Dr Franklin's research focus is the population dynamics and migratory interchange of the humpback whales in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. He is also a Director of The Oceania Project (see below). His research provided the first evidence that the humpback whales utilising Hervey Bay may be a sub-group of the eastern Australian (E1) humpback whale population and that the stopover may contribute to high rates of increase in abundance observed in Hervey Bay compared to other populations. Humpback whales from Hervey Bay are shown to use complex migratory pathways to and from Antarctic feeding areas, are involved in low levels of migratory interchange with nearby populations and, his research provided the first evidence that eastern Australian humpbacks use the southern waters of New Zealand en-route to and from Antarctic feeding areas. His work is making a direct contribution to the management and conservation of the eastern Australian humpback whales.
Wally has been involved in humpback whale research for 20 years and has undertaken the management and marine operations of The Oceania Project since its inception in 1988. With Trish Franklin, he is Co-Principal Investigator on The Oceania Project's long-term study of humpback whales in Hervey Bay.