hoffmann and Alexander Holtz are very hopeful about spotting them during their 100-day Expedition OstSeeTiere in the Baltic Sea. They had set off on May 2nd, a day later than planned due to the strong north-easterly wind.

Dr Hoffmann worked as a parental representation in the museum pedagogy at OZEANEUM in Stralsund. During this time, the idea for this expedition materialised. At the same time, she felt that it could also draw attention to the OstSeeTiere app developed at the German Oceanographic Museum.

This app allows sightings and strandings of marine mammals, such as porpoises, cone seals and seals, in the Baltic Sea to be reported easily and conveniently using a smartphone or tablet. It also helps to promote the museum and OZEANEUM to the public.

During their 100-day mission, the biologist and the skilled chimneysweeper are exploring the Baltic Sea on their eight-metre boat Vacuna, searching for picturesque landscapes and cultural peculiarities, focusing particularly on the eastern marine animals in the sea and along the coast. Their route is not fixed - the wind direction will determine their next stop.

Places like Stockholm, Helsinki, Riga, Gdansk, St Petersburg and Kaliningrad are on the list. The islands of Bornholm and Gotland, as well as the archipelago, are also part of this journey through all the countries bordering the Baltic Sea. Most of all, the scientists hope to see harbour porpoises. As the only domestic whale in the Baltic Sea, they live in the central Baltic Sea. They are endangered, with only about 500 animals left in the world. In addition to harbour porpoises, the scientists are also on the lookout for other marine animals.

Diving equipment is available on board for them to explore the underwater world. In this expedition, the camera is as equally important as the microscope – a weekly expedition report on the latest updates is being posted here.