Karen A Stockin

Karen A Stockin
Massey University · School of Natural Sciences

PhD in Zoology; MSc in Marine & Fisheries Science

About

207
Publications
37,520
Reads
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2,168
Citations
Introduction
Professor (Massey University); Research Leader (Cetacean Ecology Research Group), Inaugural Strandings Coordinator (International Whaling Commission), Rutherford Discovery Fellow (Royal Society Te Aparangi). My research focus specifically examines human influences that affect marine mammal populations, with particular focus on the conservation-welfare nexus that occurs when interacting with marine mammals. For more information on our team refer to www.cetaceanecology.org
Additional affiliations
October 1999 - March 2001
University of Aberdeen
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (207)
Article
Full-text available
Climate impacts affect marine ecosystems worldwide with island nations such as New Zealand being extremely vulnerable because of their socio-economic and cultural dependence on the marine and costal environment. Cetaceans are ideal indicator species of ecosystem change and ocean health given their extended life span and cosmopolitan distribution, b...
Article
Prey detection and subsequent capture is considered a major hypothesis to explain feeding associations between common dolphins and Australasian gannets. However, a current lack of insight on nutritional strategies with respect to foraging behaviours of both species has until now, prevented any detailed understanding of this conspecific relationship...
Article
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Species occurring in sympatry and relying on similar and limited resources may partition resource use to avoid overlap and interspecific competition. Aotearoa, New Zealand hosts an extraor- dinarily rich marine megafauna, including 50% of the world’s cetacean species. In this study, we used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes as ecological tracers...
Article
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Despite the known benefit of considering welfare within wildlife conservation and management, there remains a lack of data to inform such evaluations. To assess animal welfare, relevant information must be captured scientifically and systematically. A key first step is identifying potential indicators of welfare and the practicality of their measur...
Article
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Wildlife management can influence animal welfare and survival, although both are often not explicitly integrated into decision making. This study explores fundamental concepts and key concerns relating to the welfare and survival of stranded cetaceans. Using the Delphi method, the opinions of an international, interdisciplinary expert panel were ga...
Article
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are tools used to ensure management best practice during emergency incidents including wildlife interventions, such as cetacean strandings. The compromised state of stranded cetaceans means humane end-of-life decisions may be considered, and SOPs frequently guide this process. This study evaluated SOPs for end-o...
Article
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Generating accurate estimates of group sizes or behaviours of cetaceans from boat-based surveys can be challenging because much of their activity occurs below the water surface and observations are distorted by horizontal perspectives. Automated observation using drones is an emerging research tool for animal behavioural investigations. However, dr...
Article
Knowledge of population biological parameters can contribute to assessing the resilience of a population in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures. Southern Hemisphere long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas edwardii) are susceptible to high rates of live stranding-related mortality. However, the biological parameters of this populatio...
Article
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Cetacean strandings provide important opportunities to extend current knowledge on species or populations, particularly for species that are notoriously difficult to study such as sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus; parāoa). Between 25 May and 9 June 2018, 13 male sperm whales stranded in Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, with an additional male st...
Article
Profiles of 33 PFAS analytes and 12 essential and non-essential trace elements were measured in livers of stranded common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) from New Zealand. PFAS concentrations reported were largely comparable to those measured in other marine mammal species globally and composed mostly of long-chain compounds including perfluorooctanes...
Article
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Here we provide a first assessment of microplastics (MPs) in stomach contents of 15 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) from both single and mass stranding events along the New Zealand coast between 2019 and 2020. MPs were observed in all examined individuals, with an average of 7.8 pieces per stomach. Most MPs were fragments (77%, n = 90) as oppos...
Article
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The study of cetacean strandings was globally recognised as a priority topic at the 2019 World Marine Mammal Conference, in recognition of its importance for understanding the threats to cetacean communities and, more broadly, the threats to ecosystem and human health. Rising multifaceted anthropogenic and environmental threats across the globe, as...
Article
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Population genomic data sets have enhanced power to detect cryptic and complex population structure and generate valuable information for the conservation and management of wildlife species. Globally, killer whales (Orcinus orca) are considered to have a complex population structure due to their ability to specialize in a variety of ecological nich...
Article
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Integrating welfare principles into conservation strategy is an emerging synthesis that encourages consideration of individual animals’ quality of life in research, policies and law. However, these principles have gained limited traction in marine compared to terrestrial animal conservation. This manuscript investigates several factors that may be...
Article
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The compromised state of stranded cetaceans means that euthanasia is often required. However, current knowledge and implementation of euthanasia methods remain highly variable, with limited data on the practicalities and welfare impacts of procedures. This study evaluated the available published data on cetacean euthanasia, highlighting knowledge g...
Article
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Marine mammals can play important ecological roles in aquatic ecosystems, and their presence can be key to community structure and function. Consequently, marine mammals are often considered indicators of ecosystem health and flagship species. Yet, historical population declines caused by exploitation, and additional current threats, such as climat...
