Dolphin experts

Murdoch University has played a key role in investigating the health of dolphin populations in WA. Our experts are internationally recognised in the area of cetacean (whales and dolphins) monitoring, conservation and health.

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Joshua Smith

Dr Joshua Smith

Behaviour and habitat use of marine mammals in Australian waters

Joshua Smith is a postdoctoral researcher who works for the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit.

His main interests focus on the social and acoustic behaviour as well as the habitat use of marine mammals. His recent research has focused on the acoustic monitoring of coastal dolphins and developing distribution models for humpback whales in the Great Barrier Reef to identify mating and calving areas. He is also developing a risk assessment model to tackle ship strikes to humpbacks in the same area.

His previous research focused on the function of song in humpback whales by looking at the social interactions of singing and non-singing whales during their southward migration off the east coast of Australia.
Lars Bejder

Professor Lars Bejder

Cetaceans (Whale and dolphin conservation and behaviour)

Professor Bejder analyses and develops quantitative methods to evaluate complex animal social structures and evaluates the  impact of human activity (coastal development, tourism, habitat degradation) on cetaceans. He also researches fundamental biology and ecology, such as assessing the  abundance and habitat use of marine wildlife.

He works closely with wildlife management agencies to optimise the conservation- and management outcomes of his research. He has advised on human impacts on cetaceans to the US Marine Mammal Commission, the US National Marine Fisheries Service, the International Whaling Commission, the Australian Federal Government, the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Dr Nahiid Stephens - Image

Dr Nahiid Stephens

Health investigation in cetaceans

Dr Nahiid Stephens is based in the Anatomic Pathology Department within the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Murdoch University.

Dr Stephens has an interest in marine mammal health investigation and conducts the post mortem and histopathological examination of cetaceans. Her latest work in this field as a team member of the Marine Mammal Health Project has been to support the WA Chief Scientist in advising the state government about the health of the Swan-Canning River and Peel-Leschenault dolphins following unusual mortalities in 2009.

Professor Neil Loneragan - Image

Professor Neil Loneragan

Marine and Estuarine Ecosystems, Fish and Fisheries Science

Neil Loneragan is the Director of the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research and holds the inaugural Chair in Fisheries Science at Murdoch University.

In recent years Professor Loneragan has been researching ecosystem approaches to fisheries and cetacean populations, fisheries ecology and fisheries interactions with protected, threatened and endangered species.

Prior to joining Murdoch, Professor Loneragan spent nearly 15 years with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric research, investigating the linkages between coastal habitats, fisheries production (particularly penaeid prawns) and biodiversity and stock enhancement.

His research in Australia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea has provided the basis for major reviews of mangrove fishery linkages and stock enhancement, and major multi-disciplinary research projects in fisheries ecology and prawn stock enhancement.

He has published extensively in international journals and he has served on a variety of national and international committees for fisheries, marine ecosystems and stock enhancement.

To reach these experts for media enquiries, contact:

Joanne Manning
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 2474
Mobile: 0408 201 309
Pepita Smith
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 1289
Mobile: 0417 171 551

For all other enquiries, please ring reception on 08 9360 6000.