My feature story for National Geographic Georgia, illustrated with Viktor Lyagushkin’s photography, about the Black Sea dolphins and dedicated scientists. During the work on the material I was deeply impressed with Professor Natia Kopaliani from Elias University in Tbilisi, who heads the program for studying and counting marine mammals of the Black Sea. There are only seven people in her group, but they manage with a huge amount of work: this includes counting dolphins and analysis of tissues of dead sea mammals for dangerous viruses and genetic analysis, assessing the diet of dolphins based on fish otoliths found in their stomachs, a lot of samples and so on. And finally, accurate and literate work with the obtained data, which then builds the most interesting scientific publications.
The work of the group made such an impression on me that I changed my original idea to devote an article to Black Sea dwellers only, shifting the emphasis to the work of scientists.