Conserving Through Research
Dolphin Research Season Ends with A Splash!
During August-September 2013, the Dolphin Research Australia field team were out in Byron Bay observing the dolphin and whale populations. The project is a long-term monitoring program that seeks to understand the ecology and structure of local Byron Bay dolphin populations. The season was full of excitement which lots of dolphin action coinciding with the bait ball migration. Lots of whale action as well with humpbacks, southern rights and minkes keeping the team busy. We even tracked a great white shark in the shallows of Cape Byron – the first we’ve seen that close into sure since the research began in 2003. A special thanks to the Dolphin Research Team once again for making this season a special one!!
In September 2012 a young female bottlenose dolphin became trapped in Sussex Inlet on the south coast of New South Wales. Unable to return to the open ocean to rejoin her pod she became very tame and began interacting with people. The dolphin became so tame that she was ultimately at great risk of injury or at some point injuring someone else. A decision was made to capture and return her to the open ocean and Dolphin Research Australia was there to help. Watch the video about this is the story and the journey to set the young dolphin free.
Boaters and swimmers are being reminded to give dolphins space as the summer calving period begins. Although calving can occur all year round, Dr. Liz Hawkins from Dolphin Research Australia says this time of year we see a peak in the number of new calves born in and around Byron Bay, New South Wales. Mothers and calves are highly vulnerable to human disturbance and can experience high levels of stress from such encounters.
Boaters (which include kayakers and surfers) are reminded to stick to the Australia dolphin watching regulations; no approach distance = 50m for vessels (non calf groups), 150m (for calf groups).
The two weeks of our summer dolphin research field season in Byron Bay begun with some great observations – new born dolphins learning to surf with their mothers, sharks feeding off Tallows Beach and even marlin jumping close to Cape Byron. We’ve been hampered this week by ex-cyclone Oswald which has brought high seas, rain, floods and wind, consequently cancelling our field seasons. This next week is looking better and we’ll be back out observing dolphins from the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
The next dolphin research field season in Byron Bay, Australia, has just been announced!! The project is one of Dolphin Research Australia’s long term projects which is exploring aspects of dolphin ecology & the impacts of human activities. Each year, the volunteer research team carry out observations of dolphins from the Cape Byron Lighthouse for four week periods. The next dolphin research field season will be from 15th July to 21st August 2012. Anyone interested in being part of the dolphin volunteer research team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re now Dolphin Research Australia!
Our successes over the last few years have led to some exciting changes!! The evolution has led us to change our name to Dolphin Research Australia (formerly Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project). These changes are exciting, so stay tuned for some big developments over the next year!!!
The Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project team have been busy in the field in South East Queensland. This season has had some great weather and the team of sighted Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, common dolphins and of course, bottlenose dolphins. The last few surveys have seen a number of newborn common dolphins in groups resting off the Tweed/Kirra Beaches and also off the Southport Seaway. It has been very interesting for the team to study these species which are still a big mystery. There’s also been a couple of very special encounters with the migrating humpback whales that have greeted the research vessel during the surveys. The research team will be out in the field until October 2011 in South East Queensland and are hoping to see some more of the resident bottlenose which haven’t yet been sighted again this season in Moreton Bay.
Our Winter 2011 dolphin research season in Byron Bay has just begun. Our field team are rugged up and ready for this exciting season. With a quiet start on Sunday and some cold rain on Monday, today was a great sunny day with lots of dolphins feeding and milling around Cape Byron. This season will also welcome the humpback whales as they commence their annual migration north to the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. We are hoping for some great weather to continue the dolphin season and learn more about our local dolphins of Byron Bay.
Our Gold Coast Dolphin Project is in its 3rd week and is making some great progress. Weather hasn’t been the greatest in past weeks, however we have still made many sightings and identifications of dolphins AND just yesterday spotted our very first Sousa (humpback dolphin)!!! Liz managed to sneak a quick dorsal fin shot in before he made a run for the coast.
This week the weather has been kind to us allowing us to venture offshore where we have discovered to what looks like the majority of Gold Coast resident bottlenose dolphins. On Friday we also came across a large group of common dolphins that just wanted to interact and bow ride with the boat giving us some entertainment. We also now have some great underwater footage of both the common and the bottlenose dolphins.
We have come across a huge array of different wildlife on our travels including a lace monitor swimming through a very busy channel near Tipplers on South Stradbroke Island, several Agile wallabies snack foraging and 2 feeding dugongs up in Caniapa Channel off North Stradbroke Island.
All this and it’s only the start of the dolphin field season in the Gold Coast, Australia! Stay tuned for more updates as they come!!
Don’t forget people the Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project is still looking for an intern for the Gold coast Project from January 16th until the end of February 2011. If you are interested please contact us at email@example.com
We have 6 beautiful and very special dolphins that are available for adoption with all funds raised helping to conserve and protect Australia’s dolphin populations. Each dolphin has it’s own special characteristics and are part of the wild Byron Bay resident population. A dolphin adoption is a unique gift for a loved one who can learn more about each dolphin with the researchers. All dolphin guardians will receive an exclusive gift pack only available to those who adopt-a-dolphin. Follow the links and find out how you can give a gift that keeps on giving : About Adolphin-A-Dolphin
The DEAP team has been awarded a $71,000 national competitive grant from the Australian Marine Mammal Centre to study dolphins in the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads region.
