Dr Joanna Wiszniewski

PhD supervisors: Dr L Moller & Prof L Beheregaray

Broadly, my research interest focuses on behavioural ecology, population genetics and conservation biology. I am particularly interested in the social behaviour and male mating strategies of marine mammals and the evolutionary processes that shape population structure of these species.

My post-doc project at Flinders University examined the population structure of sperm whales in Australian waters using contemporary samples that were collected from stranded and live animals, and historical samples dating back 50-60 years. A large set of DNA markers (including microsatellites, SNPs and mtDNA control region) was then used to assess the level of population structure and dispersal patterns of Australian sperm whales.

My PhD research at Macquarie University considered of three components. The first part followed on from my Honours project and involved examining the genetic structure of bottlenose dolphin communities along the entire New South Wales coast. The second and third components were focused in Port Stephens where I investigated the role of relatedness, sex and ecological factors on the social network structure and conducted a paternity study to examine male mating strategies. 

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Research Experience

– Research and Conservation Coordinator, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Nov 2010 –

– Postdoctoral fellow, Flinders University, Adelaide, Mar – Oct 2010

– PhD in Biology, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2006 – 2010

– BMarSc (Hons), Macquarie University, Sydney, 2001 – 2004


– Wiszniewski J, Corrigan S, Beheregaray LB, Möller LM (2012) Male reproductive success increases with alliance size in a population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). Journal of Animal Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2011.01910.x

– Wiszniewski J, Brown C, Möller LM (2012) Complex patterns of male alliance formation in a dolphin social network. Journal of Mammalogy 93,

– Spindler R, Wiszniewski J (2012) Research in Zoos. In Zoo Technology (ed. Irwin M, Stoner J, Cobaugh A). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

– Wiszniewski J, Lusseau D, Möller LM (2010) Female bisexual kinship ties maintain social cohesion in dolphin network. Animal Behaviour 80, 895-904

– Wiszniewski J, Möller LM, Allen SJ, Beheregaray LB (2010) Environmental and social influences on the genetic structure of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Southeastern Australia. Conservation Genetics 11, 1405-1419

– Wiszniewski J, Allen SJ, Möller LM (2009) Social cohesion in a hierarchically structured embayment population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Animal Behaviour 77, 1449-1457

– Möller, LM, Wiszniewski J, Allen SJ, Beheregaray LB (2007) Habitat type promotes rapid and extremely localised differentiation in dolphins. Marine and Freshwater Research 58, 640-648