Article
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An understanding of population structure and connectivity at multiple spatial scales is required to assist wildlife conservation and management. This is particularly critical for widely distributed and highly mobile marine mammals subject to fisheries by-catch. Here, we present a population genomic assessment of a near-top predator, the common dolp...
Article
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Cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand is now over 30 years old and has experienced substantial growth in visitor numbers and operations. The industry is remarkably diverse, targeting several dolphin and whale species, and encompassing varied habitats in coastal waters, fiords and submarine canyons. The knowledge and experience collected over the...
Article
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The distribution of marine mammal species in many areas remains poorly understood, especially as observations for some taxa are rare and large-scale surveys are time consuming and extremely costly. Here, we present 36 records of 7 cetacean species (Balaenoptera brydei, B. musculus subspp., Delphinus delphis, Globicephala sp., Grampus griseus, Physe...
Data
This is an infographic showing the main results of Peters et al. 2020 in MEPS
Article
Full-text available
Dolphins are among the largest and most diverse predators in marine ecosystems, but our understanding of their foraging ecology, which is crucial for ecosystem management, is poor. Delphinus delphis (common dolphins) are found in tropical and temperate waters globally. Stomach content studies indicate they are opportunistic predators that feed loca...
Article
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
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Two ecotypes of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) occur in New Zealand waters: a widely studied Nationally Endangered coastal ecotype and a little‐known oceanic ecotype. Site fidelity and association patterns of the oceanic ecotype, and home range overlap with the coastal ecotype, are examined from photo‐identification records coll...
Article
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Understanding how animals use the space in which they are distributed is important for guiding management decisions in conservation, especially where human disturbance can be spatially managed. Here we applied distribution modelling to examine common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) habitat use in the Hauraki Gulf (36°S, 175°E), New Zealand. Given the known...
Article
Full-text available
Conservation monitoring of highly mobile species in relatively inaccessible habitats presents a considerable challenge to wildlife biologists. Effective conservation strategies require knowledge of cetacean ecology that is often challenging and expensive to obtain. Despite their caveats, stranding data represent an underused resource to study the l...
Poster
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Historical stranding records were used to assess spatio-temporal patterns of strandings on the New Zealand coast between 1873 and 2018. A total of 591 sperm whales stranded during 277 independent events. Using sex, season and location, potential spatio-demographic trends were evaluated. Both sexes stranded throughout all austral seasons and along a...
Article
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Knowledge of proximate (causation and development) and ultimate (evolution and survival function) causes of gregariousness is necessary to advance our knowledge of animal societies. Delphinids are among the most social taxa; however, fine-scale understanding of their intra-specific relationships is hindered by the need for underwater observations o...
Article
The majority of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) undertake an annual migration from high latitude feeding grounds to tropical/subtropical breeding grounds. Suitable calving habitat for this species includes warm (typically 19°C to 28°C), shallow, sheltered waters in tropical and subtropical waters. Here, we investigated occurrence of calvin...
Article
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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) represent a novel and cost effective research tool to investigate cetacean behaviour, as conventional aircraft are expensive, limited in the altitude they can fly at and potentially disturb sensitive wildlife. In addition, the aerial observation from the UAVs allows assessment of cetacean behaviour from an advantageo...
Article
Male reproductive biology is described for the Southern Hemisphere long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas edwardii), a subspecies that regularly mass strands along the New Zealand coastline. Ten mass stranding events sampled over a 7-year period enabled assessments of key life history parameters. Sexual maturation in immature, maturing, and ma...
Article
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Increasingly, human activities, including those aimed at conserving species and ecosystems (conservation activities) influence not only the survival and fitness but also the welfare of wild animals. Animal welfare relates to how an animal is experiencing its life and encompasses both its physical and mental states. While conservation biology and an...
Article
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Conservation strategies to sustain endangered green turtle Chelonia mydas populations must categorise and mitigate a range of anthropogenic threats. This study provides first insights into some of the adverse effects of anthropogenic activities on green turtles at a foraging area in New Zealand. Gross necropsies were conducted on 35 immature and su...
Article
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Dolphin photo-identification has traditionally relied only on distinctive markings on the dorsal fin-this is problematic for delphinids whose populations exhibit a low mark ratio. We used common dolphins (genus Delphinus) as a model species to assess the viability of using pigmentation for photo-identification. Using a photo-identification catalogu...
Article
Full-text available
Population parameters of poorly marked gregarious species are difficult to estimate. This is the case for common dolphins (Delphinus sp.), a genus known for its lack of distinctive marks resulting in a low mark ratio. Furthermore, the widespread nature of common dolphins results in low recaptures. We developed reliable photo-identification protocol...
