NZ Conservation research

Table 1: Current New Zealand Government Funded Research Projects Related
to Cetacean Conservation

Whale species                  Research focus
Humpback                         Photo ID, biopsy sampling, environmental sampling in the Ross Sea (Research funding administered by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - NIWA)

Blue                                   Blue whale habitat use in the South Taranaki Bight, including photo ID, tissue sampling, environmental sampling, and satellite tagging (Oregon State University and DOC, NIWA and DOC)
Blue Whales

Bryde’s Whales                Investigation into the abundance, distribution, sub-surface behaviour, and ship-strike risk of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf (Auckland University and DOC)

Southern Right                  Measuring nutritional condition of right whales using remotely-piloted multi-rotor aircraft (University of Otago and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute – NZARI)
                                         Opportunistic sightings and collection of genetic samples around New Zealand coastline to determine if individuals seen around the main two islands of New Zealand are genetically or geographically isolated from sub-                                                    Antarctic populations (DOC)
                                          Genetic analysis of archived right whale tissue (Auckland University and Oregon State University, in association with DOC)

Sperm whales                  Monitoring of effects on whales near Kaikoura after the Nov 2016 earthquake (MPI)

Killer Whales                    Investigation of the abundance, foraging ecology, habitat use and diet of killer whales in the Ross Sea, Antarctica (Canterbury University, NZARI, and MPI).

General cetacean              Acoustic monitoring of cetaceans in and around Cook Strait via moored hydrophone systems (NIWA and DOC).

Inshore dolphins                 Aerial abundance and distribution surveys of Hector’s and Māui dolphins (DOC and MPI)
                                          Regional boat surveys for Māui dolphins in the Taranaki region (DOC)
                                          Observer programme onboard inshore gill-net and trawl vessels to assess by-catch and distribution of Hector’s and Māui dolphins (MPI and DOC)
                                          Acoustic monitoring for Māui dolphins (DOC, MPI, and Auckland University)
                                          Monitoring surveys for Hector’s dolphins near Kaikoura after the Nov 2016 earthquake (MPI)
                                          Necropsies of beach-cast common, dusky, and Hector’s and Māui

Date Start

The New Zealand Government and other New Zealand organisations fund a range of research projects aimed at determining the population numbers and trend, effects of anthropogenic activities, and important habitat areas for a number of species of whales and small cetaceans.