Our Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Expedition Dates for 2017 have just been announced!!! mb-2017-expedition-posterWant to join the team & become an invaluable sponsor of the Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project? Checkout our Dolphin Research Eco-volunteer Expedition Page for more information about our eco-volunteer program & download an information booklet!


Posted By: liz on November 25, 2016 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Moreton Bay Dolphin Expeditions 2017


Join Our Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project as an Eco-volunteer in 2016! Dates have now been announced!

Our 2016 Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project Eco-Volunteer dates have now been announced! From May to July 2016, you can join our Dolphin Research Australia team in the field! As an Eco-volunteer you not only become a financial supporter of the research project, but also have the unique opportunity and be part of the team in the field as part of this unique opportunity. Enjoy a week learning, contributing and contributing to this important research and conservation project. For more information check out our Dolphin Research Expedition page and how you can join the team and become an Eco-Volunteer!

Posted By: liz on April 4, 2016 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Join Our 2016 Moreton Bay Expeditions

Byron Bay – Ballina Dolphin Research Expeditions Summer 2016

dolphins at Julian Rocks

Byron Bay Dolphins

Our summer 2016 Byron Bay – Ballina Dolphin Research Project field season is just about to kick off! Between January and February 2016, you can join the research team as an Eco-volunteer and assist in observing and recording dolphin behaviour and be part of our long-term dolphin research project. We’ll be using the 41ft yacht Ironbark and setting sail from Ballina and heading along the northern New South Wales coastline observing all the cetacean life along the way. If you are a keen observer and would like to be part of the Dolphin Research Australia Expeditions as an Eco-volunteer, check out our Research Expedition page for further details and how to participate.

Posted By: liz on December 21, 2015 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Join Our Byron Dolphin Eco-volunteer Team
Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers

Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers

Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers

Dolphin Research Australia is launching the Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers and inviting locals and visitors to the Byron Bay region to join up and become involved in the research. The teams will be observing and monitoring the dolphin population in this area and look at the different aspects of their ecology, movement patterns and social structure so we can understand more about these animals in the wild to ensure their conservation. Learn more and join the Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers! Our first Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers survey day will be on 11th April 2015 at Broken Head, NSW, 7am – 1pm.

Posted By: liz on March 13, 2015 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Northern Rivers Dolphin Watchers

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at play near the Brisbane River Port, QLD

Our Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project has kicked off with a great start to the Winter 2014 field season.  The project which aims to assess the abundance and health status of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins is funded by the Australian Marine Mammal Centre and co-partnered with the Department of Environment & Heritage.

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins are a conservation priority both in Australia and abroad, with small fragmented populations in shallow inshore environments. The population in Moreton Bay occurs adjacent to one of Australia’s major cities and are exposed to numerous key threats.  This is the first project to assess the population in 27 years and it is the only population of this species that has some historical data available. Since 2011, the number of stranding incidence of humpback dolphins in South East Queensland have risen significantly and concerns have increased for the health of this population.  This project is critical in order to ensure the conservation of this species in the region and ensure the appropriate management of threatening processes in order to reduce the negative impacts on the health of both the dolphins and the environment they rely on.

Would you like to help to Conserve the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin??

Help us raise funds to continue this project simply by clicking on the DONATE NOW link.  Your contribution will go directly to assisting Dolphin Research Australia to continue this work and provide the best outcomes possible to ensure the health and well being of humpback dolphins and coastal dolphin communities of Moreton Bay!

You can also follow us in the field with our Moreton Bay Dolphin Diaries on our Facebook Page!!

Posted By: liz on July 19, 2014 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Moreton Bay Dolphin Research Project
dolphins at Julian Rocks

Byron Bay Dolphins

Dolphin Research Season Ends with A Splash!

During August-September 2013, the Dolphin Research Australia field team were out in Byron Bay observing the dolphin and whale populations.  The project is a long-term monitoring program that seeks to understand the ecology and structure of local Byron Bay dolphin populations.  The season was full of excitement which lots of dolphin action coinciding with the bait ball migration.  Lots of whale action as well with humpbacks, southern rights and minkes keeping the team busy.  We even tracked a great white shark in the shallows of Cape Byron – the first we’ve seen that close into sure since the research began in 2003.  A special thanks to the Dolphin Research Team once again for making this season a special one!!

Posted By: liz on October 2, 2013 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Byron Dolphin Research Season
sussex inlet dolphin

Sussex Inlet dolphin rescued May 2013

In September 2012 a young female bottlenose dolphin became trapped in Sussex Inlet on the south coast of New South Wales. Unable to return to the open ocean to rejoin her pod she became very tame and began interacting with people. The dolphin became so tame that  she was ultimately at great risk of injury or at some point injuring someone else. A decision was made to capture and return her to the open ocean and Dolphin Research Australia was there to help. Watch the video about this is the story and the journey to set the young dolphin free.

