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Professor Steve Dawson

Contact DetailsSteveDawson

Office: 310 Castle Street, room 143
Tel: 64 3 479 7468
Cell: 021 276 4110
Email: steve.dawson@otago.ac.nz

Academic Qualifications

MSc, University of Auckland
PhD, University of Canterbury

Research Interests

  • Conservation biology of marine mammals, especially Hector's dolphin
  • Incidental catch of marine mammals in fisheries
  • Acoustic behaviour and communication in cetaceans
  • Line-transect surveys for inshore cetaceans

Courses

  • MARI 302 Biology and Behaviour of Marine Vertebrates

Research Projects

  • Conservation biology and Ecology of Hector's dolphin
  • Conservation biology of Fiordland Bottlenose dolphins
  • Ecology and acoustic behaviour of sperm whales

More info: http://www.whaledolphintrust.org.nz

Postgraduate Students

Tom Brough - Thesis Title (PhD):Next steps for management: population and spatial ecology of Hector's dolphins at Banks Peninsula.

Marta Guerra - Thesis Title (PhD):Habitat use and foraging ecology of a declining population of sperm whales at Kaikoura, New Zealand

David Johnston - Thesis Title (MSc):Social aspects of demographic stochasticity in an endangered population of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Eva Leunissen - Thesis Title (MSc): Acoustic Impact of Lyttelton Port Reconstruction

Rob Lewis - Thesis Title (MSc): Population demographics of sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island.

Tiffany Plencner - Thesis Title (PGDipSci): Does age influence odontocete hearing ability?: A preliminary investigation of the tympanoperiotic complex in the short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Tamlyn Somerford - Thesis Title (MSc):Sperm whale population dynamics and social structure

María Valdés Hernández - Thesis Title (PhD): Effect of mussel farms on Hector’s dolphin, Cephalorhynchus hectori hectori, at Banks Peninsula, New Zealand: an ecosystem perspective

Lindsay Wickman - Thesis Title (MSc):The effects of a decreasing mark rate on precision of estimates of survival rate of Hector’s dolphins

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Publications

Dawson, S. M. (2018). Cephalorhynchus dolphins: C. heavisidii, C. eutropia, C. hectori, and C. commersonii. In B. Würsig, J. G. M. Thewissen & K. M. Kovacs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of marine mammals. (3rd ed.) (pp. 166-172). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-804327-1.00086-8

Leunissen, E. M., & Dawson, S. M. (2018). Underwater noise levels of pile-driving in a New Zealand harbour, and the potential impacts on endangered Hector's dolphins. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135, 195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.07.024

Brough, T., Rayment, W., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. (2018). Fine scale distribution for a population of New Zealand's only endemic dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) shows long-term stability of coastal hotspots. Marine Mammal Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/mms.12528

Rayment, W., Webster, T., Brough, T., Jowett, T., & Dawson, S. (2018). Seen or heard? A comparison of visual and acoustic autonomous monitoring methods for investigating temporal variation in occurrence of southern right whales. Marine Biology, 165, 12. doi: 10.1007/s00227-017-3264-0

Davidson, A. R., Rayment, W., Dawson, S. M., Webster, T., & Slooten, E. (2018). Estimated calving interval for the New Zealand southern right whale (Eubalaena australis). New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 52(3), 372-383. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2017.1397034

Authored Book - Research

Slooten, L., & Dawson, S. (2013). Dolphins down under: Understanding the New Zealand dolphin. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 96p.

