New Australian marine mammal projects

Technology development is a feature of many of the new marine mammal projects to be undertaken in 2008 through the Australian Centre for Applied Marine Mammal Science (ACAMMS) — based at the Australian Antarctic Division. Eleven projects, worth $790 000, were approved by the Australian Government in late 2007. They follow on the heels of 15 projects undertaken during the Centre’s first year of operation (Australian Antarctic Magazine 12: 29–31).

All projects have to address at least one of four priority research areas, one of which is the development of powerful, new, non-lethal technologies and methodologies to support marine mammal conservation and management. The following articles highlight three such technology-driven projects.

Other projects to be conducted in 2008 include:

  • A census of Australian fur seal pups;
  • Investigating the movement patterns and population size of Western Australian pygmy blue whales;
  • Using aerial and land-based surveys to determine the population status of Western Australian humpback whales; and
  • Determining the diet of Australian fur seals through DNA analysis of faeces.
The ACAMMS supports research that focuses on understanding, protecting and conserving marine mammals from tropical, temperate and Antarctic waters. The work is critical to the Australian Antarctic Division’s broader research and advisory role within the Department of the Environment and Water Resources.