The long-term project is one of only a handful in the country that aims to provide valuable insight into the wild lives of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) and other dolphin species, including the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) that frequent the area.
The research to date has provided some baseline information on the local population of bottlenose dolphins and identified resident communities, the core and critical habitats of these communities and their communication systems. In addition, the research has focused on human-dolphin encounters in the Bay and provided valuable insight into the ongoing sustainability of these interactions.
The objectives of this study are:
• Investigate the fine-scale population structure, abundance and trends
• Identify resident communities within the region and examine the stability of social and communication systems
• Determine basic life-history characteristics, fecundity and birthing success
• Identify areas of critical importance to resident, visiting and transient dolphins and monitor temporal and spatial use
• Investigate the sympatric associations between coastal species and environmental parameters influencing habitat and resource partitioning
• Assess & monitor the effects of short & long term human activities and environmental health on coastal dolphins