Bordered by the bustling cities of South East Queensland and the beautiful Moreton Bay, North Stradbroke Island and Bay Islands, Moreton Bay is home to a diverse array of marine life, including multiple species of coastal and oceanic dolphins. Similar to other areas in Australia, the local populations of dolphins in Queensland are considered to be vulnerable to decline or localised extinction because of small population sizes, low population growth rates, high site fidelity and geographic isolation.
Two species of dolphins, the Australian humpback dolphin (Sousa sahulensis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) inhabit Moreton Bay all year round. These species are the focus of our long-term Moreton Bay Research Project, particularly the humpback dolphin which has been classified as Near Threatened and a species of high priority. Assessing the trends in abundance and ecology of dolphin populations requires long-term research projects to determine the health and risks associated with threatening processes.
The objectives of the research are to;
1 Assess and monitor the abundance and trends of coastal dolphin populations in the Moreton Bay Marine Park;
2 Examine the health of the coastal dolphin populations;
3 Examine the use of habitat areas over space and time to identify critical areas;
4 Establish a baseline acoustic catalogue of communicative sounds used by coastal dolphins in Moreton Bay;
5 Investigate the social systems and stability of communicative systems of coastal dolphins in Moreton Bay Marine Park overtime;
6 Determine the threats to coastal dolphins over space and time to provide important information to be used in conservation and management plans.
Great to see this important research happening right here on our doorstep! Can’t wait to hear updates along the journey.
Fantastic work. Look forward to hearing more about this research!!