Posted By: liz on May 20, 2013 in Campaigns & Rescues, Education, Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Sussex Inlet dolphin set free!

Mother & Calf bottlenose dolphin

Boaters and swimmers are being reminded to give dolphins space as the summer calving period begins.  Although calving can occur all year round, Dr. Liz Hawkins from Dolphin Research Australia says this time of year we see a peak in the number of new calves born in and around Byron Bay, New South Wales.  Mothers and calves are highly vulnerable to human disturbance and can experience high levels of stress from such encounters.

Boaters (which include kayakers and surfers) are reminded to stick to the Australia dolphin watching regulations; no approach distance = 50m for vessels (non calf groups), 150m (for calf groups).

-December 2012-

Posted By: liz on in Education, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Summer Loving & New Calves to Care for
leaping dolphins

leaping dolphins (c) Dolphin Research Australia Inc.

The two weeks of our summer dolphin research field season in Byron Bay begun with some great observations – new born dolphins learning to surf with their mothers, sharks feeding off Tallows Beach and even marlin jumping close to Cape Byron.  We’ve been hampered this week by ex-cyclone Oswald which has brought high seas, rain, floods and wind, consequently cancelling our field seasons.  This next week is looking better and we’ll be back out observing dolphins from the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

Posted By: liz on January 30, 2013 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Summer Dolphins

Dolphin Research Team

The next dolphin research field season in Byron Bay, Australia,  has just been announced!! The project is one of Dolphin Research Australia’s long term projects which is exploring aspects of dolphin ecology & the impacts of human activities.  Each year, the volunteer research team carry out observations of dolphins from the Cape Byron Lighthouse for four week periods.  The next dolphin research field season will be from 15th July to 21st August 2012.  Anyone interested in being part of the dolphin volunteer research team, please contact us at info@dolphinresearchaustralia.com.

Posted By: liz on June 23, 2012 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Next Field Season Announced

leaping dolphins

Leaping dolphins, Byron Bay Photo (c) DRA 2010

We’re now Dolphin Research Australia!

Our successes over the last few years have led to some exciting changes!! The evolution has led us to change our name to Dolphin Research Australia (formerly Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project).  These changes are exciting, so stay tuned for some big developments over the next year!!! 

Posted By: liz on March 23, 2012 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on We’ve Changed Our Name!!
Common Dolphins

Common Dolphins leaping (c) E. Hawkins

The Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project team have been busy in the field in South East Queensland.  This season has had some great weather and the team of sighted Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, common dolphins and of course, bottlenose dolphins.  The last few surveys have seen a number of newborn common dolphins in groups resting off the Tweed/Kirra Beaches and also off the Southport Seaway.  It has been very interesting for the team to study these species which are still a big mystery.  There’s also been a couple of very special encounters with the migrating humpback whales that have greeted the research vessel during the surveys.  The research team will be out in the field until October 2011 in South East Queensland and are hoping to see some more of the resident bottlenose which haven’t yet been sighted again this season in Moreton Bay.

Posted By: liz on September 12, 2011 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Update from the Field
Dolphins in Byron Bay

Dolphin in Byron Bay

Our Winter 2011 dolphin research season in Byron Bay has just begun.  Our field team are rugged up and ready for this exciting season.  With a quiet start on Sunday and some cold rain on Monday, today was a great sunny day with lots of dolphins feeding and milling around Cape Byron.  This season will also welcome the humpback whales as they commence their annual migration north to the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef.  We are hoping for some great weather to continue the dolphin season and learn more about our local dolphins of Byron Bay.

Posted By: liz on May 10, 2011 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Byron Bay Winter 2011 Season Begins

Photo (c) E. Hawkins 2010

Our Gold Coast Dolphin Project is in its 3rd week and is making some great progress. Weather hasn’t been the greatest in past weeks, however we have still made many sightings and identifications of dolphins AND just yesterday spotted our very first Sousa (humpback dolphin)!!! Liz managed to sneak a quick dorsal fin shot in before he made a run for the coast.

 This week the weather has been kind to us allowing us to venture offshore where we have discovered to what looks like the majority of Gold Coast resident bottlenose dolphins. On Friday we also came across a large group of common dolphins that just wanted to interact and bow ride with the boat giving us some entertainment. We also now have some great underwater footage of both the common and the bottlenose dolphins.  

 We have come across a huge array of different wildlife on our  travels including a lace monitor swimming through a very busy channel near Tipplers on South Stradbroke Island, several Agile wallabies snack foraging and 2 feeding dugongs up in Caniapa Channel off North Stradbroke Island.

 All this and it’s only the start of the dolphin field season in the Gold Coast, Australia! Stay tuned for more updates as they come!!

