[MARMAM] New publication on bottlenose dolphin reproductive success in Doubtful Sound, NZ

Tom Brough tom.broughnz at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 11:19:57 PST 2016

Kia ora Marmam,

On behalf of my co-authors I'm pleased to announce a new publication on
female reproductive success in the bottlenose dolphin population of
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. The study is published with Endangered Species
Research and can be accessed online here:


Alternatively, feel free to request a copy from me at tom.brough at otago.ac.nz
The abstract of the study is given below,

Warm regards,
Tom Brough

*PhD Candidate*
*Marine Mammal Research Group*
*Department of Marine Science*
*University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ*

Factors influencing heterogeneity in female reproductive success in a
Critically Endangered population of bottlenose dolphins
T. E. Brough1,*, S. Henderson1,2, M. Guerra1, S. M. Dawson1
1Marine Mammal Research Group, Department of Marine Science, University of
Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
2Department of Biology, Tacoma Community College, 6501 South 19th Street,
Tacoma, Washington 98466, USA
*Corresponding author: tom.brough at otago.ac.nz

ABSTRACT: For threatened species or populations, variation in reproductive
success among females may be explicitly linked with vulnerability to
extinction. Thus, an understanding of factors that may cause variability in
reproductive success is important. The population of bottlenose dolphins in
Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, has a recent history of rapid population
decline and low calf survival rates. A previous study has shown high
variability in calf survival among multiparous females. This study
addresses the factors that seem most important in explaining variation in
calf survival and thus reproductive success among females in this
population. Reproductive data were sourced from a long-term
photo-identification dataset, which allowed tracking the fate of 49 calves
born into the population between 1995 and 2012. General linear mixed models
combined with model averaging were used to assess how birth timing,
maternal size, age and potential anthropogenic impacts contributed to
variation in calf survival. Models show that a female’s size and her
ability to give birth at an optimum time in the calving season are
significant predictors of calf survival to an age of 1 and 3 yr. This is
the first study to demonstrate how birth timing and mother size are
correlated with female reproductive success in a cetacean species. These
results confirm the importance of demographic stochasticity and
reproductive heterogeneity in small, threatened marine mammal populations
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