[MARMAM] new publication - Abundance of bottlenose dolphins in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (Errol Ronje)

Errol Ronje errol.ronje at gmail.com
Thu Sep 10 12:39:48 PDT 2020


Dear MARMAM community, please note a new publication is available:

"Abundance and Occurrence of Common Bottlenose Dolphins (*Tursiops
truncatus*) in Three Estuaries of the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico"

The publication is open-access and available online at this link:
https://aquila.usm.edu/gcr/vol31/iss1/9/

Abstract:

Current abundance estimates for populations of common bottlenose
dolphins (*Tursiops
truncatus*, Montagu, 1821) in bays, sounds, and estuaries are lacking
throughout most of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (GOM), including areas
of Texas and western Louisiana. To address this issue, we conducted 92
small—boat photographic identification surveys covering ~2000 km2 and
comprising ~11,000 km of track—line in winter and summer seasons in West
Bay, TX (2014—2015, n = 25), the Galveston Bay, TX system (2016, n = 50),
Sabine Lake, TX (2017, n = 17), and adjacent coastal waters. Individual
dolphin encounter histories were constrained by spatiotemporal parameters
to approximately represent 1) a “Bay” estimate of individuals limited to
the interior of each embayment, and 2) a “Selective” estimate of the number
of individuals in each survey area (including nearshore coastal waters),
filtered for potential transient dolphins. Using the Selective dataset,
estimated bottlenose dolphins (95% CI) were (winter and summer,
respectively) 38 (29—47) and 37 (33—40) for West Bay, 842 (694—990) and
1,132 (846—1,417) for Galveston Bay, and 122 (73—170) and 162 (114—210) for
Sabine Lake. A range of 4—15% of marked individuals in each study area were
identified as inter—bay matches. These results provide new insights on the
potential spatial range of each population, update previous abundance
estimates for West Bay and Galveston Bay, and contribute novel population
information for Sabine Lake and adjacent coastal waters of the northwestern
GOM.
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