Stage 1 of the SWMRP comprised three research projects covering several elements of dolphin biology and ecology, and the ecosystem that that supports them. The overall aim was to assess the long-term viability of the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) population in Bunbury, by building an understanding of their biology, abundance, gene flow with other geographic areas, and interactions with the environment and food resources.
Stage 1 of the SWMRP had three components:
- Dolphin abundance and ranging patterns
- Dolphin diet and foraging ecology
- Dolphin population genetics
Population abundance and ranging patterns formed the PhD project of Holly Raudino (nee Smith), while dolphin prey and foraging ecology is the PhD project of Shannon McCluskey. The dolphin population genetics project is a collaboration between Murdoch University and the University of New South Wales, the latter represented by PhD student Claire Daniel, Dr. Oliver Manlik and Prof. William Sherwin.
Publications associated with Stage 1
- Manlik, O., McDonlad, J.A. Mann, J., Raudino, H.C., Bejder, L., Krützen, K., Connor, R.R., Heithaus, M.R., Lacy, R.C. and Sherwin, W.B. (2016). The relative importance of reproduction and survival for the conservation of two dolphin populations. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2130
- McCluskey, S.M., Bejder, L. and Loneragan, N.R. (2016). Dolphin Prey Availability and Calorific Value in an Estuarine and Coastal Environment. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:30. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00030
- Smith, H.C., Frere, C., Kobryn, H. and Bejder, L. (2016). Dolphin sociality, distribution and calving as important behavioural patterns informing management. Animal Conservation. doi: 10.1111/acv.12263
- Smith H.C., Pollock K.H., Waples K., Bradley, S. and Bejder, L. (2013). Use of the Robust Design to Estimate Seasonal Abundance and Demographic Parameters of a Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) Population. PLoS ONE 8:e76574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.
The above Research Bulletins provide plain-English summaries of research conducted during Stage 1 of the SWMRP. Left: Research lead by Holly Raudino, which shows how year-round monitoring revealed seasonal sensitivities in dolphin behaviour, resulting in a legislated no-go zone within Koombana Bay (pdf here). Right: Research lead by Shannon McCluskey, revealing seasonal variability in the biomass and energy density of potential dolphin prey species in Bunbury waters (pdf here).
- Smith, H.C. (2012). Population dynamics and habitat use of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), Bunbury, Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University. (Supervisors: Lars Bejder, Kenneth Pollock, Halina Kobryn, Kelly Waples, Stuart Bradley).
Blogs associated with Stage 1
- Hot of the press: dolphin prey availability and calorific value
- Publication alert: Dolphin sociality, distribution and calving as important behavioural patterns informing management
- Holly Smith is finalising her PhD research findings
Stage 1 partners