Programme 1: Abundance of Key Resident Species
A second component to the inshore Bryde’s whale project referred to above is a natural mark capture-recapture estimation of the abundance of the species. Furthermore there are few data on the abundance distribution and movements, of important dolphin top-predators including dusky and common, Heaviside’s humpback and bottlenose dolphin (including ties to Namibia and Mozambique, under Research Theme 3). Such abundance estimations are of critical importance in Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) system management.
Programme 2: Establishment of baseline biological data (using Collections and Sighting/Specimen Knowledge Base) for the development of conservation data inventories.
There are a number of studies on the biology of cetacean species (including biogeography, seasonality and distribution patterns, and taxonomic, genetic and anatomical studies) that could be carried out utilising the archived datasets of the MRI Whale Unit. Such projects lend themselves particularly to Masters theses where the degree timeframes often limit adequate fieldwork and data collection.
Programme 3: Site Specific local projects
There are a number of small potential projects on specific groups of cetaceans (Heaviside’s dolphins off Mouille Point, Cape Town; killer whales in False Bay, Cape Town; southern right whales in Walker Bay or bottlenose dolphins in Ponta do Ouro) where relatively easy and cost effective access to field data can be attained.