[MARMAM] New publication: Association patterns and population dynamics of bottlenose dolphins in the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea): implication for management

Elena Papale elena.papale at iamc.cnr.it
Thu Nov 17 05:34:12 PST 2016

Dear Colleagues,
We are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper:

"Association patterns and population dynamics of bottlenose dolphins  
in the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea): implication for  
Papale E., Ceraulo M., Giardino G., Buffa G., Filiciotto F., Grammauta  
R., Maccarrone V., Mazzola S., Buscaino G.
Population Ecology  DOI 10.1007/s10144-016-0566-x

A PDF version of the paper is available online at:


or via email request to: elena.papale at iamc.cnr.it


An understanding of the population dynamics and social organization of  
cetaceans is essential to manage the influence of anthropogenic  
activities. In this study, the population size, site fidelity and  
social interactions of bottlenose dolphins in the Strait of Sicily  
(Italy) were investigated to provide recommendations for their  
conservation. Mark-recapture analysis was based on the encounter  
histories of 103 marked dolphins from 2004 to 2015. The POPAN  
formulation of the Jolly?Seber model in MARK software was used to  
estimate the size of the superpopulation. Site fidelity and social  
organization were estimated for individuals re-sighted ?3 times. The  
estimated population size was 140 (SE = 15.75; 95% CI = 106?164).  
Dolphins had low site fidelity, and both adults and sub-adults move  
outside the study area. Females with calves used the area longer than  
other individuals. Based on our results, dolphins? home range likely  
extended beyond the study area. The mean value of the Half-Weight  
Association Index was low and the preferred association was by casual  
acquaintance. However, we found a distinct aggregation of  
post-parturition females during the final 2 years of the study.  
Therefore, the pattern of association was apparently a response to an  
ecological requirement, which was the possibility to breed in high  
productivity waters. Whether these individuals are part of a larger  
pelagic population is unknown; however, we can conclude that the  
management of only coastal waters is insufficient for the conservation  
of dolphins in the Strait of Sicily.


Elena Papale, PhD
Institute for Coastal Marine Environment
National Research Council
Via del Mare 3
91021 Torretta Granitola (TP)
elena.papale at iamc.cnr.it
elenabiancapapale at gmail.com

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