Maui’s dolphin: uncovering a new subspecies

Adam N. H. Smith
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd. (NIWA)

Hector's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori) are the smallest and rarest marine dolphin in the world. Two geographically separated populations of Hector's dolphin exist: one on the west coast near Auckland and one around the South Island. In 2002, I was asked to help uncover whether the North Island population was a separate subspecies from the larger South Island population, following a study that showed considerable genetic differences between them. To address this question, we examined the skulls of Hector's dolphins held by various museums around the country to compare the two populations. The North Island dolphins were shown to be sufficiently distinct in head size and shape to those from the South Island to be recognised as a new subspecies, Maui's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui). Here, I will demonstrate some exploratory analysis of the skull data that were used in this study, focusing primarily on graphical methods.

Session 1d, Statistics Education Resources: 16:00 — 16:20, Room 446

Presentation Program