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Marinna’s Story

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A story of survival – and detective work

We first sighted Marinna in October 2012 as a very young calf with her mother, Jean (Below). They are part of a unique community of common dolphins that live in Port Phillip. Everywhere else in the world common dolphins live in the open ocean.

When she was only four, a severe injury to her back nearly ended her short life. The image from 2017 (below) shows the massive scar left after a year of healing.

Marinna’s ability to heal, fight off infection and keep up with other dolphins is a testament to her resilience – and healthy environment.

We don’t know whether her close call was due to another animal or a vessel.

Then in 2021, something incredible happened!

Marinna became a Mum! 

See Marinna with her curious calf in 2022 (below).  Apart from the wound to her back, you can identify Marinna from the long, curved, dark mark on the right side of her fin.

Marinna’s calf is one of the first born into the third generation since they entered Port Phillip in 2005. There are now six calves of this new generation.

The success of mothers and calves is critical knowledge about the health of dolphin communities. In many parts of the world, including Australia, calves do not survive beyond two years.

Future impacts from rapidly changing climate and population growth make the Institute’s long-term research crucial to detecting changes in our dolphins – before it’s too late.

The detective work to discover Marinna’s survival and her ‘third-generation’ calf was thanks to the painstaking efforts of our 2022 Research Fellows, Leanne and Ella. They analysed tens of thousands of images to track Marinna back to 2012 and her mother, Jean, back to 2007.

The Research Fellow program provides young scientists with a start to their careers and contributes to our ability to achieve impacts for our dolphins and whales.

Your gift to the ‘Future Generations’ Appeal will support young researchers and ensure that crucial up-to-date knowledge about the health of Marinna’s community of dolphins can influence environmental managers.

We cherish your support and commit to achieving the most significant impact for dolphins, whales, and the community.

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