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Dr Rochelle Constantine

Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Phone: +64 (0)9 373-7599 ex 85093, Fax: +64 (0)9 373-7417 , E-Mail:

I am interested in applied behavioural ecology, in particular, the effects of tourism on dolphin behaviour and conservation of large whale populations. My research has been primarily concentrated on the population size, home range, habitat use and effects of swim-with and dolphin-watching tourism on bottlenose dolphin population using the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. This study was initiated in late 1993 and has resulted in a number of graduate student theses on the social associations, genetic relatedness and demographics of this dolphin population. I am now focusing the research on testing hypotheses about social group structure and its role in spatio-temporal changes in habitat use in the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf. In addition I will be continuing a long-term study on the impacts of tourism on bottlenose dolphin behaviour examining the effectiveness of permit changes to the dolphins’ responses to swimmers and boats.

I have also been studying the humpback whales throughout the South Pacific (in particular Tonga and New Zealand) since 1995 in collaboration with Prof. Scott Baker and the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium. This research has concentrated on using capture-recapture methods to determine population size and ranging behaviour, molecular markers to understand the genetic relatedness of these recovering populations of whales and acoustics (in collaboration with Dr Mike Noad at the University of Queensland) to understand the dissemination of song throughout the Oceania region.

More recently my interests have expanded to include research on Bryde’s whales in the Auckland and Northland regions; part of a long-term project based at the University of Auckland since 1995. We are using GIS (ArcView) and photo-identification to determine the ranging patterns of these non-migratory whales, and collecting skin samples to determine the molecular ecology of this whale population that ranges around northern New Zealand. Most of this research relies on collaborations with a number of scientists (both in New Zealand and overseas), government agencies, tour operators and non-government organisations.

Refereed Journal Articles post 2002 - see the lab’s publications page

Refereed Journal Articles pre 2002

  • Constantine, R. 2001. Increased avoidance of swimmers by wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) due to long-term exposure to swim-with-dolphin tourism. Marine Mammal Science, 17(4): 689-702.
  • Constantine, R., I. Visser, D. Buurman, R. Buurman & B. McFadden. 1998. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation on dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Marine Mammal Science, 14(2): 334-320.

Book Chapters

  • Constantine, R. & Bejder, L. (2008). Managing the whale-and dolphin watch industry: Time for a paradigm shift. In: J.E.S. Higham and M. Lück (Eds). Marine Wildlife and Tourism Management: Insights from the Natural and Social Sciences. Oxford, CABI International Publishing, 321-333.
  • Constantine, R. (2008). Whale watching. In: M. Lück (Ed). Encyclopedia of Tourism and Recreation in Marine Environments. Oxford, CABI International Publishing,
  • Constantine, R. (2008). Swim-with-dolphins programmes. In: M. Lück (Ed). Encyclopedia of Tourism and Recreation in Marine Environments. Oxford, CABI International Publishing.
  • Constantine, R. (2008). Dusky Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). In: S. Van Dyck and R. Strahan (eds.) The Mammals of Australia. Sydney, Reed New Holland, 850-851.
  • Samuels, A., L. Bejder, R. Constantine & S. Heinrich. 2003. A review of swimming with wild cetaceans with a specific focus on the Southern Hemisphere. In: Marine mammals and humans: towards a sustainable balance (N. Gales, M. Hindell and R. Kirkwood Eds.). CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia. pp. 277-303.
  • Constantine, R. & S. Yin. 2003. Swimming with dolphins in New Zealand. In: Between species: a celebration of the dolphin – human bond (T. Frohoff and B. Peterson Eds.). Sierra Club Books, San Francisco. pp. 257-263.
  • Constantine, R. 2002. Folklore and legends. In: The Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals (W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and J.G.M Thewissen Eds.). Academic Press, San Diego. pp. 448-450.


  • Constantine, R., D.H. Brunton & C.S. Baker. 2003. Effects of tourism on behavioural ecology of bottlenose dolphins of northeastern New Zealand. Department of Conservation Science Internal Series 153. Department of Conservation, Wellington. pp 26.
  • Constantine, R. 1999. The effects of tourism on marine mammals: A review of literature relevant to managing the industry in New Zealand. Science for Conservation Series, 106. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand, pp: 60.
  • Constantine, R. & C.S. Baker. 1997. Monitoring the commercial swim-with-dolphin operations in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Science & Research Series No. 104. Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand. pp.54.