You are here: Home / People / Research staff / Dr Susan Sobtzick

Dr Susan Sobtzick

Susan Sobtzick.png

Senior Research Scientist
Coastal and Estuarine Ecology, TropWATER

Research Officer, Minke Whale Project, James Cook University, 2006-2012
Project Manager (dugong aerial surveys), James Cook University, 2011-current

PhD, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, 2010
Diploma, Marine Biology, Rostock University, Germany, 2005

Email: Susan.Sobtzick@jcu.edu.au
Phone: +61 7 4781 5379
Publications

 

 

 

 

 

Research Interests

My PhD research focused on population demographics of dwarf minke whales that are involved in swim-with programs in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Using underwater photo-identification, my study was able to provide first insights into dwarf minke whale population size and structure. The findings will assist with the conservation of these whales and the sustainable management of whale watching tourism.

More recently, my research focused on dugongs along the east coast of Queensland and effects of extreme weather events on local populations. Aerial surveys using a mark-recapture approach provide data that allow quantifying dugong distribution and relative abundance which inform policy for managing dugong populations locally and nationally.

Recent Research Projects

  • Dugong and turtle aerial surveys in Onslow (Murdoch University), Torres Strait and Queensland (James Cook University and Australian Marine Mammal Centre)
  • Minke Whale Project (James Cook University)
  • Understanding the social and economic values of Key Marine Species in the Great Barrier Reef James Cook University and Commonwealth Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility

 

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Fuentes, M. M. P. B., Bell, I., Hagihara, R., Hamann, M., Hazel, J., Huth, A., Seminoff, J. A., Sobtzick, S., and Marsh, H. 2015. Improving in-water estimates of marine turtle abundance by adjusting aerial survey counts for perception and availability biases. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 471, 77-83.

Marsh, H., Grayson, J., Grech, A., Hagihara, R., & Sobtzick, S. 2015. Re-evaluation of the sustainability of a marine mammal harvest by indigenous people using several lines of evidence. Biological Conservation192, 324-330.

Dunstan, A., Sobtzick, S., Birtles, A. and Arnold, P. 2007. Size estimation and population demographics of dwarf minke whales in the northern Great Barrier Reef. The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 9(3), 215-223.

Arnold, P., Birtles, A., Sobtzick, S., Matthews, M. and Dunstan, A. 2005. Gulping behaviour in rorqual whales: underwater observations and functional interpretation. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 51(2):309-332. Brisbane, ISSN 0079-8835.

 

Reports

Sobtzick, S., Hagihara, R., Penrose, H., Grech, A., Cleguer, C., and Marsh, H. 2014. An assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugongs in the Northern Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait. Report to the National Environmental Research Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Limited, Cairns, August 2014 (72pp.).

Sobtzick, S., Grech, A., Coles, R., Cagnazzi, D., and Marsh, H. 2013. Status of the dugong in the Gladstone area. A Report for Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited for Project CA 120017: Monitoring of Dugongs, Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) Publication, James Cook University, Townsville, 37 pp.

Sobtzick, S., Hagihara, R., Grech, A. and Marsh, H. 2012. Aerial survey of the urban coast of Queensland to evaluate the response of the dugong population to the widespread effects of the extreme weather events of the summer of 2010-11. Final report to the Australian Marine Mammal Centre and the National Environmental Research Program.

Birtles, A., Valentine, P., Curnock, M., Mangott, A., Sobtzick, S., & Marsh, H. 2010. Report to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on the Dwarf Minke Whale Tourism Monitoring Program (2003-2008). GBRMPA, Townsville, Australia.

Birtles, A., Stoeckl, N., Valentine, P., Curnock, M., Sobtzick, S. & Farr, M. (2010). Final Reports to the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre on the Commonwealth MTSRF Task 4.8.6 (a): Understanding the social and economic values of key marine species in the Great Barrier Reef, and (c) Key marine species in the GBR: Issues, impacts and sustainable management. James Cook University, Townsville, 14 June 2010.

 

Conference presentations and posters

Sobtzick, S., Birtles, A. & Marsh, H. 2009. First insights into population demographics of dwarf minke whales involved in swim-with activities, using a photo-identification network. 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (Poster presentation), 12-16 Oct 2009, Quebec, Canada.

Birtles, R. A., Valentine, P.S., Curnock, M., Mangott, A., Sobtzick, S. & Marsh, H. 2008. Managing the swimming-with-dwarf minke whales tourism industry in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: developing collaboration between managers, industry and researchers. Australian Protected Areas Congress (APAC), 24-28 November 2008. Sunshine Coast, QLD

Sobtzick, S. 2008. Evaluating the potential of whalewatching tourists to provide robust data for photo-identification of dwarf minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata subspecies) in the Great Barrier Reef. SEES Research Student Conference, James Cook University, Townsville, 12 Nov 2008.

Sobtzick, S., Birtles, A. & Marsh, H. 2007. Evaluating the potential of whalewatching tourists to provide robust data for photo-identification of dwarf minke whales in the Great Barrier Reef. 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (Poster presentation), 29 Nov to 3 Dec 2007, Cape Town, South Africa.

Birtles, A., Arnold, P., Valentine, P., Curnock, M., Mangott, A. & Sobtzick, S. 2006. Research for sustainable management of Australian dwarf minke whales. Presentation for the CRC Reef Forging Partnerships Workshop, James Cook University, Townsville, 25-26 July 2006.

Sobtzick, S., Birtles, A., Arnold, P. & Dunstan, A. 2006. Colour patterns and photo-identification of dwarf minke whales. Poster presented at the National Cetacean Conference. Adelaide. February 2006

Sobtzick, S., Dunstan, A., Birtles, A. & Arnold, P. 2006. Size estimation and population demographics of dwarf minke whales in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Poster presented at the National Cetacean Conference. Adelaide. February 2006

Birtles, A., Arnold, P., Valentine, P., Curnock, M., Mangott, A. & Sobtzick, S. 2006. Research for sustainable management of Australian dwarf minke whales – Insufficient information? Presentation at the Whale Research Priorities Conference. Adelaide. February, 21, 2006

Other

Sobtzick, S. 2010. Dwarf minke whales in the northern Great Barrier Reef and implications for the sustainable management of the swim-with whales industry. PhD thesis, James Cook University, Townsville.

Birtles, A., Arnold, P., Curnock, M., Salmon, S., Mangott, A., Sobtzick, S., Valentine, P., Caillaud, A. & Rumney, J. 2008. Code of Practice for dwarf minke whale interactions in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Australia.

Sobtzick, S. 2005 Underwater videogrammetry and its application to estimate body lengths of dwarf minke whales in Great Barrier Reef waters. Diploma thesis, University of Rostock, Germany.

TropWater Logo

 

 

Twitter
Water Quality Laboratory

WQ Lab portlet photo

Our Friends

Affiliated Websites.gif