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3-year Beaked Whale Study
Funders and Collaborators
Taking photo-id shots
Whale specimens
Hydrophones
 
 
 
Observing a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins
Documenting a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins.

Our research is based on the use of systematic boat-based surveys for describing the distribution and habitat use of different marine mammal species. We employ photo-identification techniques for the recognition of individual whales and dolphins, and we have developed new statistical approaches for using these data to determine abundance estimates and occupancy patterns. This photographic sampling is complemented by the collection of skin and faecal samples for molecular genetic analysis, and we have developed a novel technique for the successful amplification of marine mammal DNA from faeces.

These genetic techniques are being used to assess levels of genetic diversity and investigate the structuring of marine mammal populations. Detailed observations, both vessel-based and shore-based, are made on behaviours, habitat use, and social interactions to better understand the ecology of marine mammal species sighted.

Research Objectives

General Objective: Examining coastal Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population ecology.

  • To determine abundance estimates for bottlenose dolphins on Little Bahama Bank.

  • To understand the ecology of bottlenose dolphins around Abaco Island.

  • To address the conservation needs of bottlenose dolphins in the area.

General Objective: Assessing the ecology of Blainville's beaked whales.

  • To assess the habitat preferences of Blainville's beaked whales around Abaco Island.

  • To understand the occupancy patterns of Blainville's beaked whales around Abaco Island.

  • To identify the biological parameters of Blainville's beaked whales around Abaco.

  • To examine the molecular genetics of Blainville's beaked whales around Abaco Island.

General Objective: Understanding sperm whale occurrence around Abaco Island.

  • To understand sperm whale distribution around Abaco.

  • To determine abundance estimates for sperm whales in South Abaco.

  • To contribute to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sperm Whale Catalogue.

  • To contribute to a worldwide stock assessment study of this endangered species (conducted by the SW Fisheries Center, La Jolla, CA, USA).

General Objective: Documenting marine mammal occurrence and distribution in The Bahamas.

  • To contribute to the understanding of the marine biodiversity of The Bahamas.

  • To understand species' occurrence and distribution.

  • To identify the conservation concerns and potential threats to marine mammals in The Bahamas.

BMMRO annual reports to the Department of Fisheries:
Fisheries Report 2012
Fisheries Report 2011
Fisheries Report 2010
Fisheries Report 2009
Fisheries Report 2008
Fisheries Report 2007
Fisheries Report 2006
Fisheries Report 2005
Fisheries Report 2004

The BMMRO research dataset showing survey effort can be seen at:
OBIS SEAMAP

Blubber Sample



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