Dawson, S., & Slooten, E. (1996). Down-under Dolphins: The story of Hector's Dolphin. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press, 60p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Dawson, S. M. (2018). Cephalorhynchus dolphins: C. heavisidii, C. eutropia, C. hectori, and C. commersonii. In B. Würsig, J. G. M. Thewissen & K. M. Kovacs (Eds.), Encyclopedia of marine mammals. (3rd ed.) (pp. 166-172). London, UK: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-804327-1.00086-8

Tregenza, N., Dawson, S., Rayment, W., & Verfuss, U. (2016). Listening to echolocation clicks with PODs. In W. W. L. Au & M. O. Lammers (Eds.), Listening in the ocean: New discoveries and insights on marine life from autonomous passive acoustic recorders. (pp. 163-206). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3176-7_7

Dawson, S. M. (2009). Cephalorhynchus dolphins: C. heavisidii, C. eutropia, C. hectori, and C. commersonii. In W. F. Perrin, B. Würsig & J. G. M. Thewissen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of marine mammals. (2nd ed.) (pp. 191-195). Burlington, MA: Academic Press.

Dawson, S. M. (2008). Marine mammals. In M. Winterbourn, G. Knox, C. Burrows & I. Marsden (Eds.), The natural history of Canterbury. (3rd ed.) (pp. 685-702). Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University Press.

Brett, T., Carter, L., Carter, R. M., Darby, J., Davis, L., Dawson, S., Jillett, J., Probert, K., & Spencer, H. (2003). The open sea. In J. T. Darby, R. E. Fordyce, A. F. Mark, P. K. Probert & C. R. Townsend (Eds.), The natural history of Southern New Zealand. (pp. 313-338). Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

Pichler, F. B., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. M. (2003). Hector's dolphins and fisheries in New Zealand: A species at risk. In N. J. Gales, M. A. Hindell & R. Kirkwood (Eds.), Marine mammals: Fisheries, tourism and management issues. (pp. 153-173). Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO.

Dawson, S. M. (2002). Cephalorhynchus dolphins. In W. F. Perrin, B. Wurisg & J. G. M. Thewissen (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. (pp. 200-203). San Diego: Academic Press.

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Journal - Research Article

Leunissen, E. M., & Dawson, S. M. (2018). Underwater noise levels of pile-driving in a New Zealand harbour, and the potential impacts on endangered Hector's dolphins. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 135, 195-204. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.07.024

Davidson, A. R., Rayment, W., Dawson, S. M., Webster, T., & Slooten, E. (2018). Estimated calving interval for the New Zealand southern right whale (Eubalaena australis). New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 52(3), 372-383. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2017.1397034

Rayment, W., Webster, T., Brough, T., Jowett, T., & Dawson, S. (2018). Seen or heard? A comparison of visual and acoustic autonomous monitoring methods for investigating temporal variation in occurrence of southern right whales. Marine Biology, 165, 12. doi: 10.1007/s00227-017-3264-0

Brough, T., Rayment, W., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. (2018). Fine scale distribution for a population of New Zealand's only endemic dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) shows long-term stability of coastal hotspots. Marine Mammal Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/mms.12528

Steel, D., Anderson, M., Garrigue, C., Olavarría, C., Childerhouse, S., Clapham, P., … Dawson, S., … Slooten, L., … Baker, C. S. (2018). Migratory interchange of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) among breeding grounds of Oceania and connections to Antarctic feeding areas based on genotype matching. Polar Biology, 41(4), 653-662. doi: 10.1007/s00300-017-2226-9

Forney, K. A., Southall, B. L., Slooten, E., Dawson, S., Read, A. J., Baird, R. W., & Brownell, Jr, R. L. (2017). Nowhere to go: Noise impact assessments for marine mammal populations with high site fidelity. Endangered Species Research, 32, 391-413. doi: 10.3354/esr00820

Johnston, D. R., Rayment, W., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. M. (2017). A time-based method for defining associations using photo-identification. Behaviour, 154(9-10), 1029-1050. doi: 10.1163/1568539X-00003455

Dawson, S. M., Fordyce, R. E., Ridgway, S. H., Brough, T. E., & Slooten, E. (2017). Observations of a New Zealand dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) breathing via its mouth. Marine Mammal Science, 33(1), 350-355. doi: 10.1111/mms.12349

