[MARMAM] New publication on dolphins in estuaries from Australia

Christine Fury cfury10 at scu.edu.au
Wed Nov 26 17:41:14 PST 2008

Hi Folks,

The following paper is now available online from 
Marine and Freshwater Research at 
or by emailing me for the pdf (cfury at scu.edu.au):

Abundance, site fidelity and range patterns of 
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops 
aduncus) in two Australian subtropical estuaries. 
Marine and Freshwater Research 59, 1015–1027.

by Christine Fury and Peter Harrison


Bottlenose dolphins are widely studied in marine 
habitats, but information on estuarine 
populations is very limited. The present study 
provides the first published data on bottlenose 
dolphins in Australian estuaries. Abundance 
estimates, site fidelity and individual ranging 
patterns were examined over a 3-year period for 
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops 
aduncus) inhabiting the Clarence River (CR) and 
Richmond River (RR) estuaries in northern New 
South Wales, Australia. Mark–recapture analyses 
estimated 71 (62–81 95% CI) dolphins utilised the 
CR whereas 34 (19–49 95% CI) used the RR. 
Differences in site fidelity were observed 
between the estuaries, with 60% and 37% of 
identified dolphins determined as residents, 26% 
and 21% as occasional visitors and 14% and 42% as 
transients for the CR and RR respectively. 
Resource partitioning was apparent in both 
estuaries with the mean distance resident 
dolphins were found upstream from the river mouth 
being greater than occasional visitors and 
transients. The Clarence River sustains a larger, 
predominantly resident dolphin community compared 
with the Richmond River, which supports a 
relatively small dolphin community with lower 
site fidelity. Management of future increased 
anthropogenic disturbances is needed to ensure 
the long-term survival of these dolphin populations.

Keywords: closed population, estuary, population 
size, ranging patterns, residency patterns

Christine Fury ;-)
Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre
Southern Cross University
P.O. Box 157, Lismore, N.S.W. Australia, 2480
Mobile 0408-264-330
Ph. +61 2 6620-3815
Fax. +61 2 6621-2669
Webpage: http://www.scu.edu.au/research/whales/christine.html

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