Sea birds and other megafauna

By June 5th, 2018

By: Chad King

As I have blogged about previously, one of the projects being undertaken on board the RV Investigator is the collection of data on the distribution and abundance of seabirds to the south of Wilson’s Promontory in Bass Strait. Now upwards of 5 days of data have been collected by lead researcher Dr Eric Woehler and I felt now was a good time to give you an update.

We have now sighted 32 different named taxa over this time accumulating to over 3100 individual bird and mammal counts. To add to our already sighted species such as common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, various albatross, gannets, shearwaters and terns, we have now also seen penguins, silver gulls, fur seals, humpback whales and giant petrels. The most interesting part of our survey to date has been what we believe to be a sighting of the recently identified Burranan Dolphin (subject to confirmation). This relatively new species of dolphin is a local species endemic to the Eastern Bass Strait and Gippsland region that was first identified in 2011. The estimated number of this new species is believed to total only 150-200 dolphins and we have observed them in the same spot each day swimming around and feeding with the fur seals.

The survey for seabirds and marine mammals continues unstintingly…