[MARMAM] New publication

Todd Speakman todd.speakman at nmmpfoundation.org
Mon Aug 8 11:43:24 PDT 2022

Hello colleagues,

My coauthors and I are pleased to share our new publication, "Fine-scale
social and genetic structure of common bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops
truncatu*s) in the Barataria Basin, Louisiana, USA" published in *Aquatic
Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems*.

Speakman, T.R., Wilcox, L.A., Balmer, B.C., Barry, K.P., Paterson, C.,
Quigley, B.M., Schwacke, L.H., Sinclair, C., Takeshita, R., Vollmer, N.L.,
Zolman, E.S, and Rosel, P.E. 2022. Fine‐scale social and genetic structure
of common bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) in the Barataria
Basin, Louisiana, USA. *Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater
Ecosystems*, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1002/aqc.3866


1. The Barataria Bay Estuarine System (BBES) Stock of common bottlenose
dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) in the northern Gulf of Mexico has been a
focus of extensive research as a result of the Barataria Basin, Louisiana
being one of the most heavily oiled estuaries following the *Deepwater
Horizon* oil spill. The goal of this study was to build upon previous
research to better understand social and genetic structure of BBES dolphins.

2. Photo-identification data from 2010-2019 were analysed with SOCPROG to
identify dolphin social clusters. Genetic analyses were conducted on
samples obtained during remote biopsy surveys and health assessments
(2010-2018) to assess if identified social clusters were congruent with
genetic clustering results, and to evaluate relatedness and gene flow
within and between social and genetic clusters. Spatial analyses of the
cumulative photo-identification sighting histories from each cluster were
also used to determine their geographic range and degree of overlap within
the Barataria Basin.

3. Social analyses identified four distinct clusters with some degree of
geographic overlap and similar utilization distributions as the three
identified genetic clusters. Dolphins in the Barataria Basin were confirmed
to be genetically differentiated from those in adjacent coastal waters.

4. In general, genetic analyses differentiate distinct dolphin communities
established through long-term (generational) preferential breeding
behaviour. In contrast, social associations can be more fluid over the
short-term, may change in response to habitat or predator/prey changes, and
strong associations can be formed between a mix of related and unrelated
individuals. The combination of genetic and social methodologies is
valuable for developing a better understanding of complex dolphin social
interactions and provides unique insights into dolphin behaviour that can
be important for developing effective management strategies.

Please contact me at todd.speakman at nmmf.org for a pdf copy of the paper.

Best regards,

Todd Speakman
Biologist, Conservation Medicine
National Marine Mammal Foundation
3419 Maybank Highway, Ste B
Charleston, SC 29455
Ph/ 843.822.3287
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