Photo-id of bottlenose dolphins

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Monitoring of bottlenose dolphins in coastal Ireland using photo-id has been carried out by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group since 2005 ( To date over 200 incdividual dolphins have been recorded with a very high re-sighting rate. These dolphins are part of a highly mobile inshore population which has been recorded all around the Irish coast and in Scottish waters. This project aims to create a catalogue in FinBase ( and analyses these data including movements, site fidelity and associations as well as to derive an abundance estimate using mark-recapture. There will be opportunities to contribute to photo-id projects in Ireland both in the Shannon Estuary and inshore but an extensdive dataset is already available to fill those long, dark wintry nights in Galway. The student will be based at the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre in the Galway-Masyo Institute of Technology ( References: IJsseldijk, L., Berrow, S., O’Brien, J., Whooley, P. and Ryan, C. (2012) Inshore bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Ireland use the entire Irish coastline. 26th European Cetacean Society Conference, Galway, Ireland. O’Brien, J.M., Berrow, S.D., Ryan, C, McGrath, D., O’Connor, I., Pesante, P., Burrows, G., Massett, N., Klötzer, V. and Whooley, P. (2009) A note on long-distance matches of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) around the Irish coast using photo-identification. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1), 71-76. Robinson, K.P., O’Brien, J.M., Cheney, B., Mandleberg, L., Eisfeld, S., Ryan, C., Whooley, P., Oudejans, M.G., O’Donovan, M., Berrow, S.D., Costa, M., Haberlin, D., Stevick, P.T. and Thompson, P.M. (2012) Discrete or not so discrete: Long distance movements by coastal bottlenose dolphins in UK and Irish waters. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 12(3), 365-371.
Number of students: 
academic year: 
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Dr Simon Berrow
Other people involved: 
Dr Joanne O'Brien and Isabel Baker (PhD candidate)
Reference Number: RP-36192