[MARMAM] New publication announcement

Shannon McCluskey shazzamcc at gmail.com
Sun Jan 17 18:34:01 PST 2021

Dear Marmam Community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our paper on
stomach content and stable isotope analysis of a population of bottlenose
dolphins off the west coast of Australia.

McCluskey, S.M., K.R. Sprogis, J.M. London, L. Bejder, and N.R. Loneragan.
2021. ‘Foraging Preferences of an Apex Marine Predator Revealed through
Stomach Content and Stable Isotope Analyses’. *Global Ecology and
Conservation* 25 (January): e01396.


Insights into the food habits of predators are essential for maintaining
healthy predator populations and the functioning of ecosystems. Stomach
content and stable isotope analyses were used to investigate the foraging
habits of an apex predator, the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (*Tursiops
aduncus*) in south-western Australia. A total of 2,594 prey items from 26
families were identified from the stomachs of 10 deceased stranded
dolphins. Fish otoliths from stomach contents were used to identify fish to
family or species level. Ninety-three percent of identified stomach
contents were perciforme fishes, however, perciformes comprised only 30% of
the catch during prey sampling. Gobiidae species, small fish generally
<100 mm in total length, were the most prevalent family identified in
dolphin stomachs, accounting for 82% of identified prey, yet Gobiidae
accounted for 12.7% of the catch during prey sampling. For stable isotope
analyses, tissue samples from 14 free-ranging dolphins were analyzed for
nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) ratios. From stable isotope analyses and
boat-based dolphin photo-identification surveys (n = 339, 2007–2011),
results indicated niche differentiation between coastal and inshore (bay
and estuarine habitat) dolphins. Carbon signatures showed that coastal
dolphins had a more pelagic diet compared to a benthic diet observed in the
inshore dolphins. Whereas, nitrogen signatures of inshore dolphins showed
higher nitrogen levels than coastal dolphins, likely attributed to feeding
on enriched prey typical of estuarian environments. Overall, these results
indicated that bottlenose dolphins in the study area were selective
foragers and that their foraging is specialized by the habitats most
frequently used.

The article is open-access and can be found here:

Thank you very much for sharing,
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