[MARMAM] New publication on injuries in small cetaceans in the southern Caribbean

Jolanda Luksenburg j.luksenburg at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 20 03:19:08 PST 2014

Dear colleagues,

I am happy to announce the publication of my paper on injuries in small cetaceans in the southern Caribbean: 

Luksenburg JA (2014) Prevalence of External Injuries in Small Cetaceans in Aruban Waters, Southern Caribbean. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088988

Aruba, located close to the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela, is one of 
the most densely populated islands in the Caribbean and supports a wide 
range of marine-related socio-economic activities. However, little is 
known about the impacts of human activities on the marine environment. 
Injuries in marine mammals can be used to examine interactions with 
human activities and identify potential threats to the survival of 
populations. The prevalence of external injuries and tooth rake marks 
were examined in Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) (n = 179), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) (n = 76) and false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) (n = 71) in Aruban waters using photo identification techniques. Eleven injury 
categories were defined and linked to either human-related activities or natural causes. All injury categories were observed. In total, 18.7% of all individuals had at least one injury. Almost half (41.7%) of the 
injuries could be attributed to human interactions, of which fishing 
gear was the most common cause (53.3%) followed by propeller hits 
(13.3%). Major disfigurements were observed in all three species and 
could be attributed to interactions with fishing gear. The results of 
this study indicate that fishing gear and propeller hits may pose 
threats to small and medium-sized cetaceans in Aruban waters. Thus, 
long-term monitoring of population trends is warranted. Shark-inflicted 
bite wounds were observed in Atlantic spotted dolphin and bottlenose 
dolphin. Bite wounds of cookie cutter sharks (Isistius sp.) 
were recorded in all three species, and include the first documented 
record of a cookie cutter shark bite in Atlantic spotted dolphin. This 
is one of the few studies which investigates the prevalence of injuries 
in cetaceans in the Caribbean. Further study is necessary to determine 
to which extent the injuries observed in Aruba affect the health and 
survival of local populations.

The paper can be downloaded here:

Best wishes,
Jolanda Luksenburg, PhD
Affiliate Professor
George Mason University
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
E: j.luksenburg at yahoo.com
W: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jolanda_Luksenburg/
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