COVID-19 update: All of New Zealand is now at Orange. More information.

Catherine Peters

Doctor of Philosophy, (Conservation Biology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Context-specific signal plasticity of two bottlenose dolphin ecotypes (Tursiops truncatus) in Far North Waters, New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) need to communicate efficiently, however the selective pressures and contexts acting on this are not well understood. Working in the Far North waters of New Zealand, Ms Peters researched two common bottlenose dolphin ecotypes. She examined how likely they are to overlap in space and the effect of key ecotype specific contexts on group signal use. Her research suggested coastal and oceanic common bottlenose dolphin ecotypes have minimal spatial overlap and context specific differences in their signal use. Novel approaches were utilised to provide the first comprehensive assessment of dolphin ecotype spatial and behavioural overlap within New Zealand waters. Ms Peters recommends pre-emptive rather than reactive conservation for effectively managing both bottlenose dolphin ecotypes separately and efficiently in New Zealand waters.

Professor Karen Stockin
Professor Mark Orams
Dr Mat Pawley