Snap a photo of a dolphin for SCU
IF you see a dolphin, take a photo and you could be helping researchers unlock the mysteries of our local marine friends.
Southern Cross University researchers are calling on people of the Coffs Coast to report any dolphin sightings and, if possible, send photos of the individual dorsal fins as part of the University’s Dolphin Ecology and Acoustic Project.
“One photo can give us so much information and if we have multiple sightings that really helps us build up a valuable database of information,” lead researcher Dr Liz Hawkins said.
Dr Hawkins, who has has been monitoring dolphins in the North Coast region for more than seven years, said very little was known about many of the dolphin populations that live along the North Coast.
However a new online community Dolphin Sighting Network to monitor dolphin behaviour from Coffs Harbour to the Gold Coast hopes to change all of that.
The information provided by members of the public will be particularly valuable for assessing the habitat use and abundance, as well as the health of dolphin populations.
Anyone in the community can become a certified Dolphin Sighting Network member by attending one of the workshops being planned up and down the coast.
The first workshop session will be held at the Byron Bay Community Centre, SCU room, on Friday May 21.
“The workshops will be presented by researchers and provide an overview of dolphin ecology, behaviour and communication and provide tips on how to distinguish individual dolphins,” Dr Hawkins said.
As part of the Dolphin Ecology and Acoustics Project, members of the community, businesses and schools can also participate in the ‘Adopt-a-dolphin’ program.