Project Burrunan

Researching our resident Burrunan dolphins

The Marine Mammal Foundation’s ‘Project Burrunan’ is the only research program of its kind in Australia, with a special focus on the newly described dolphin species, the Burrunan dolphin.

With small estimated population sizes, limited gene flow, and increasing threatening processes, the species is of high conservation concern and in 2021 was listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. In order to establish greater protection and conservation, we need address a number of data deficiencies.

The specific aims of the project are to assess the species distribution and range; gain estimates of overall population size and status; assess the level of gene flow; and importantly the risk of extinction. Project Burrunan also investigates the potential anthropogenic threatening processes, noise, vessels and toxicants, via existing and new innovative technologies. Our multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach will further inform management and policy for greater conservation of the species.

Themes and Local Areas

Primary Theme:Native animals
Other Themes:Marine environments
Primary Local Area:Port Phillip Bay
Other Local Areas:Western Port
Project location:In Port Phillip Bay and Western Port
Scale of the project:One place
New or continuing work:New project/work

Project partners

Lead organisation:Marine Mammal Foundation
Key partners:Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), RMIT University, Deakin University, Curtin University
Registered Aboriginal Party/s relevant to the project or its area:Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Investment opportunities

Opportunities for investors within this project start from:$ (Thousands of dollars)
Estimated scale of investment for full project implementation:$$$ (Hundreds of thousands of dollars)
Estimated timeframe for full project implementation:2-10 years

Contribution toward targets

Primary Regional Catchment Strategy target:Marine habitat – The extent and health of the various marine habitat types in Port Phillip Bay is retained and improved from 2021 to 2050.

Native Animals – Wild populations of all threatened native animal species in the region are retained and their populations are self-sustainable, secure, healthy and resilient.
Relevant Biodiversity 2037 goal:Protect or assist one or more critically endangered or endangered species/community of native vegetation or native animal
Relevant National Landcare Program priority:

More information

Marine Mammal Foundation