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CEBEL Dolphin Research on the North West Cape

Posted on 29 May 2013

  • Nick Middleton
  • AIMS,

For the winter months (May to October) of 2013 and 2014 researchers from the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL) at Flinders University (South Australia) will be undertaking research on the Australian humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) around the inshore waters of the North West Cape (NWC). The project aims to provide baseline information on the ecology and social structure of humpback dolphins around the NWC to improve the scientific basis for their conservation and management. To achieve this aim, the specific objectives of this project are to:

1. Estimate humpback dolphin abundance, residency and site fidelity across the study area.

2. Determine humpback dolphin habitat use patterns through species distribution modelling.

3. Investigate social structure of humpback dolphins around the NWC.

The research is being conducted in collaboration with the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU) and is supported by the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, with funding from Australian Marine Mammal Centre Grants Scheme.

Field work is being undertaken by PhD candidate Tim Huntunder the supervision of Dr. Guido J. Parra(CEBEL) and Dr. Lars Bejder (MUCRU). Tim is keen to engage with local tourism operators, businesses, conservation and community groups on how they can aid their research by reporting dolphin sightings. Further information on this will be provided at a public workshop in June 2013 but in the meantime interested people can contact Tim (who is currently in Exmouth) via email - tim.hunt@flinders.edu.au