We support a range of research both on board the Dolphin Explorer and through data sharing. During our company history, we have established a long-term marine mammal sightings database which contributes to the Department of Conservation’s National Sightings Database. This includes environmental and behavioural data. As we have been collecting this data since 2000, it is of significant value to be able to understand inter-annual changes as well as overall changes in the ecosystem over time.
We also collect data on other aspects of the marine environment including other megafauna (seabirds, sharks…) as well as the microfauna (plankton).
Alongside our own data collection, our vessel is a ‘platform of opportunity’ for researchers from different institutions to collect valuable data for their studies.
Current Onboard Projects
- Dr Rochelle Constantine & Emma Carroll (University of Auckland) – Determining microplastic ingestion through Bryde’s whale scat sample analysis
- The Secchi Disk Study - a global citizen science project that collects data based on water clarity which indicates the presence of plankton in the water.
- Eye On Water - a global citizen science project collecting data on water colour for detection of changes in water quality.
University of Auckland
Dr Rochelle Constantine and her team at the Marine Mammal Ecology Group not only study marine mammals but also other megafauna including sharks and seabirds.
We have facilitated in data collection of their studies for the entirety of the company’s history which has led to a great ongoing working relationship.
Studies of note that we have assisted with include the first ever abundance estimate of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf.
All PDFs of the studies we have been involved with along with their other work can be found HERE.
Dr Karen Stockin and her team at the Coastal-Marine Research Group also study a variety of marine life in the Hauraki Gulf and have been using the Dolphin Explorer as a platform of opportunity for many years. Their specific strengths are marine mammal biology and ecology.
Studies of note that we have assisted with include the first ever abundance estimate of common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf.
The undergraduate Marine Ecology students also partake in an annual Marine Mammalogy field trip onboard.
All PDFs of the studies we have been involved with along with their other work can be HERE.
AUT (Auckland University of Technology)
Dr Michael Lück and his team at the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute have been working with us for 10 years to establish the importance of education in marine tourism.