[MARMAM] New Publication: Short-term Effects of Hurricane Harvey

Kristi F kfazioli at gmail.com
Mon May 25 12:59:50 PDT 2020

Dear Colleagues,
We are pleased to share our new article published in the 'Impact of 2017
Hurricanes' Special Issue of Estuaries and Coasts entitled "Short-term
Effects of Hurricane Harvey on Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in
Upper Galveston Bay, TX"

Fazioli, K., and  V. Mintzer. 2020. Short-term Effects of Hurricane Harvey
on Bottlenose Dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) in Upper Galveston Bay,
TX. *Estuaries
and Coasts*.

Shareable full-text link: https://rdcu.be/b4mY7

>From August 26 to 30, 2017, Hurricane Harvey inundated the Galveston Bay
estuary in Texas with record-breaking rainfall. As a result, salinity
levels in the bay declined rapidly from an average of 14 to < 1 ppt,
altering aquatic habitat in the weeks following the storm. Long-term
photo-identification monitoring efforts provided an opportunity to
undertake a case study describing the effects of this extreme flood event
on the bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) inhabiting upper
Galveston Bay. We compared dolphin encounter rates for the months preceding
and following Harvey to a year with no hurricane, examined shifts in
habitat-based encounter rates, and evaluated the prevalence and extent of
dolphin skin lesions, typically presenting as ulcerated or degraded
epidermis. Encounter rates decreased from 1.09 dolphins per linear
kilometer (d/km) in August 2017 before Harvey to 0.29 d/km in September
2017 (compared to 0.85 d/km in August 2016 and 0.91 d/km in September
2016). While most dolphins evacuated the upper portion of the bay, many
remaining dolphins shifted habitats from shallow open bay to deep channels
where salinity increased with depth. Of the dolphins that were sighted in
the upper bay during the low salinity event, 96% exhibited at least one
lesion and 65% of those dolphins had lesions of medium or high extent
(significant increases compared to pre-Harvey levels). After salinity
returned to levels above 11 ppt (approximately 8 weeks after Harvey),
encounter rates increased and extent of lesions decreased, but prevalence
of lesions remained elevated for at least 4 months after Harvey.

Please feel free to reach out to myself  (fazioli at uhcl.edu) or my co-author
(vmintzer at galvbay.org) with questions or to obtain a pdf copy of the

Thank you,

Kristi Fazioli
Research Associate
Environmental Institute of Houston
University of Houston - Clear Lake
Galveston Bay Dolphin Research Program
Fazioli at uhcl.edu
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