The goal of this study is to establish abundance estimates and determine the distribution of the dolphins that are commonly encountered in Hervey Bay. In the past, we have collected data on dolphins opportunistically during our humpback whale research and our data show that three species are commonly encountered in Hervey Bay: the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tusiops aduncus), the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Australian humpback dolphin (Sousa sahulensis). However, little information exists on the abundance of each species, their distribution, or their habitat use. This project aims to determine which species commonly use the bay and how many there are of each.
Learning more about the dolphins in Hervey Bay helps us to better understand the conservation needs of each species. Elsewhere in the world, fisheries interactions, vessel traffic, and ocean pollution are having negative impacts on dolphin populations. Therefore, we plan to establish a long-term project using photo-identification so we can then assess to what degree these human activities may be impacting them. This information would allow us to detect any changes that may be occurring and inform appropriate mitigation measures. Ultimately, our research will inform resource managers on how best to maintain favourable conservation status for these populations.
Dr. Laura Marshall, Centre for Research into Ecological & Environmental Modelling, University of St. Andrews (consulting on survey design)
Aloha, We Are Open! Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures are open for booking as we welcome visitors back to Maui. Quarantine restrictions were lifted on Oct. 15th for those following the state’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements.