[MARMAM] New publication on rough-toothed dolphin diving behavior

Jacquelyn Shaff jacquelynshaff at gmail.com
Mon Apr 12 21:48:19 PDT 2021

Dear MARMAM community,

We are pleased to share our recent publication:

Shaff JF, Baird RW. Diel and lunar variation in diving behavior of
rough-toothed dolphins (*Steno bredanensis*) off Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi. Mar Mam
Sci. 2021;1–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12811

Observational studies describe rough-toothed dolphins (*Steno bredanensis*)
actively foraging during the day on epipelagic species. Using data from
depth-transmitting satellite tags deployed on nine individuals off Kauaʻi,
we investigated diving behavior and the effects of lunar phase and solar
light levels on vertical movements. Overall, tagged rough-toothed dolphins
primarily used near-surface waters, spend- ing between 83.6% and 93.7% of
their time in the top 30 m of the water column. When diving, grand mean,
median, and maximum dive depths were 76.9 m, 67.5 m, and 399.5 m, although
individuals were in water with depths from approximately 700–1,450 m. Dive
rates varied by time of day, being lowest during the day and at dawn and
highest at dusk and night. Dives were deepest (M = 133.7 m, SD = 52.6 m,
median = 106.5 m) and longest (M = 4.0 min, SD = 0.4 min, median = 4.0 min)
at dusk, suggesting dolphins were taking advantage of prey rising to the
surface in response to reduced light levels. Lunar phase indirectly
affected diving, with deeper and longer dives occurring with increasing
illumination. The variations in dive behavior across solar and lunar cycles
indicate diving patterns shift based on the distribution of prey.

For more information on our Hawaiʻi research efforts:

Kind regards,
Jacquelyn Shaff

Jacquelyn Shaff
Graduate Student Research Assistant
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
University of Washington
jacquelynshaff at gmail.com
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