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SAPPHIRE Project Begins

The Spinner Dolphin Acoustic Population Parameters and Human Impacts Research Project, also known as the SAPPHIRE Project, began in Summer 2010. The Spinner Dolphin Acoustics, Population Parameters and Human Impacts Research (SAPPHIRE) Project is a joint project between Duke University and Murdoch University. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Marine Mammal Commission and DolphinQuest fund the project.

The SAPPHIRE Project aims to address knowledge gaps with an integrative research program to assess distribution, abundance, and behavior of Hawaiian spinner dolphins in proposed closure areas using a suite of visual and acoustic techniques. These include boat-based photo-identification, focal follows and behavioral sampling, theodolite tracking and acoustics.

Project PIs

  • Dr. David W. Johnston: Research Scientist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. See his faculty website for details.

PhD Students

  • Field Team Leader: Julian Tyne: PhD candidate from Murdoch
  • Heather Heenehan: PhD student from Duke University

Masters Students

  • Demi Fox- Duke University
  • Liza Hoos- Duke University
  • Megan O’Toole- Duke University, O’Toole’s Master’s Project can be read here:
  • Heather Heenehan-Duke University, Heenehan’s Master’s Project can be read here:

Many thanks to all of the research assistants, field managers and volunteers including Kim New (Research Assistant Aug 2010 to Sep 2011 and Field Manager Feb 2011 to July 2011), John Symons (Research Assistant April 2011 to July 2012 and Field Manager Feb 2012 to July 2012) and (in no particular order) Bob Gladden, Stacia Goecke, Isabel Baker, Marie Chapla-Hill, Kate Sprogis, Sarah Deventer, Robyn Smith, Meghan White, Laura McCue, Pepper Pothier, Merra Howe, Kelsey Lane, Martin Durham, Destiny Archambault, Alison Greggor, Kaja Wierucka, Shannon Jones, Crystal Kulcsar, Brigid McKenna, Krista Nicholson, Sharon Chan, Miriam Battye, Laura Ceyrac, Tasha Boerst, Sarah Willey, Amy Brossard, Nicole Penkowski, Laura Bray and Virginie Wyss.

Please see the following websites for even more information about the SAPPHIRE Project

  2010  /  Science  /  Last Updated October 9, 2012 by Heather Heenehan  /