Julian A. Tyne PhD

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Julian A. Tyne

My research has focused on understanding the population ecology, behavioural ecology and the effects of anthropogenic impacts on coastal marine mammals to aid in conservation and management efforts. I am particularly interested in how wildlife behaviours are influenced by ecological characteristics and how behavioural disturbance from non-consumptive human activities affect wildlife populations. For my PhD and to inform management decisions for the conservation of the Hawaii Island spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) population, I estimated the abundance and survival rates, measured the effectiveness of different sampling scenarios to detect trends in abundance, identified areas important to resting spinner dolphins and measured the cumulative exposure of the spinner dolphins to human activities. (Click here for my thesis). I have previously investigated how the relationship between ecological characteristics influenced the density and distribution of sponge-carrying bottlenose dolphins in The Western Gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. In addition I have assisted on a number of projects involving Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, humpback whales, turtles and penguins.

In collaboration with Dave Johnston (Duke University Marine Lab, North Carolina) and David Lusseau (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) my aims where to collect baseline data on the local abundance, distribution and behaviour of spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) using a suite of modern visual and acoustic techniques in four resting bays along the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island. These data will then be used to investigate the effects of human interactions on the spinner dolphins and assess the effectiveness of time area closures as a mitigation approach.

Shark Bay, Western Australia
Tool use in cetaceans has only been documented in one population – the bottlenose dolphin population in Shark Bay, WA. It is believed some of these dolphins use marine sponges as a protective glove for their rostra when they probe for prey in the substrate. All “spongers” are maternally related – they share the same mitochondrial DNA, which is transmitted only through the female line. MUCRU members are collaborating with Dr. Michael Krützen (University of Zürich) and Assoc. Prof. William Sherwin (University of New South Wales) to discern whether tool-use is a genetic trait, governed by ecological factors or transmitted culturally (through social learning by offspring from their mothers). My research explores the possible correlations between locations of the sponge-carrying dolphins and the density and distribution of marine sponges along transect lines in the western gulf of Shark Bay.

2010 onwards: PhD candidate, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.
Dissertation Title: Quantifying the effects of human interactions on spinner dolphins in resting bays in Hawaii, and assessing the effectiveness of time area closures as a proposed mitigation approach. Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship.

2008: Murdoch University Bachelor of Science, First class Honours (Major in Marine Science, Minor in Marine Biology).
Thesis Title: Does sponge distribution lead to sponging behaviour by bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay? Supervisors: Dr Lars Bejder, Murdoch University; Prof Neil Loneragan, Murdoch University

Peer Reviewed



  • Tyne, J.A., Loneragan, N.R., Johnston, D.W., Pollock, K.H., Williams, R. and Bejder, L. (2016). Evaluating monitoring methods for cetaceans. Biological Conservation. 201:252-260
  • Heenehan, H., Tyne, J.A., Bejder, L, Van Parijs, S.M., and Johnston, D.W. (2016). Passive acoustic monitoring of coastally associated Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) ground trothed through visual surveys. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 140:206-215
  • Heenehan, H.L., Johnston, D.W., Van Parijs, S.M., Bejder, L. and Tyne, J.A. (2016). Acoustic response of Hawaiian spinner dolphins to human disturbance. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 27, 010001. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/2.0000232
  • Sprogis, K., Pollock, K.H., Raudino, H.R., Allen, S.J., Kopps, A.M., Manlik, O., Tyne, J.A. and Bejder, L. 2016. Sex-specific patterns in abundance, temporary emigration and survival of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in coastal and estuarine waters. Frontiers in Marine Science. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00012




  • Thorne, L. H., Johnston, D.J., Urban, D.L., Tyne, J., Bejder, L., Baird, R.W., Yin, S., Rickards, S.H., Deakos, M., Mobley, J.R. Jr., Pack, A.A. and, Chapla-Hill, M. (2012) Predictive modeling of spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) resting habitat in the main Hawaiian Islands. PLoS ONE.  7(8): e43167. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043167


Employment History

Department of Environment and Conservation, Marine Science Program: Research Scientist (Marine Monitoring) 2009

Marine and Freshwater Research Laboratory: Infauna sorting 2006

Voluntary Work

Ningaloo Turtle Program: Monitoring and identifying turtle nests

Marine and Freshwater Research Laboratory: Seagrass Rehabilitation

Department of Fisheries: Abalone Research Assistant

Aquarium of Western Australia: Curatorial Volunteer

Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA)
The Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia
Shark Research Institute
Society for Marine Mammalogy

PhD Candidate
Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU)
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch University
South Street, Murdoch, 6150
Western Australia
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