Dolphin Research Project

Understanding how dolphins as marine top predators use their habitat along South Africa's Southern Cape coastline and the role of marine protected areas in supporting their conservation.

Led by Alejandra Vargas (DVM), this doctoral research aims to better understand how dolphins as marine top predators use their habitat along South Africa’s Southern Cape coastline. It looks at ecology, populations, genetics and the role of existing marine protected areas (MPAs) in terms of whether particular cetaceans are of conservation concern and require some form of management intervention. The multi-year project is being led through the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (Branch Oceans & Coasts) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Zoology Department) and involves a number of local and regional collaborating organizations. A complete informational brochure can be downloaded here.

Research outreach is channelled through ConserBio – an international initiative that supports nature conservation and environmental awareness through scientific research and outreach education.

Listen below to sounds made by whales and dolphins as recorded by research hydrophones deployed as part of marine mammal acoustic monitoring along the Garden Route, South Africa:

O Alejandra Vargas Fonseca DVM, MSc
ConserBio Co-director, South Africa
ale@earthcollective.net
Lead institutions: SA Department of Environmental Affairs (Branch Oceans & Coasts) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Zoology Department).
Collaborating organizations: Bateleurs; Cape Nature; Centre for Dolphin Studies; DenRon; Enrico’s Fishing Charters; Garden Route Gliding; Ocean Odyssey; Offshore Adventures; ORCA; Pro Dive Plettenberg Bay; and South African National Parks. Sponsorship: ORCA Foundation; Rufford Foundation; and the Society for Marine Mammology.