Dr Guido Parra Vergara

Senior Lecturer

College of Science and Engineering

place Biological Sciences (154)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
Dr. Parra is a senior lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences where he leads (together with Dr. L. Moller) the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL). He is also currently part of 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 acts as the primary cetacean ecologist.

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.
  • 2005 - PhD. Natural Resource Management. James Cook University
  • 2001 - MSc. Natural Resource Management (upgraded to a PhD in 2001). James Cook University
  • 1995 - BSc. Biology. Universidad de los Andes.
Honours, awards and grants
  • 2011. Flinders University Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Research Award.
  • 2006 - 2009. Postdoctoral Fellowship. University of Queensland.
  • 2007. University of Queensland Early Career Research Award.
  • 2007. Travel Award for International Collaborative Research. University of Queensland.
  • 2005 - 2006. Postdoctoral Fellowship. CRC Reef Research Centre, James Cook University.
  • 2003. Postgraduate Conference Travel Award. CRC Reef Research Centre.
  • 2001 -2004. International Postgraduate Research Award. James Cook University.
  • 2001. Postgraduate Conference Travel Research Award. James Cook University.
  • 1999 - 2001. Postgraduate Studies Award. Fundaci&ón Para el Futuro de Colombia (Foundation for the Future of Colombia).
  • 1998. Scholarship to attend the course: 'Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation'. Valencia, Spain. European Cetacean Society and Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo.
Key responsibilities
  • Research Leader: Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL)
  • Topic Coordinator and Lecturer: Biology of Marine Mammals, Birds and Reptiles
  • Lecturer: Introduction to Animal Behaviour
  • Lecturer: Research in Animal Behaviour
  • Lincoln Marine Science Centre Operational Committee, Vessel Operations Committee, and Space Committee
Research expertise
Environmental science and management
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.

Teaching interests
My teaching interests are in the areas of animal behavior, ecology,and conservation biology
Topic coordinator
BIOL3751 Marine Mammals, Birds and Reptiles
BIOL2711 Ecology
Topic lecturer
BIOL3751 Marine Mammals, Birds and Reptiles
BIOL1711 Introduction to Animal Behaviour
BIOL3721 Research in Animal Behaviour
BIOL2711 Ecology
Supervisory interests
Animal behaviour
Conservation biology
Dolphins, behaviour, ecology and evolution
Whales, behaviour, ecology and evolution
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Spatial ecology of Burrunan’s dolphin (Tursiops australis): ecological and anthropogenic influences (1), Population size, habitat use and social structure of Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) around the North West Cape, Western Australia. (1)
Associate supervisor: Social dynamics and genetic structure of the Burrunan’s dolphin (Tursiops australis) (1), Evaluation of different management approaches to reduce bycatch of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and Australian snubfin dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni) in Queensland, Australia (1), Ecology and social structure of the endemic southern Australian bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops australis) in Adelaide’s metropolitan waters (1), Ecology of Indo-Pacific Humpback Sousa chinensis and Australian snubfin Orcaella heinsohni dolphins in the Northern Territory, Australia (1)
Associate supervisor: Foraging ecology and population structure of inshore bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops aduncus, in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Nikki Zanardo

AMSA-SA best presentation award at the AMSA-SA 7th Annual Symposium, Adelaide - OCT 2012

Ina Ansmann

Best student presentation award at European Cetacean Society Conference, Cadiz Spain. - MAR 2011

Expert for media contact
Dolphins and whales: ecology, behaviour and conservation
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Behaviour
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Wildlife
  • Dolphins and whales: ecology, behaviour and conservation