Coastal - Marine Research Group

NEW ZEALAND COMMON DOLPHIN PROJECT

Based under the Coastal-Marine Research Group, the New Zealand Common Dolphin Project (NZCDP) began in 2002. The study originally focused on the occurrence, demographics and behavioural ecology of common dolphins in Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Using boat-based surveys, environmental and behavioural data were collected to describe habitat use and activity budgets of common dolphins within the Bay of Plenty and Hauraki Gulf waters. Potential impacts associated with tourism, pollution and fisheries bycatch have also been examined. Since its inception, the NZCDP has expanded to incorporate taxonomy, life history and acoustics. The biology of New Zealand common dolphins is currently under investigation via the post-mortem examination of carcasses stranded or commercially by-caught within New Zealand waters. Currently, fine scale surveys are being conducted to undertake density and population estimates using photo-identification. Further research is planned for common dolphins found around other regions of the New Zealand coast.