Bayesian Analysis of Hector's Dolphins

Ruth King and Stephen P. Brooks

Universities of St. Andrews and Cambridge


In recent years there have been increasing concerns for many wildlife populations, due to decreasing population trends. This has led to the introduction of management schemes to increase the survival rates and hence the population size of many species of animals. We concentrate on a particular dolphin population situated off of the coast of New Zealand, and investigate whether the introduction of a fishing gill net ban was effective in decreasing dolphin mortality. We undertake a Bayesian analysis of the data, in which we quantitatively compare the different competing biological hypotheses, determining the effect of the sanctuary upon the dolphin population.


Capture-recapture; Posterior model probabilities; Management schemes; Markov chain Monte Carlo.

Appeared as King, R. and Brooks, S.P. (2004) "Bayesian Analysis of Hector's Dolphins". Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 27 pp 343-354.