[MARMAM] New paper

Michelle Caputo michellecaputo3 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 15 01:38:04 PST 2021

New Publication: Common dolphin Delphinus delphis occurrence off the Wild Coast of South Africa (Michelle Caputo)

Dear MARMAM community,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce the publication of our new paper on the occurrence of common dolphins off the south-eastern coast of South Africa. 

Despite their typical large group sizes, limited research exists on the occurrence of common dolphins Delphinus delphis because of the pelagic, offshore nature of this species and the lack of barriers to their movement in this environment. The main purpose of our study was to investigate the occurrence of common dolphins off the Wild Coast of South Africa (western Indian Ocean) and whether spatiotemporal and environmental conditions affected their encounter rate, relative abundance and mean group size. The annual sardine run in this region, during austral winter (May to July), is considered a main driver of dolphin occurrence; however, our boat-based surveys over the period 2014–2016 indicated that common dolphins occur and feed in this area outside of this time-frame. In terms of environmental factors, the largest group (~1 250 animals) was found in the deepest waters. Additionally, at Hluleka, dolphins were observed primarily feeding, which could suggest that this coastal area is highly productive. As common dolphin distribution is thought to be correlated with prey distribution, our findings suggest that sufficient prey exists along the Wild Coast both during and outside the annual sardine run to sustain large groups of the dolphins and that their presence in the area is not solely a function of the sardine run.

The article is available here: https://doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2020.1841676 <https://doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2020.1841676>or by email: michellecaputo3 at gmail.com <mailto:michellecaputo3 at gmail.com>.

Kind Regards,
Dr. Michelle Caputo
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Rhodes University, South Africa & Florida International University, USA
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