PhD Candidate - ResearcherResearch Interests
I am a population ecologist particularly interested in understanding spatial and temporal patterns in abundance and distribution of coastal dolphins. My current research focus is on the distribution limits of coastal dolphins and how to best conduct assessments on populations that do not have clear or identified boundaries.
I am originally from Helsinki, Finland. My passion for nature conservation, particularly in the marine environment, forced me out of Finland, the land of the lakes. I moved to Aberdeen Scotland where I completed a B.Sc. in Zoology and earnt an Honours degree in Marine Biology from the University of Aberdeen. I then moved to Perth Australia where I furthered my education at Murdoch University earning a research M.Sc. studying the legendary dolphins of western Shark Bay.
I am reviewing Australian legislation and policy framework for protection and management of coastal dolphins. I will evaluate whether there is a need for a dedicated piece of legislation, or an amendment to the current legislation, which would require the government to identify stocks for marine mammals, specifically coastal dolphins, in Australian waters. I am attempting an assessment of dolphins occupying estuarine and coastal waters in Mandurah, Western Australia. This assessment is based on a framework by the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act 1972 and incorporates principles found in both primary literature and government reports. The main components are to define management boundaries for the local dolphin population and to provide abundance estimates for this defined stock. While I provide baseline data for management, the greater challenge is to attack the problem of how to best collect and analyse data to reflect the truth of coastal dolphin populations and ultimately help prioritise research and management goals to ensure conservation of coastal dolphins.
March 2015 – present: Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science, Murdoch University, Australia.
Murdoch University Strategic Scholarship.
2010 – 2012 M.Sc. in Marine Science, Murdoch University, Australia
Thesis: “Abundance, demographics and social organisation of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Western Australia”
2004 – 2008 B.Sc. (Honours) in Marine Biology, University of Aberdeen, UK
Thesis: “A comparison of two data processing methods and their effect on GAM model outcomes when studying cetacean habitat preferences”.
Rankin RW, Nicholson K, Allen SJ, Krützen M, Bejder L, Pollock KH. 2016. A full-capture Hierarchical Bayesian model of Pollock’s Closed Robust Design and application to dolphins. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:25. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00025
Nicholson, K, Bejder L, Allen SJ, Krützen M, Pollock KH. 2012. Abundance, survival and temporary emigration of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) off Useless Loop in the western gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 63:1059-1068 doi: 10.1071/MF12210
Nicholson K, Krützen M, Allen SJ, Pollock KH. 2015. Estimating the proportion of unmarked individuals in delphinid populations. 21st Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, San Francisco, USA
Hodgson A, Maire F, Kniest E, Nicholson K. 2015. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to survey marine mammals: customised image processing solutions for animal detection and mapping. 21st Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, San Francisco, USA
Nicholson K, Pollock KH, Krützen M, Allen SJ, Kopps A, Bejder L. 2013. Temporal stability of associations in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) population in the western gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. 20th Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, New Zealand
Nicholson K, Pollock KH, Krützen M, Allen SJ, Bejder L. 2011. Satisfying model assumptions for capture-recapture estimates of bottlenose-dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the western gulf of Shark Bay, Australia. 19th Biennial conference of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, Tampa, USA
Nicholson K, Pollock KH, Krützen M, Allen SJ, Bejder L. 2010. Abundance of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in the western gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) conference, Australia
Nicholson K, Bejder L. 2016. Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin in Whales, Dolphins, & Porpoises Ed. A. Berta. University of Chicago Press.
2012 – 2016: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Teaching Assistant, GIS in Environmental Science
(2nd semester – Three to nine hours a week and marking)
Oct 2014: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Research Assistant, Aerial Observer, Aerial survey for dugongs in
2014 – 2015: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Research Assistant, Image review for marine megafauna from photographs obtained from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Jan – Apr 2013: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Research Associate, Fieldwork Team Leader, South West Marine Research Program
May – Aug 2013: Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Fieldwork Team Leader, Dolphin Innovation Project in Shark Bay, Australia.
Mar 2012: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, Duke University, North Carolina, USA
Research Assistant (computer operator for theodolite tracking), SAPPHIRE project, Hawaii, USA
Sept 2011: Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Research Assistant (theodolite operator), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to surveys marine mammals Field trial, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia.
Cetacean Research Unit
Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch WA 6250