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Publications - Simon Berrow

Project Officer, Dr Simon Berrow, has an extensive publication record including studies on birds, sharks and marine mammals. See

The most recent papers published by the SDWF are:

Levesque, S., Reusch, K., Baker, I., O’Brien, J. and Berrow, S. (2016) Photo-Identification of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Tralee Bay and Brandon Bay, Co. Kerry: A Case for SAC Boundary Extension. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.orgLink to external site: 10.3318/BIOE.2016. 11.

The Lower River Shannon is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) with bottlenose dolphins as a qualifying interest, and is one of only two SACs for this species in Ireland. Bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon Estuary are present year-round and genetically discrete from other populations in Ireland. They have regularly been reported from Tralee Bay and Brandon Bay, Co. Kerry, adjacent to the Lower River Shannon SAC boundary. In order to determine the provenance of these dolphins, photo-identification data collected between 2008 and 2016 from both bays were used to identify individuals and match them to existing bottlenose dolphin catalogues in Ireland. Bottlenose dolphins were observed on over 90%of the 13 trips carried out,with photo-identification data collected on 11 of these trips. A total of 70 individual dolphins were identified, of which 67 have been regularly recorded within the Lower River Shannon SAC, confirming them to be from this population. Shannon dolphins represented an average of 98% of dolphins photographed during each survey. Of the estimated 108 individual adult dolphins extant in the Shannon population, 62% were identified in Brandon Bay and/ or Tralee Bay during the study period. A discovery curve of individuals identified did not reach a plateau, suggesting that not all dolphins occurring in these bays were photographed during the study. Results suggest that these areas are of high importance to the Shannon dolphin population and support the need to extend the current boundary of the Lower River Shannon SAC to include Brandon Bay and Tralee Bay.

Barker, J. and Berrow, S. (2015) Temporal and spatial variation in group size of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy

Bottlenose dolphin group size is known to be determined by food availability, social interactions and predator defence. This paper analyses data gathered over seven years from dolphin tour boats operating in the Shannon Estuary and examines whether there were any temporal or spatial trends in group size of the resident group of bottlenose dolphins in the region. Findings indicate that dolphin group size varied significantly between years (ANOVA, F4.55, P0.0001), and increased during the months of July, September and October (ANOVA, F8.921, PB0.0001). Findings also reveal that group size of dolphins encountered in the middle part of the estuary was greater than the outer or inner estuary (ANOVA, F  4.176, P B 0.001). The seasonal change in group size is thought to be primarily caused by dolphins switching to different prey species.

Claire Kelly (2012) Reflective practice for marine planning A case study of marine nature-based tourism partnerships. Marine Policy 2012.pdf
Download PDF file (784 KB)

Shannon Dolphin Abundance Estimate
paper in Aquatic Mammals
Download PDF file (580 KB)

Mirimin et al (2011) Fine scale genetic structuring Animal Conservation.pdf
Download PDF file (347 KB)


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The SDWF is supported by the following agencies... Shannon Development Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Marine Institute Clare County Council Kilrush Urban District Counil
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