The Namibian Dolphin Project | Sara Golaski

Student Profiles

Sara Golaski, University of Pretoria 2013-2014

For her MSc thesis, Sara will be analysing 5 years of photo-ID data on Heaviside’s dolphins to investigate abundance, trends and population structure of this species in Namibia.

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I grew up on the coast of Maine in the United States experiencing what it means to live near, and interact with the ocean. This closeness to the ocean along with a natural curiosity led me to pursue marine research. Marine mammals are a group that I became particularly drawn to studying. I completed my undergraduate degree in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic with a strong focus on marine biology. Throughout my time there, I volunteered with Allied Whale, a non-profit marine mammal research group based at the college. For my senior thesis, I examined acoustic recordings from the central Gulf of Maine to determine seasonality of sei whale occurrence and diel patterns in sei whale vocalizations. After interning with the NDP in 2012 in Luderitz, I am now beginning my masters degree at the University of Pretoria examining population ecology of Heaviside’s dolphins along the Namibian coast.

Professional History

2008-2013 BA in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic, ME, USA.  Senior thesis on “Sei whale’s use of the Outer Fall region of the Gulf of Maine”

2008-2012: Volunteer with “Allied Whale”, including assisting with matching humpback whale flukes to NA catalogue, boat transects, deployment of MARU’s, attending seal and cetacean strandings

2010-2012: Research Assistant at Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse – Offshore research station. Theodolite tracking of vessels and cetaceans, seal counts, construction and maintenance of island buildings, collection of acoustic and behavioural data from fin and humpback whales

2011: Intern with Sarasota Dolphin Research Project. Boat based photo ID, fishing surveys, photo ID matching and database entry.