Md. Hafiz All Hosen

Qualifications

BSc (Fisheries), 2010 Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University (Dinajpur, Bangladesh)

MSc (Fisheries Management), 2012, Bangladesh Agricultural University (Mymensingh, Bangladesh)

Research interests and expertise

Ecotoxicology, Fisheries Biology, Ecology and Management

Thesis title

Linking Humpback Whale Chemical Exposure to Effect: Taxon-Specific In-Vitro Toxicity Assessment

Project description

Cetaceans are at the greatest risk of accumulating lipophilic chemicals due to their longevity and high proportion of body fat. Despite this, taxa-specific toxicological effect data is lacking due to the logistical constraints of working with large, free swimming species. Mammals in negative energy balance are particularly vulnerable to the toxicological effects of lipophilic contaminant burdens as fat store depletion merely remobilises and concentrates the associated chemical burden. In this context, humpback whales, which fast seasonally for extended periods, may be at elevated risk. This project will deliver taxa-specific chemical effect data using a ‘tool-box’ of in-vitro approaches, thus facilitating improved cetacean chemical risk assessment.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash - Principal Advisor

Professor Fred Leusch - Associate Advisor

Valeria Casa

Qualifications

BSc (Marine Biology), 2011, University of Palermo (Sicily, Italy)

MSc (Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability), 2013, University of Siena (Tuscany, Italy)

Research interests and expertise

Marine Biology, Zoology, Cell Biology, In-vitro cell culturing, Ecotoxicology

Thesis title

Accumulation of Emerging Chemicals and Their Associated Toxicity in Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Project description

Skin and blubber biopsies obtained from marine megafauna represent a useful tool to evaluate environmental chemical pollution. Further, cell cultures from tissues can be derived to provide powerful in-vitro tools for species-specific chemical exposure assessments. This project will investigate novel chemical profiles in the blubber of southern hemisphere humpback whales and will utilise the team-derived HuWa fibroblast cell line for toxicity analysis.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash - Principal Advisor

Dr. Roger Cropp, Dr. Deanne Whitworth, Professor Kristin Schirmer - Associate Advisors

Jasmin Gross

Qualifications

BSc (Marine Biology), 2013, James Cook University Townsville (Australia)

MSc (Marine Biology), 2015, University of Bremen (Germany)

Research interests and expertise

Marine Biology, Marine Mammals, Marine Ecology, Crustacean Biology

Thesis title

The Feeding Ecology of Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales (Megaptera Novaeangliae)

Project description

The classical feeding model for southern hemisphere (SH) humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) assumes high fidelity feeding on Antarctic krill (Euphusia superba) in the Austral summer, interspersed with extended migrations and voluntary fasting. However, recent research has shown that some SH humpback whales supplement their diet by feeding at temperate latitudes or at higher trophic levels in Antarctic waters. Whether the departure from a classic Antarctic feeding model is a common behaviour exhibited by a majority of SH humpback whales, an opportunistic behaviour demonstrated by a minority, or indeed whether the dietary plasticity in these populations remains highly responsive to Antarctic climatic conditions remains unknown. This project aims to assess whether there is inter-annual variability among individuals of the same SH humpback whale population over a 10-year period, and if there are differences in dietary signals among three distinct breeding populations.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash - Principal Supervisor

Professor Michele Burford - Associate Supervisor

Dr Andy Revill, Dr Patti Virtue - External Supervisors

Raphael Mayaud

Qualifications

BSc (Marine Biology), 2014, University of Liverpool, UK

MSc (Ocean Science), 2016, University of Southampton, UK

Research interests and expertise

Marine Biology, Marine Megafauna, Anthropogenic Impacts

Thesis title

Assessing the increasing cost of maritime disturbance to migrating humpback whales

Project description

Collision between maritime vessels and whales can cause serious injury and mortality to cetaceans and has been identified as a leading threat to whale populations worldwide.

Knowledge gaps surround the seasonal distribution and habitat utilisation of coastal waters, by humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), in high marine traffic areas of Australia. Moreton Bay, which forms the entry to the Port of Brisbane, has been identified by the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy as an area of concern due to the high co-occurrence of vessel traffic and seasonally high whale numbers. This project seeks to quantify inter-annual humpback whale distribution and habitat use of Moreton Bay, and produce a detailed risk assessment of the threat of vessel strike.

Furthermore, maritime traffic can lead to an increase in chronic disturbance. For nursing calves, such disturbances could have lifetime fitness consequences. As such, the project will investigate  the ecological significance of Moreton Bay as a nursing ground, as well as the costs of chronic disturbance.

Project outcomes will inform the development of effective mitigation strategies for the region.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash - Principal Supervisor

Dr. Tim Stevens - Associate Supervisor

Dr David Peel, Dr Joshua Smith - External Supervisors

Zali Brookes

Qualifications

BSc (Marine Biology), 2013, James Cook University Townsville (Australia)

MSc (Marine Biology), 2015, University of Bremen (Germany)

Research interests and expertise

Marine Biology, Marine Mammals, Marine Ecology, Crustacean Biology

Thesis title

The Feeding Ecology of Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales (Megaptera Novaeangliae)

Project description

The classical feeding model for southern hemisphere (SH) humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) assumes high fidelity feeding on Antarctic krill (Euphusia superba) in the Austral summer, interspersed with extended migrations and voluntary fasting. However, recent research has shown that some SH humpback whales supplement their diet by feeding at temperate latitudes or at higher trophic levels in Antarctic waters. Whether the departure from a classic Antarctic feeding model is a common behaviour exhibited by a majority of SH humpback whales, an opportunistic behaviour demonstrated by a minority, or indeed whether the dietary plasticity in these populations remains highly responsive to Antarctic climatic conditions remains unknown. This project aims to assess whether there is inter-annual variability among individuals of the same SH humpback whale population over a 10-year period, and if there are differences in dietary signals among three distinct breeding populations.

Supervisors

Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash - Principal Supervisor

Professor Michele Burford - Associate Supervisor

Dr Andy Revill, Dr Patti Virtue - External Supervisors

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