The Dolphin Research Institute has been conducting research about Victoria’s dolphin populations since 1991. The ethical, transparent and collaborative approach to our work has made DRI the leader in the field of marine conservation research and education in Victoria.

Research- Sue photoing

Why do research?

To properly conserve and value a species, you must first build a solid understanding of it. DRI’s aim has always been to use robust research methods to ask and answer important conservation-based research questions about Victoria's dolphins. Using these questions and methods, we have built a strong understanding of the resident dolphin populations in Victoria. This knowledge base and extensive dataset has formed a solid foundation for a range of Honours, Masters and PhD projects. It also provides crucial expertise to assist with management decisions, the development of wildlife regulations and to influence decision making at the ministerial level.

One of the most valuable results from our research has been establishing the world's first 'sustainable dolphin swim' regulations in 1996. These regulations changed the way in which this industry operated and set the standard for other similar industries around the world. The regulations behind this change remain in place today, a testament to the robustness of the work done at the time by DRI. 

So why do we do the research? To understand how to best manage and conserve our unique dolphin populations. And to provide opportunities to develop the next generation of marine mammal scientists in Victoria.

This is a citizen science program on the Mornington Peninsula. The waiting list is currently full.

Two species of dolphins can be found inshore along the Victorian coastline. Find out more about them here.

Report your sightings here. Not just for dolphins and whales - we welcome all sightings of marine visitors.

See here for DRI research publications. DRI researchers first presented scientific research findings in 1996 about the dolphin swim industry.

Limited opportunities are available. We cannot offer placements to international students.

Dolphins are a protected species in Victoria under the Wildlife Act, 1975. A set of regulations has been developed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to regulate boat traffic around all cetaceans in Victorian coastal waters, including Port Phillip. These regulations apply to ALL vessels (with the exception of some commercial dolphin tours that operate under separate conditions of permit). Institute researchers spend a lot of time educating the community about these regulations.

Approach Distances for Marine Mammals in Victoria, DELWP

DELWP-Approach distances 2015

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2016 W4WP
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