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As Director of the Coastal-Marine Research Group, my major research interests lie within the field of marine mammal biology, ecology and behaviour. In particular, I have focused research programmes in anthropogenic impacts which affect the marine mammal populations, in particular tourism, fisheries bycatch and pollution. My current research focuses on the welfare-conservation nexus at whale mass strandings. I currently serve on the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Intersessional Steering Group for Strandings. As one of 25 international experts, I advise the IWC Scientific Committee on matters relating to best practice, protocols and welfare at stranding events.
I currently have over 50+ peer reviewed journal articles published in international journals such as Molecular Ecology (IF=5.94), Science of the Total Environment (IF=4.42), PLoS One (IF=4.82), Marine Pollution (IF=2.99) and Marine Ecology Progress Series (IF=2.61). Articles feature ecology and conservation of a range of marine species including mammals, aves and reptiles. The significance of this work to wider marine ecology and conservation studies also underpins my research collaborations with researchers at the Universities of Aberdeen, Lisbon, Azores, Sydney and Melbourne. Additional collaborations are also reflected in the publications of co-authored outputs with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) and the Department of Conservation (DOC). As much of my research has an applied management value, I invest heavily in the dissemination of my research findings via stakeholder (DOC, MPI, Auckland Council), community (Project Jonah) and professional society memberships (Society of Marine Mammalogy, European Cetacean Society, New Zealand Marine Sciences Society). Likewise, public outreach via TV and radio interviews are commonplace for myself and postgraduate research students.
As primary supervisor, I currently oversee 3 PhD and 2 MSc students and have further supervised to successful completion, an additional 4 PhD and 4 MSc students. I believe professional development and mentoring of postgraduate students is a privilege and something I invest heavily in. I remain committed to publishing results with my PhDs and play an active role in the entire publication process. In addition to my research and postgraduate commitments, I teach and coordinate three courses annually (196.225 Introductory Marine Biology, 196.326 Topics in Marine Ecology and 196.327 Marine Mammalogy), while also lecturing into 196.318 Molecular Ecology and supervising a number of postgraduate diploma students in 700 level Special Topics papers.
Marine mammal ecology and biology. Specific research interests in behaviour and anthropogenic activities and their potential effects on delphinid populations including tourism, pollution and fisheries interactions.
Field of research codes
Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Zoology (060800)
Marine Ecology; Marine Mammals; Strandings; Anthropogenic Impacts; Behaviour
Project Title: Rutherford Discovery Fellowship - The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI), innovative technologies and evolutionary theory to address the conservation-welfare nexus during human-wildlife inter
Date Range: 2019 - 2024
Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand