Fieldwork to Monitor Porpoise Population on the Gower


"It was once said that Swansea was named after this small mammal (Swine sea). They were affectionately known as puffing pigs and Swansea Bay was reputedly full of them. Sadly their numbers are declining but research such as that carried out by UWTSD staff and students helps build a clearer picture of the health of our seas"

Dr Rhian Jenkins   School of Architecture, Built & Natural Environments

Fieldwork to Monitor Porpoise Population on the Gower

The Harbour porpoise is the most frequently sighted cetacean around the Welsh coast. Essentially a small dolphin, they can be seen throughout the year close to shore around Swansea Bay and Gower.

Sadly this species is at risk from boat collisions, entanglement in fishing gear, attacks from bottlenose dolphins and loss of habitat. As a result their numbers are declining and therefore it is imperative we monitor the local population. Staff and students have been researching porpoise behaviour and distribution for the past 13 years.

This research has also led to several additional projects considering the potential impacts of marine renewable technologies on marine mammals. Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is one such project. Consultation during the initial stages of the planning process focused on utilising baseline data collected by the University while attempting to assess potential impacts that such a development might have on marine mammals in the vicinity.

Ultimately, determining potential conflict between marine mammals and marine renewable energy devices will be fundamental to the development of these industries in Welsh and UK waters.