Dawson, S. M., Bowman, M. H., Leunissen, E., & Sirguey, P. (2017). Inexpensive aerial photogrammetry for studies of whales and large marine animals. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, 366. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00366

Agnew, P., Lalas, C., Wright, J., & Dawson, S. (2016). Annual variation in recruitment and age-specific survival of Little Penguins, Eudyptula minor. Emu, 116, 62-70. doi: 10.1071/MU15072

Webster, T. A., Dawson, S. M., Rayment, W. J., Parks, S. E., & Van Parijs, S. M. (2016). Quantitative analysis of the acoustic repertoire of southern right whales in New Zealand. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(1), 322-333. doi: 10.1121/1.4955066

Brough, T. E., Henderson, S., Guerra, M., & Dawson, S. M. (2016). Factors influencing heterogeneity in female reproductive success in a critically endangered population of bottlenose dolphins. Endangered Species Research, 29(3), 255-270. doi: 10.3354/esr00715

Guerra, M., & Dawson, S. M. (2016). Boat-based tourism and bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand: The role of management in decreasing dolphin-boat interactions. Tourism Management, 57, 3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2016.05.010

Dittmann, S., Dawson, S., Rayment, W., Webster, T., & Slooten, E. (2016). Hector's dolphin movement patterns in response to height and direction of ocean swell. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 50(2), 228-239. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2015.1119165

Brough, T. E., Guerra, M., & Dawson, S. M. (2015). Photo-identification of bottlenose dolphins in the far south of New Zealand indicates a 'new', previously unstudied population. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 49(1), 150-158. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2014.984728

Agnew, P., Lalas, C., Wright, J., & Dawson, S. (2015). Variation in breeding success and survival of little penguins Eudyptula minor in response to environmental variation. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 541, 219-229. doi: 10.3354/meps11538

Rayment, W., Dawson, S., & Webster, T. (2015). Breeding status affects fine-scale habitat selection of southern right whales on their wintering grounds. Journal of Biogeography, 42(3), 463-474. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12443

Peel, D., Miller, B. S., Kelly, N., Dawson, S., Slooten, E., & Double, M. C. (2014). A simulation study of acoustic-assisted tracking of whales for mark-recapture surveys. PLoS ONE, 9(5), e95602. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095602

Guerra, M., Dawson, S. M., Brough, T. E., & Rayment, W. J. (2014). Effects of boats on the surface and acoustic behaviour of an endangered population of bottlenose dolphin. Endangered Species Research, 24(3), 221-236. doi: 10.3354/esr00598

Henderson, S. D., Dawson, S. M., Currey, R. J. C., Lusseau, D., & Schneider, K. (2014). Reproduction, birth seasonality, and calf survival of bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. Marine Mammal Science, 30(3), 1067-1080. doi: 10.1111/mms.12109

Henderson, S. D., Dawson, S. M., Rayment, W., & Currey, R. J. C. (2013). Are the 'resident' dolphins of Doubtful Sound becoming less resident? Endangered Species Research, 20(2), 99-107. doi: 10.3354/esr00484

Dawson, S. M., Northridge, S., Waples, D., & Read, A. J. (2013). To ping or not to ping: The use of active acoustic devices in mitigating interactions between small cetaceans and gillnet fisheries. Endangered Species Research, 19(3), 201-221. doi: 10.3354/esr00464

Agnew, P., Lalas, C., Wright, J., & Dawson, S. (2013). Effects of attached data-logging devices on little penguins (Eudyptula minor). Marine Biology, 160(9), 2375-2382. doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2231-7

Turek, J., Slooten, E., Dawson, S., Rayment, W., & Turek, D. (2013). Distribution and abundance of Hector's dolphins off Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 47(2), 181-191. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2013.771687

Miller, B., Dawson, S., & Vennell, R. (2013). Underwater behavior of sperm whales off Kaikoura, New Zealand, as revealed by a three-dimensional hydrophone array. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(4), 2690-2700. doi: 10.1121/1.4818896

