What a treat! Virtually Marine Mammals by Marine Mammal Foundation
This week we are treated to a series of online presentations “Virtually Marine Mammals” from Dr Kate Robb and her team from a small not-for-profit charity organisation – Marine Mammal Foundation that contributes to research, education, outreach and conservation of marine mammals and their environment.
Presented with the research conducted in 2011 when Dr Robb and her team helped discover and officially recognise a new species of bottlenose dolphin in Victoria; the Barrunan dolphin – (meaning large sea fish of the porpoise kind) of which only 150 individuals exist in two locations Port Phillip Bay and the Gippsland Lakes. It’s small population size now sees it listed as an endangered species under the FFG Act 1988 and the MMF continues their work to protect it as a species and foster stewardship of its marine habitats.
Dolphins are recognised through fin identification techniques that take note of notches, scratches and makings on their bodies and behaviours are observed from boat and underwater within pods and with other species such as the local Australian fur seals! Bottlenose dolphins in Port Phillip Bay follow the Snapper and King George Whiting run and squid to feed whilst those in the Gippsland lakes enjoy the yellow eye mullet whilst darting between harmless lake jellies.
Boats and Jetski activity can cause significant harm or disturbance to marine mammals and it’s important to know the rules. Reducing speed to 5 knots when within 150m of a dolphin and approach no further than 100m in a boat or 300m on a Jetski is best practice. The MMF outreach education programs; Marine Champions and Lakes champions engage and empower schools and local communities through citizen science action, excursions and expos. Dr Robb and her team show incredible passion and resilience in making a difference and promoting stewardship of our oceans. For more information you can visit www.marinemammal.org.au.
“Together we can ensure what we do today, creates a better tomorrow” – Marine Mammal Foundation.