News & Media releases

Research into the Dolphins of the Peel-Harvey Estuary

Some exciting new research into Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins in teh Peel-Harvey Estuary and adjacent coastal waters. 

Niche partitioning among social clusters of a resident estuarine apex predator (Prepared by Dr Krista Nicholson)

This study identified intra-population resource partitioning according to social structure in a resident estuarine dolphin population. The heterogeneity in space use and diet among social clusters may result in individuals being susceptible to different pressures and threats. The dolphins’ foraging behavior and trophic interactions identified them as an apex predator in the Peel-Harvey Estuary, with their collective minimum annual food intake (~ 200,000 kg) exceeding the annual fish biomass removed by commercial fishers. As top predators in the system, dolphins may suppress prey populations through consumption and as agents of intimidation by changing prey distribution and behavior. This study provides scientific basis for recognizing dolphins as an important component of the Peel-Harvey Estuary ecosystem.