The small, mostly black hourglass dolphin is named after the resemblance the dolphin’s white spots have to an hourglass. Hourglass dolphins live in the cold waters of Antarctica’s Southern Ocean and adjacent subantarctic waters. This type of dolphin is often sighted in areas with turbulent waters and is a frequent bow-rider of ships heading to Antarctica. The hourglass dolphin is rare to see due to its affinity for Antarctica’s cold water, but the limited information available on this dolphin species suggests populations are healthy.
If the Irrawaddy dolphin looks familiar, it may be due to the dolphin’s resemblance to the beluga whale, which is in the same family as the Irrawaddy dolphin. However, unlike its beluga whale relative, most populations of the Irrawaddy dolphin are found in freshwater environments in Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. In the Ayeyarwady River, where this dolphin gets its name, the Irrawaddy dolphin is known to collaborate with fishermen. Fishermen can summon the dolphins by tapping the sides of their boats. The dolphins then herd groups of fish toward shore where the fish are more easily netted. The dolphins are thought to benefit from the fish’s confused reaction to the net, which may make feeding on the fish easier.
Dams, fishing with electricity, and fishing net are among the many threats the Irrawaddy dolphin faces, All freshwater populations of the Irrawaddy dolphin are considered endangered.
Short-Finned Pilot Whale
Short-finned pilot whales are nomadic animals found around the world in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters. Despite their name and short, whale-like snouts and large size, these animals are actually dolphins. Both short-finned pilot whales and their relatives, the long-fin pilot whale, feed primarily on squid. Growing up to 20 feet long, pilot whales are the second largest species of dolphin behind the killer whales, which are also technically dolphins. Currently, short-finned pilot whale numbers are relatively low around the world as a result of disease, unusually warm waters, and mass stranding events, making sightings of this dolphin species rare today.
South Asian River Dolphin
The South Asian river dolphin is another freshwater dolphin species found in rivers in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. This dolphin has tiny eyes and a long, slender snout making it look perhaps more like a swordfish than a dolphin.
Hector’s dolphin is one of four dolphin species of blunt-headed dolphins. The dolphins’ short snouts make them easy to confuse with porpoises. Hector’s dolphins are found exclusively in the waters off of New Zealand, where they are the country’s smallest and rarest dolphin. The Māui dolphin, a subspecies of the Hector’s dolphin, is even smaller and rarer. 2016 estimates suggest just over 60 adults make up the remaining population of Māui dolphins and about 15,000 animals make up the Hector’s dolphin population.
Taiwanese Humpback Dolphin
This rare dolphin species’ existence was only just confirmed by surveys in 2002. The Taiwanese humpback dolphin lives exclusively in the shallow coastal waters of Taiwan’s west coast where it is a year-round resident. Long-term surveys have consistently found less than 100 individuals.
Commerson’s dolphin, like the Hector’s and Māui dolphins, is another one of the four blunt-headed dolphin species. Commerson’s dolphin shares the title with Hector’s dolphin for the world’s smallest dolphin. Of the four species of blunt-headed dolphins, the Commerson’s dolphin has the strangest distribution. The greatest portion of the species is found within the inshore waters of Argentina and in the Strait of Magellan, but this type of dolphin is also found at the Falkland Islands and at the Indian Ocean’s Kerguelen islands.
The melon-headed whale, like the pilot whale and killer whale, is actually a species of dolphin. This type of dolphin mainly lives in deep tropical waters and warm, temperate waters in the West Indo-Pacific, but is occasionally seen near South Africa and southern Australia. Despite the melon-headed whale’s large global distribution, sightings of type of dolphin are relatively rare.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.