Miller, E., Lalas, C., Dawson, S., Ratz, H., & Slooten, E. (2013). Hector's dolphin diet: The species, sizes and relative importance of prey eaten by Cephalorhynchus hectori, investigated using stomach content analysis. Marine Mammal Science, 29(4), 606-628. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00594.x

Miller, B. S., Growcott, A., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. M. (2013). Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(3), 2438-2445. doi: 10.1121/1.4816564

Dawson, S., Fletcher, D., & Slooten, E. (2013). Habitat use and conservation of an endangered dolphin. Endangered Species Research, 21, 45-54. doi: 10.3354/esr00508

Growcott, A., Sirguey, P., & Dawson, S. M. (2012). Development and assessment of a digital stereo photogrammetric system to measure cetaceans at sea. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 78(3), 237-246.

Rayment, W., Davidson, A., Dawson, S., Slooten, E., & Webster, T. (2012). Distribution of southern right whales on the Auckland Islands calving grounds. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 46(3), 431-436. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2012.697072

Gormley, A. M., Slooten, E., Dawson, S., Barker, R. J., Rayment, W., du Fresne, S., & Bräger, S. (2012). First evidence that marine protected areas can work for marine mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49(2), 474-480. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02121.x

Fletcher, D., Lebreton, J.-D., Marescot, L., Schaub, M., Gimenez, O., Dawson, S., & Slooten, E. (2012). Bias in estimation of adult survival and asymptotic population growth rate caused by undetected capture heterogeneity. Methods in Ecology & Evolution, 3, 206-216. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00137.x

Elliott, R. G., Dawson, S. M., & Rayment, W. J. (2012). Optimizing T-pod settings and testing range of detection for bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 92(8), 1901-1907. doi: 10.1017/s002531541100035x

Growcott, A., Miller, B., Sirguey, P., Slooten, E., & Dawson, S. (2011). Measuring body length of male sperm whales from their clicks: The relationship between inter-pulse intervals and photogrammetrically measured lengths. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130(1), 568-573. doi: 10.1121/1.3578455

Elliott, R. G., Dawson, S. M., & Henderson, S. (2011). Acoustic monitoring of habitat use by bottlenose dolphins in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 45(4), 637-649. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2011.570351

Rayment, W., Dawson, S., Scali, S., & Slooten, L. (2011). Listening for a needle in a haystack: Passive acoustic detection of dolphins at very low densities. Endangered Species Research, 14, 149-156. doi: 10.3354/esr00356

Morisaka, T., Karczmarski, L., Akamatsu, T., Sakai, M., Dawson, S., & Thornton, M. (2011). Echolocation signals of Heaviside's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129(1), 449-457. doi: 10.1121/1.3519401

Rayment, W., Clement, D., Dawson, S., Slooten, E., & Secchi, E. (2011). Distribution of Hector's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) off the West Coast, South Island, New Zealand, with implications for the management of bycatch. Marine Mammal Science, 27(2), 398-420. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00407.x

Currey, R. J. C., Dawson, S. M., Schneider, K., Lusseau, D., Boisseau, O. J., Haase, P. A., & Slooten, E. (2011). Inferring causal factors for a declining population of bottlenose dolphins via temporal symmetry capture—recapture modeling. Marine Mammal Science, 27(3), 554-566. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00417.x

Webster, T., Dawson, S., & Slooten, E. (2010). A simple laser photogrammetry technique for measuring Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) in the field. Marine Mammal Science, 26(2), 296-308. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2009.00326.x

Rayment, W., Dawson, S., & Slooten, L. (2010). Use of T-PODS for acoustic monitoring of Cephalorhynchus dolphins: A case study with Hector's dolphins in a marine protected area. Endangered Species Research, 10(1), 333-339. doi: 10.3354/esr00189

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