[MARMAM] New Publication: nocturnal movements & habitat use of estuarine bottlenose dolphins

Liz Hartel lizhartel at gmail.com
Fri May 1 10:09:52 PDT 2020

Dear MARMAM community,

My coauthors and I are pleased to announce a new publication on the
nocturnal movements of bottlenose dolphins.

Hartel, E.F., Noke Durden, W. & O’Corry-Crowe, G. Testing satellite
telemetry within narrow ecosystems: nocturnal movements and habitat use of
bottlenose dolphins within a convoluted estuarine system. *Anim
Biotelemetry* *8*, 13 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40317-020-00200-4

The article can be found here:


Background: While cetaceans have been extensively studied around the world,
nocturnal movements and habitat use have been largely unaddressed for most
populations. We used satellite telemetry to examine the nocturnal movements
and habitat use of four bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) from a
well-studied population in a complex estuary along the east coast of
Florida. This also enabled us to explore the utility of satellite tracking
on an apex predator within a very narrow and convoluted ecosystem. Our
objectives were to evaluate (1) nocturnal home ranges and how individual
dolphins moved within them, (2) nocturnal utilization of habitats
surrounding ocean inlets, (3) nocturnal movements outside of the
population’s known range (i.e., the study area), and (4) nocturnal use of
select environmental variables.

Results: Satellite tags were active between 129 and 140 days (136 ± 4.99)
during nocturnal hours (summer/fall 2012), yielding 3.3 ± 1.4 high-quality
transmissions per night. Results indicated substantial individual variation
among the four tagged dolphins, with home ranges varying in length from
53.9 to 83.6 km (x̅ = 71.9 ± 12.9). Binomial tests and MaxEnt models
revealed some dolphins preferred habitats surrounding inlets, seagrass
habitats, and various water depths, while other dolphins avoided these
areas. All dolphins, however, showed substantial movement (x̅ = 5.8 ± 7.4
km) outside of the study area, including travel into rivers/canals and the
adjoining ocean (6.0–8.6% and 0.8–2.9% of locations per dolphin,

Conclusions: This study was the first to utilize satellite telemetry on
Indian River Lagoon dolphins and provided the first detailed insights into
the nocturnal movements and habitat use of this population. Our findings
suggest that while individual dolphin home ranges may overlap, they use
different foraging strategies, feed on different prey, and/or exhibit
intraspecific resource partitioning. In contrast with a prior study, all
tagged dolphins showed considerable movement into the adjoining ocean and
freshwater sources. This suggests this population has a much larger range
than previously thought, which is important to consider for future research
and conservation efforts.

Thank you,

Liz Hartel
Seven Degrees of Mapping LLC
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