Survey 192 volunteers on Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures –  Dashwood Bay, Kangaroo Island

It’s been a busy, crazy wonderful year with great fun and wonderful outcomes, shared with great friends, old and new!

The exciting new year kicks off with ongoing land and boat based surveys and workshops, and our presentation “What IS it about dolphins?”  to the 2nd Australian Citizen Science Association Conference in Adelaide in February. We are looking forward to sharing our Citizen Science project in this fantastic forum, in wonderful inspiring and uplifting company.

Our grateful thanks to our partners, sponsors, supporters and volunteers of all ages for another wonderful year of Citizen Science in our region.     Happy New Year!

What IS it about dolphins? 

Engaging Citizen Scientists in valuable research through an iconic species…..dolphins!


Introducing Citizen Scientists to an iconic, much loved species, employing easy to use, world’s best practise methodologies to monitor dolphins and collect data of enormous significance, generates extraordinary community interest in becoming involved. Over 12 years of longitudinal Dolphin Watch research in regional South Australian waters, a large number of volunteers of all ages have participated in highly valued research outcomes.

Elements including multi entry level access, valuing and true egalitarianism which characterise this inspiring, award winning project, have seen it readily adapted to multiple sites. The use of photographic identification techniques to capture / recapture dorsal fin images is very appealing because of its simplicity and high success rate.

Intrinsic health benefits of being involved in the natural word, particularly with respect to the advantages provided by exposure to the ocean are obvious in the enthusiasm of participating volunteers and the extensive benefits to the community accordingly.

Experiences on, in and under the water promote health and wellbeing. US Marine Biologist W. J. Nichols theorises being in or around the ocean lowers levels of neurotransmitters which relay stress signals to the brain, creating a mildly meditative state and sense of general happiness. A. Cochrane and K. Callen refine this to interactions with dolphins in “Dolphins and their power to heal” – Bloomsbury 1992.

The project has the added benefit of citizen volunteers being able to be involved in higher levels of scientific understanding, analysing and cataloguing their data – an enriched experience not always available to Citizen Science projects.

Tony Bartram

Kangaroo Island / Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch Coordinator

#citsci2018   #australiancitizenscienceassociation  @kivhdolphinwatch

Survey 81 volunteers on The Big Duck – Victor Harbor