Biology & Life History
Effective conservation management is dependent on an accurate understanding of the species being managed. Animal life history studies collect data on age, body size, physical and sexual maturity, and feeding ecology from individuals. These data are used to characterise how species’ allocate resources to growth, reproduction, and survival. Such knowledge is essential for the conservation and management of wild populations.
Under this research theme, the CERG team collects life history data by observing individual animals directly via photo-identification and tagging studies, or by post-mortem sampling of stranded animals to obtain such things as teeth for aging, body length measurements for quantifying growth rates, gonads for determining reproductive condition, and stomach contents for describing diet.
Current projects in this theme are providing invaluable biological information on cetacean population structure, growth, survivorship, mortality, diet, and reproductive biology to management agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand.