Holly Smith is finalizing here PhD research findings.
From 2007-2009, Holly researched the bottlenose dolphin population around Bunbury. The primary goal of her research was to examine the status of the dolphin population to assist with long- term conservation and management.
To collect her data, Holly drove the research boat along predetermined transect routes and took photographs of dorsal fins from each dolphin that she encountered. Dorsal fins are individually recognisable because of their unique markings (nicks and notches). This allows each dolphin to be tracked over time.
Potential threats to dolphins include: Coastal development, Water pollution, Entanglement
Holly’s PhD Research Objectives
With unique photos of the dorsal fins (much like a fingerprint identification), Holly constructed a sighting history for each identifiable dolphin. This data allowed Holly to:
- Calculate accurate abundance estimates and determine how many dolphins are in the Bunbury population.
- Describe group composition, including each animal’s sex and age.
- Investigate associations and interactions between dolphins.
- Determine seasonal residency and extent of home ranges.
- Identify benthic habitat types available to Bunbury dolphins.