Data
Survey tracks (black lines) of tour and research vessels for each year (a) and season (b) in the inner Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. (DOCX)
Data
Definitions of age-classes recorded for common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand [1]. (DOCX)
Data
Photographic quality (PQ) categories used to examine adult common dolphin images in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Images were classified as: a) poor; b) fair; c) good, or; d) excellent quality. (DOCX)
Data
Sample sizes (n, the number of high-quality photographs for highly distinctive (D1), distinctive (D2) and non-distinctive (D3) individuals) and proportions of marked individuals (θ^) used to estimate either the seasonal or super-population abundance of common dolphins using the Hauraki Gulf between 2010 and 2013. Here nTotal represents the sum of n...
Data
Results of goodness of fit (GOF) tests conducted in U-CARE 2.02 in a Cormack-Jolly-Seber framework for adult common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) photo-identified between January 2010 and December 2013 in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Results are also included from the global test (GT; test 2+3). GOF tests were conducted for highly distinctive individu...
Data
Nick/notch depth categories used to examine adult common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) images in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Individuals were classified as having either minor or major nicks/notches [4]. (DOCX)
Data
Cumulative discovery curve (black line) indicating the number of newly identified adult common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) between January 2010 and December 2013 in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, including a 1:1 slope (grey line) as if all individuals documented were new additions to the catalogue. (DOCX)
Data
Description of attribute criteria used to examine the photographic quality (PQ) of common dolphin images in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. Images were assessed according to focus, exposure, orientation, and visible percentage (adapted from [2–3]). When assessing quality criteria each attribute was considered independently to avoid bias/contradictio...
Article
Full-text available
1.Our understanding of the niche concept will remain limited while the quantity and range of different food types eaten remains a dominant proxy for niche breadth, as this does not account for the broad ecological context that governs diet. Linking nutrition, physiology and behaviour are critical to predict the extent to which a species adjusts its...
Article
Full-text available
Species conservation depends on robust population assessment. Data on population abundance, distribution, and connectivity are critical for effective management, especially as baseline information for newly documented populations. We describe a pygmy blue whale Balaen - optera musculus brevicauda population in New Zealand waters with year-round pre...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Two forms of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) are known to occur in New Zealand waters: a widely studied nationally endangered coastal form and a little known oceanic form. Despite reported morphological differences, the two forms are considered to be taxonomically identical. Oceanic bottlenose dolphin minimum home-ranges, site fi...
Presentation
Full-text available
A blue whale foraging ground was recently documented in the South Taranaki Bight (STB) region of New Zealand (NZ), yet blue whales remain listed as ‘Migrant’ under the NZ threat classification system due to minimal knowledge of their ecology and population. We collected relevant data to fill pressing knowledge gaps, leading us to hypothesize that b...
Article
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ABSTRACT: Bryde’s whales Balaenoptera edeni in New Zealand are classified as ‘nationally critical’ according to the New Zealand Threat Classification System. In the Hauraki Gulf, Bryde’s whales occur year round and are subject to ship-strike mortality events. Photo-identification surveys were conducted to estimate local abundance, apparent survival...
Article
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Burrunan dolphins Tursiops australis are frequently targeted by tourism operations in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. This study aimed to provide first insights into whether swim-with-dolphin vessels in Port Phillip Bay affect the behaviour of Burrunan dolphins via the use of Markov chain models. The presence of swim-with-dolphin vessels affected dolp...
Article
Full-text available
Short-term measures of behavioural responses of cetaceans to tourism operations have been used in many studies to interpret and understand potential long-term impacts of biological importance. The short-beaked common dolphin ( Delphinus delphis ) is the species most frequently observed in the Azores and constitutes an important component of the mar...
Article
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly used to protect marine mammals from anthropogenic threats despite limited studies that assess their efficacy. The small population of Burrunan dolphins (Tursiops australis) that inhabit Port Phillip Bay (PPB), Australia, are genetically isolated, listed as threatened and are exposed to dolphin-swim tou...
Article
Full-text available
Multi-sensor biologgers are a powerful method for studying individual behaviors of free-ranging species, yet the challenges of attaching non-invasive biologgers to agile, fast-moving marine species have prohibited application of this technique to small (<5 m) cetaceans. Integration of video cameras into such biologgers is critical to understanding...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Visual recognition of cetacean individuals may significantly assist research aimed at examining the behaviour and ecology of marine mammals. Photo-identification traditionally involves the manual extraction of identifying features in images and manual matching of individuals via visual inspection. However, when study populations increase or include...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While several computer software programs have been developed for automatic matching of marine species, the user is still required to manually localise and extract the identifying features from digital images. We used common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) as a model species to assess how computer vision methods may assist in individual identification for...
Article
Full-text available
Despite being endangered internationally and protected nationally, little consideration has been given to the occurrence of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in New Zealand. New Zealand lies on the southern boundary of the distributional range of green turtles in the southwestern Pacific, with individuals found within these waters historically conside...