Environmental characterization of seasonal trends and foraging habitat of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in northern Gulf of Mexico bays

Miller, Cara E. and Baltz, Donald M. (2010) Environmental characterization of seasonal trends and foraging habitat of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in northern Gulf of Mexico bays. Fishery Bulletin, 108(1), pp. 79-86.

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Abstract

A description of the foraging habitat of a cetacean species is critical for conservation and effective management. We used a fine-scale microhabitat approach to examine patterns in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) foraging distribution in relation to dissolved oxygen, turbidity, salinity, water depth, water temperature, and distance from shore measurements in a highly turbid estuary on the northern Gulf of Mexico. In general, environmental variation in the Barataria Basin marine environment comprises three primary axes of variability (i.e., factors: temperature and dissolved oxygen, salinity and turbidity, and distance and depth) that represent seasonal, spatial-seasonal, and spatial scales, respectively. Foraging sites were differentiated from nonforaging sites by significant differences among group size, temperature, turbidity, and season. Habitat selection analysis on individual variables indicated that foraging was more frequently observed in waters 4–6 m deep, 200–500 m from shore, and at salinity values of around 20 psu. This fine-scale and multivariate approach represents a useful method of exploring the complexity, gradation, and detail of the relationships between environmental variables and the foraging distribution patterns of bottlenose dolphin.

Item Type: Article
Title: Environmental characterization of seasonal trends and foraging habitat of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in northern Gulf of Mexico bays
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Miller, Cara E.
Baltz, Donald M.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 108
Number: 1
Page Range: pp. 79-86
Date: 2010
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 8769
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2012 09:01
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2014 19:15
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/8769

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