The grant will fund research that will investigate the abundance and habitat preferences of coastal dolphins from Jumpinpin near South Stradbroke Island to the Tweed river mouth.
Dr Liz Hawkins said the research was the first of its kind in the region.
“Very little is known about the dolphin populations on the Gold Coast and Tweed, yet it’s a region of particular interest because the animals are living in a diverse environment,” said Dr Hawkins.
“The research will gather data on how many dolphins there are and where they are, so we can build up a better picture of their habitat preferences and behaviour in the area.
“As well as bottlenosed dolphins, we are particularly interested in the threatened indo-pacific humpback dolphin because the Gold Coast is the southern limit of the known range of this tropical and sub-tropical species.
The researchers, who will begin the first of many boat surveys at the start of the summer, will collect photos of dorsal fins to enable individual dolphins to be identified and their movements and behaviour recorded.
It is hoped the community will play an essential role in the research by reporting dolphin sightings and sending photos capturing dolphin dorsal fins to help build up a database of information. Anyone can report sightings of dolphins via our Dolphin Sighting Network.
The Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project Winter 2010 field season has now come to an end. We had some great weather along the way, with some of the clearest visibility we’ve seen all year. Lots of dolphins as always and also lots of feeding with lots of prey species migrating along the coast. We were also blessed with many humpback whales who the dolphins would often associate with and travel along side as the whales headed north to their winter breeding and birthing grounds. Thanks to all the volunteers who are now recovering from the chilly days up the top of the Cape Byron Lighthouse and kayak surveys! The next dolphin project field season is scheduled for summer 2011.
Our winter 2010 field season in Byron Bay is just about to begin. The season will go for three weeks from Monday 14th June to Monday 5th July. We are now recruiting volunteers and interns who would like to be part of this season. We usually have great weather this time of year and there’s pleanty to see with lots of dolphins passing through and whales as well! If you are interested in partipating, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project autumn2010 season has now come to a close. It was another successful series of data collection. Each day we had some great dolphin action with lots of surfing and socialising. We were blessed with some great weather and got some good kayaking surveys in. We also saw the first of the humpback whales go past and also a rare sighting of a Bryde’s whale! On our final day of observations, we saw over 150 dolphins go past Cape Byron during the morning. It was a great way to end the season! Thanks to our amazing autumn 2010 volunteer crew, we sure couldn’t have done it without you!
Have you ever wanted to learn about dolphins and how you can help to conserve them? Then join the DEAP Dolphin Sighting Network. The Network encourages members of the community to report their dolphin sightings. A single sighting can be very useful for researchers. You can become a certified member of the Dolphin Sighting Network by attending one of our workshops. The workshop is a course in dolphin ecology, dolphin watching and how you can gather valuable sighting information for researchers. Our first workshop is scheduled for Byron Bay 21st May 2010. To find out more information and book your spot, please go to our Dolphin Sighting Network page. Stay posted for dates of our next workshop at the Gold Coast!!
On Saturday 24th April, we began our Autumn 2010 field season. Beautiful warm sunny weather greeted us as well as the dolphins. The research kayak had a great encounter with a group off Watego’s Beach. The team captured some big leaps and a newborn bottlenose dolphin calf. We are looking forward to the rest of the season!
We’re busy getting ready for the next Dolphin Ecology & Acoustic Project’s research field season in Byron Bay. The Autumn research season is set to begin 24th April 2010 to 10th May 2010. For two weeks we will once again be on the water and up the top of the Cape Byron Lighthouse logging the behaviour of the dolphins. We are currently calling for interested volunteers who can commit some time for these two weeks and help us with our dolphin research. E-mail us for more information at email@example.com
Our Very Own Research Vessel!
Thanks to our sponsors, the Cape Byron Marine Park Authority, GoSea Kayaks and Bunyips Outdoor camping store we now have our very own research vessel… A Hobie Odyssey kayak! After a little getting used too, and a few man overboard incidents, we now have the capacity to paddle out into the bay anytime and collect valuable data on the bottlenose dolphins around Cape Byron in their natural environment.
SUMMER SEASON 2010
Our summer field work has just come to an end. With the help of our fantastic volunteer team, it has been a month of fun, sun, rain, wind and good data. Our team collected GPS tracking data from atop of the Cape Byron Lighthouse as well as photographs, video and acoustic recordings from the boat and kayak. There was a lot of action in the water most days, and some great footage and data were collected over the four weeks of the season.
We had some amazing days out in the bay, which were made even more amazing by the fact that summer is peak calving season, and there were baby dolphins everywhere! We also saw many of the resident bottlenose dolphins and met many more. One day we saw close to 200 dolphins. Our photo-id catalogue is now up to 502 individual dolphins!
Towards the end of the season we were confronted by some big swells and storms on the tail end of a cyclone up north. The dolphins didn’t seem to mind though, as they were surfing the big 3m swell. We were happy to be sitting up at the Lighthouse watching…
Thanks to everyone who helped out and to the dolphins for making it so such a great season! Gallery >