 Don’t forget people the Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project is still looking for an intern for the Gold coast Project from January 16th until the end of February 2011.  If you are interested please contact us at info@dolphinresearchaustralia.com

Posted By: liz on December 19, 2010 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Dolphin Update from the Field
Scallop and Tess 2005

Scallop and Tess 2005

We have 6 beautiful and very special dolphins that are available for adoption with all funds raised helping to conserve and protect Australia’s dolphin populations.  Each dolphin has it’s own special characteristics and are part of the wild Byron Bay resident population.  A dolphin adoption is a unique gift for a loved one who can learn more about each dolphin with the researchers.  All dolphin guardians will receive an exclusive gift pack only available to those who adopt-a-dolphin.  Follow the links and find out how you can give a gift that keeps on giving :  About Adolphin-A-Dolphin

Posted By: liz on September 13, 2010 in Education, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Adopt-A-Dolphin as a Gift for a Loved One
social dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins Socialising (c) E. Hawkins 2010

The DEAP team has been awarded a $71,000 national competitive grant from the Australian Marine Mammal Centre to study dolphins in the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads region.

The grant will fund research that will investigate the abundance and habitat preferences of coastal dolphins from Jumpinpin near South Stradbroke Island to the Tweed river mouth.

Dr Liz Hawkins said the research was the first of its kind in the region.

“Very little is known about the dolphin populations on the Gold Coast and Tweed, yet it’s a region of particular interest because the animals are living in a diverse environment,” said Dr Hawkins.

“The research will gather data on how many dolphins there are and where they are, so we can build up a better picture of their habitat preferences and behaviour in the area.

“As well as bottlenosed dolphins, we are particularly interested in the threatened indo-pacific humpback dolphin because the Gold Coast is the southern limit of the known range of this tropical and sub-tropical species.

The researchers, who will begin the first of many boat surveys at the start of the summer, will collect photos of dorsal fins to enable individual dolphins to be identified and their movements and behaviour recorded.

It is hoped the community will play an essential role in the research by reporting  dolphin sightings and sending photos capturing dolphin dorsal fins to help build up a database of information.  Anyone can report sightings of dolphins via our Dolphin Sighting Network.

Posted By: liz on August 11, 2010 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on DEAP heads to the Gold Coast
Dorsal Fins

Dolphin Dorsal Fins, Byron Bay, Australia

The Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project Winter 2010 field season has now come to an end.  We had some great weather along the way, with some of the clearest visibility we’ve seen all year.  Lots of dolphins as always and also lots of feeding with lots of prey species migrating along the coast.  We were also blessed with many humpback whales who the dolphins would often associate with and travel along side as the whales headed north to their winter breeding and birthing grounds.  Thanks to all the volunteers who are now recovering from the chilly days up the top of the Cape Byron Lighthouse and kayak surveys!  The next dolphin project field season is scheduled for summer 2011.

Posted By: liz on July 6, 2010 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Winter Season 2010 Ends
Bottlenose Dolphins & Kayaks, Byron Bay

Bottlenose Dolphins & Kayaks, Byron Bay

Our winter 2010 field season in Byron Bay is just about to begin.  The season will go for three weeks from Monday 14th June to Monday 5th July.  We are now recruiting volunteers and interns who would like to be part of this season.  We usually have great weather this time of year and there’s pleanty to see with lots of dolphins passing through and whales as well!  If you are interested in partipating, please send us an e-mail at info@dolphinresearchaustralia.com

Posted By: liz on June 7, 2010 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on Winter Season 2010
leaping dolphins

Leaping dolphins, Byron Bay Photo (c) DEAP 2010

Our Dolphin Ecology & Acoustics Project autumn2010 season has now come to a close.  It was another successful series of data collection.  Each day we had some great dolphin action with lots of surfing and socialising.  We were blessed with some great weather and got some good kayaking surveys in.  We also saw the first of the humpback whales go past and also a rare sighting of a Bryde’s whale!  On our final day of observations, we saw over 150 dolphins go past Cape Byron during the morning.  It was a great way to end the season!  Thanks to our amazing autumn 2010 volunteer crew, we sure couldn’t have done it without you!

Posted By: liz on May 14, 2010 in Research - Comments: Comments Off on Autumn 2010 season ends with a blast!


Deep Dive (c) E. Hawkins

Have you ever wanted to learn about dolphins and how you can help to conserve them?  Then join the DEAP Dolphin Sighting Network.  The Network encourages members of the community to report their dolphin sightings.  A single sighting can be very useful for researchers.  You can become a certified member of the Dolphin Sighting Network by attending one of our workshops.  The workshop is a course in dolphin ecology, dolphin watching and how you can gather valuable sighting information for researchers.  Our first workshop is scheduled for Byron Bay 21st May 2010.  To find out more information and book your spot, please go to our Dolphin Sighting Network page. Stay posted for dates of our next workshop at the Gold Coast!!

Posted By: liz on April 25, 2010 in Events, Research - Comments: Comments Off on First Dolphin Sighting Network Workshop