Dr Karen Stockin staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43614

Dr Karen Stockin

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

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.

More about me...View less...

Research Expertise

Research Interests

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.

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Behavioural Ecology (060201): Biological Sciences (060000): Ecology (060200): Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205): Zoology (060800)


Marine Mammals; Anthropogenic Impacts; Behaviour; Strandings

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 4 15

Research Outputs


Tezanos-Pinto, G., Hupman, K., Wiseman, N., Dwyer, SL., Baker, CS., Brooks, L., . . . Stockin, KA. (2017). Local abundance, apparent survival and site fidelity of Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf (New Zealand) inferred from long-term photo-identification. Endangered Species Research. 34, 61-73
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Hupman, KE., Pawley, MDM., Lea, C., Grimes, C., Voswinkel, S., Roe, WD., . . . Stockin, KA. (2017). Viability of photo-identification as a tool to examine the prevalence of lesions on free-ranging common dolphins (Delphinus sp.). Aquatic Mammals. 43(3), 264-278
[Journal article]Authored by: Pawley, M., Roe, W., Stockin, K.
Pearson, HC., Jones, PW., Srinivasan, M., Lundquist, D., Pearson, CJ., Stockin, KA., . . . Machovsky-Capuska, GE. (2017). Testing and deployment of C-VISS (cetacean-borne video camera and integrated sensor system) on wild dolphins. Marine Biology. 164(3)
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Godoy, DA., Smith, ANH., Limpus, C., & Stockin, KA. (2016). The spatio-temporal distribution and population structure of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 50(4), 549-565
[Journal article]Authored by: Godoy, D., Smith, A., Stockin, K.
Meissner, AM., Christiansen, F., Martinez, E., Pawley, MDM., Orams, MB., & Stockin, KA. (2015). Behavioural effects of tourism on oceanic common dolphins, Delphinus sp., in New Zealand: The effects of markov analysis variations and current tour operator compliance with regulations. PLoS ONE. 10(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Pawley, M., Stockin, K.
Tait, AH., Raubenheimer, D., Stockin, KA., Merriman, M., & Machovsky-Capuska, GE. (2014). Nutritional geometry and macronutrient variation in the diets of gannets: the challenges in marine field studies. Marine Biology. 161(12), 2791-2801
[Journal article]Authored by: Merriman, M., Stockin, K.
Zaeschmar, JR., Dwyer, SL., & Stockin, KA. (2013). Rare observations of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) cooperatively feeding with common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Marine Mammal Science. 29(3), 555-562
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Stockin, KA., Amaral, AR., Latimer, J., Lambert, DM., & Natoli, A. (2013). Population genetic structure and taxonomy of the common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) at its southernmost range limit: New Zealand waters. Marine Mammal Science.
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Amaral, AR., Beheregaray, LB., Bilgmann, K., Freitas, L., Robertson, KM., Sequeira, M., . . . Möller, LM. (2012). Influences of past climatic changes on historical population structure and demography of a cosmopolitan marine predator, the common dolphin (genus Delphinus). Molecular Ecology.
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Amaral, AR., Beheregaray, LB., Bilgmann, K., Boutov, D., Freitas, L., Robertson, KM., . . . Möller, LM. (2012). Seascape genetics of a globally distributed, highly mobile marine mammal: The short-beaked common dolphin (genus delphinus). PLoS ONE. 7(2)
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Machovsky Capuska, GE., Dwyer, SL., Alley, MR., Stockin, KA., & Raubenheimer, D. (2011). Evidence for fatal collisions and kleptoparasitism while plunge-diving in Gannets. Ibis. 153(3), 631-635
[Journal article]Authored by: Stockin, K.
Stockin, KA., Wiseman, N., Hartman, A., Moffat, N., & Roe, WD. (2008). Use of radiography to determine age class and assist with the post-mortem diagnostics of a Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 42(3), 307-313
[Journal article]Authored by: Moffatt, N., Roe, W., Stockin, K.
Meynier, L., Stockin, KA., Bando, MKH., & Duignan, PJ. (2008). Stomach contents of common dolphin (Deiphinus sp.) from New Zealand waters. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 42(2), 257-268
[Journal article]Authored by: Meynier, L., Stockin, K.


Hupman, K., Pawley, M., Leist, A., Stockin, K., Dong, T., & Gilman, A. (2017, July). Advancing photo-identification of cetaceans: Exploring the application of computer vision for individual recognition. Presented at New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Annual Conference. Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Gilman, A., Pawley, M., Stockin, K.Contributed to by: Gilman, A.
Rankmore, K., Pawley, ., Dong, T., Gilman, A., & Stockin, K. (2013). First quantification of pigmentation variability for common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand: A novel approach to aid in photo-identification studies. Poster session presented at the meeting of The 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Dunedin, New Zealand
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Gilman, A., Pawley, M., Stockin, K.
Stockin, KA., Duignan, PJ., Roe, WD., Meynier, L., Alley, MR., Gartrell, BD., . . . Fettermann, T. (2009). Mortality in stranded and beach cast common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) from New Zealand waters during 1998-2008. Poster session presented at the meeting of 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Quebec City, QC
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Gartrell, B., Roe, W., Stockin, K.
Stockin, KA., Binedell, V., Wiseman, N., Brunton, DH., & Orams, M. (2009). Behaviour of free-ranging common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. In Annual Conference of European Cetacean Society (ECS): The European Cetacean Society (ECS)
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Brunton, D., Orams, M., Stockin, K.

Consultancy and Languages


  • July 2017 - Present - International Whaling Commission (IWC)
    IWC Intersessional Steering Group for Strandings

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 5

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Catherine Peters - PhD
    Distribution, ecology and conservation of bottlenose dolphin in Far North waters, New Zealand
  • Cheryl Cross - PhD
    Temporal and spatial ecology of delphinids in Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand: Implications for managment

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2017 - Daniel Adrian Godoy - PhD
    The ecology and conservation of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in New Zealand
  • 2016 - Krista Elizabeth Hupman - PhD
    Photo-identification and its application to gregarious delphinids: Common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
  • 2016 - Anna Maria Meissner - PhD
    Marine mammal tourism in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand: Effects, implications and management
  • 2015 - Sarah Louise Dwyer - PhD
    Spatial Ecology and Conservation of Cetaceans using the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand
  • 2011 - Emmanuelle Valerie Martinez-Smagghe - PhD
    Responses of South Island Hector's dolphins (Celhalorhynchus hectori hectori) to vessel activity (including tourism operations) in Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

Media and Links

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey