In the last two decades there has been a rapid growth in nature tourism, including boat-based whale and dolphin watching. As a consequence, coastal cetaceans have been increasingly exposed to boats and noise. Doubtful Sound (Fiordland, New Zealand) is home to a small resident population of 62 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and is also a hotspot for tourism, with boat cruises running year round in the fiord.
As part of her MSc thesis, Marta Guerra spent a year making acoustic recordings and observing the dolphins' behaviour to understand how they are affected by the presence and noise of tour boats.
These findings suggest that elevated boat noise affects communication, and that groups with calves are particularly sensitive to boat presence and noise.