[MARMAM] Vessel observations of snubfin dolphins using electric engines

Alvaro Berg Soto alvaro.bergsoto at jcu.edu.au
Sat Dec 6 23:46:56 PST 2008

Dear Colleagues,
My name is Alvaro Berg Soto and I'm finalizing my PhD fieldwork in Cleveland Bay, Port of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. One of my dolphin subjects is the newly classified Snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni), an Australian endemic cetacean, from which very little is known. My study involves both surface and acoustic observations of their behaviour. However, they do not collaborate and evade our vessel, regardless of the precautions taken when approaching them. Among some of the possible solutions is the use of an electric engine to approach them, but the potential high frequency noise emitted by this device may either deter them from staying close, or perhaps affect their acoustic behaviour in some other way. 
As a result I'm reaching out to the cetologist community, to obtain feedback on the use of electric engines for boat approaches in the study of cetacean surface and acoustic behaviour, specially with snubfin dolphins.
Any suggestion and advice would be extremely appreciated.
You can reply to alvaro.bergsoto at jcu.edu.au.
Thank you very much for your collaboration.
Kind regards,
Alvaro Berg Soto     

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