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

Cheryl Cross

Doctor of Philosophy, (Marine Ecology)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Spatial ecology of delphinids in Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand: Implications for conservation management

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Understanding species' ecological interactions and area usage depends on clear insight into their temporal and spatial patterns. Such information combined with recognition of regional human-invested interests, is crucial for effective conservation management. Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, is inhabited by diverse marine life, but is subject to increasing anthropogenic activity, including tourism. Ms Cross' research focused on three ecologically important species: Hector's, bottlenose and dusky dolphins. She undertook vessel-based data collection and collated tour operator logbooks to investigate long-term temporal and spatial dolphin occurrence; dolphin distribution, density and range patterns; species' habitat use; and regional swim-with-dolphin tourism. This novel, baseline study identified long-term shifts in dolphin temporal/spatial trends, high-use areas of the Sound, distinct species' habitat associations and potential impacts of growing regional tourism. Ms Cross' findings advance our understanding of dolphin ecology and support developing comprehensive conservation management efforts in the Marlborough Sounds.

Professor Karen Stockin
Dr Deanna Clement
Dr Mat Pawley