Associate Professor Guido Parra Vergara

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Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Biography

Guido is originally from Colombia where he conducted his BSc in Biology at Universidad de los Andes. He migrated to Australia in 1999 to conduct his PhD at James Cook University studying the behavioural ecology of Australian Snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. After his PhD he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at James Cook University and The University of Queensland investigating different aspects of the ecology, behaviour and population genetics of coastal dolphins.

He joined the Marine Innovations South Australia (MISA) programme through a joint position between Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI - Aquatic Sciences) where he acted as the primary cetacean ecologist between 2009 and 2014. Since 2014, he has been at Flinders University full-time where he leads the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL).

Research Interests

I have broad research interest in population ecology, behavioural ecology and conservation biology. My research seeks to understand the evolution and the mechanism underlying marine mammal ecology, behaviour and evolution and uses concepts and methods from these fields to address pressing conservation issues. I use a variety of methods, including behavioural observations of known individuals, Geographic Information Systems, ecological modelling, social networks, and genetics and use mainly wild dolphin populations as models for my studies. This integrative approach is important and necessary to address the big questions (i.e. Why?), to explain data in the context of the bigger picture and to improve our capacity to effectively conserve and manage wild populations of marine mammals.

Supervised Students Successes

  • Jul 2018 Nikki Zanardo - Best poster presentation award on marine vertebrate research at the Australian Marine Sciences Association Conference
  • May 2018 Cecilia Passadore - International Scholarship Award from the Society for Conservation GIS
  • Nov 2017 Cecilia Passadore - Conservation Leadership Programme Award to attend Interantional Congress for Conservation Biology
  • Oct 2012 Nikki Zanardo - AMSA-SA best presentation award at the AMSA-SA 7th Annual Symposium, Adelaide
  • Mar 2011 Ina Ansmann - Best student presentation award at European Cetacean Society Conference, Cadiz Spain.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Ecology and behaviour of inshore dolphins (5)
Associate Supervisions:
  • Behavioural ecology of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins (1)
  • Socio-genetic structure of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins (1)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Ecology and conservation

Supervisory Interests

  • Animal behaviour
  • Whales, behaviour, ecology and evolution
  • Dolphins, behaviour, ecology and evolution
  • Conservation biology


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