Health check for Hawaii's dolphins May 26, 2010 Are dolphins affected by human activities at the popular holiday destination of Hawaii? This is the question Murdoch University PhD candidate Julian Tyne hopes to answer through his research into the Hawaiian spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) as part of his Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship. The project to collect baseline data on the numbers, locations and behaviour of local spinner dolphins at Hawaii's big island will be funded over the next three to four years by the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Marine Mammal Commission. Mr Tyne will work in collaboration with Dave Johnston (Duke University Marine Lab, North Carolina) and David Lusseau (University of Aberdeen, Scotland). Mr Tyne’s supervisor, Dr Lars Bejder, said emergent research showed that cetacean-based tourism – boat-based and swim-with – can cause biologically significant impacts on targeted dolphin communities. “In Hawaii, the dolphin-based tourism industry has grown rapidly in the past two decades,” said Dr Bejder, Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit’s research leader. “Limited quantitative data is currently available to assess potentially biological significant impacts of tourism activities on targeted animals. “Hawaiian spinner dolphins have predictable daily movement patterns, foraging offshore at night and returning to inshore sheltered bays to rest during daytime – this set movement pattern may render them particularly vulnerable to disturbance because of their reliance on a limited area of sheltered waters to rest, socialise and avoid predators.” Mr Tyne will use a suite of modern visual and acoustic techniques in four resting bays in Hawaii to collect data that will be used to investigate the effects of human interactions on the dolphins and assess the effectiveness of closing some bays at set times as a mitigation approach. Dr Bejder has led similar research projects in Western Australia, including a Shark Bay monitoring project which resulted in legislative changes to enable the local dolphin population’s conservation. Similar monitoring projects are currently underway in Bunbury and Binningup. > For further information on the Hawaiian spinner dolphin. Print This Post Media contact: Jo Manning Tel: (08) 9360 2474 | Mobile: 0408 201 309 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Categories: General, Teaching and Learning, Research, International, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology Research Tags: australian postgraduate award, conservation, dolphins, hawaii, julian tyne, lars bejder, murdoch university cetacean research unit, tourism, usa Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!