Karen Stockin

Doctor of Philosophy, (Zoology)
Study Completed: 2008
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The New Zealand common dolphin (Delphinus sp.): Identity, ecology and conservation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Stockin’s research focused on the ecology and conservation of New Zealand common dolphins (genus Delphinus). Both field- and laboratory-based methods were employed to examine genetic identity, stock structure, occurrence, demographics, behaviour and diet. In addition, impact assessments examined the effects of tourism and pollution on the Hauraki Gulf population. Ms Stockin’s research revealed that common dolphins exhibit high genetic variability, sharing haplotypes with both short- (D .delphis) and long-beaked species (D. capensis). Furthermore, evidence of stock structure was found for the Hauraki population. Activity budgets suggest this region to be an important feeding and calving area for the genus. Stomach content analyses revealed overlap with commercial fisheries, with arrow squid (Nototodarus spp.), jack mackerel (Trachurus spp.) and anchovy (Engraulis australis) identified as predominant prey. Further results suggest common dolphins are susceptible to human induced impacts including tourism disturbance and pollution. Ms Stockin’s research challenges previous assumptions concerningDelphinus and calls for the reclassification of this genus to Data deficient within New Zealand waters.

Professor Dianne Brunton
Dr Mark Orams
Dr Padraig Duignan
Professor Wendi Roe