[MARMAM] Behavioral responses to spatial heterogeneity in endangered Ganges River dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica)

SHAMBHU PAUDEL spaudel at email.arizona.edu
Fri Jul 8 06:35:27 PDT 2022


Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our recent publication in Water Biology and
Security:

Paudel, S., Koprowski, J. L., Thakuri, U., Sasaki-Yamamoto, Y., & Kohshima,
S. (2022). Behavioral responses to spatial heterogeneity in endangered
Ganges River dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica). *Water Biology and
Security*, 100058.

Behavioral responses to spatial heterogeneity in endangered Ganges River
dolphins (Platanista gangetica gangetica) - ScienceDirect
<https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772735122000786?utm_campaign=STMJ_AUTH_SERV_PUBLISHED&utm_medium=email&utm_acid=75676436&SIS_ID=&dgcid=STMJ_AUTH_SERV_PUBLISHED&CMX_ID=&utm_in=DM274768&utm_source=AC_#cebib0010>

Abstract

Globally, the threat of endangerment and extinction of small cetaceans was
highlighted after the recent extinction of the Chinese River dolphin or
Baiji (*Lipotes vexillifer*). Species with a small population size and a
limited geographic range, such as Ganges River dolphins (GRD), are more
vulnerable to extinction. The social and behavioral needs of cetaceans have
been identified as potential factors increasing their vulnerability to
human disturbance. However, little is known about how GRD adapt their
behaviors and diel activity patterns to spatiotemporal variation. In this
paper, we examined the underwater behavior of GRDs in Nepal by collecting
echolocation clicks from three spatially stratified habitats in the Sapta
Koshi River system over a six-month period. Our research found that GRDs
behave differently in response to spatial heterogeneity, indicating diverse
environmental requirements for GRD persistence. Behavioral activity and
duration varied across habitats but not across time of day, suggesting that
GRD behaviors are likely to be regulated by habitat structure regardless of
the time of day. However, GRD consistently exhibited nocturnal activity
peaks even when diurnal activity varied substantially. This indicates that
river dolphins may favor nocturnal refuges as a reaction to human
disturbance in highly regulated rivers. Managing human disturbances in
conjunction with habitat heterogeneity can improve the persistence of
riverine cetaceans. Here, we document behavioral and ecological information
pertaining to GRD, which is essential to the formation of river dolphin
recovery plans that link ecological perspectives to planning and management.


-- 

*Shambhu Paudel, PhD*

*School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona,
Tucson, Arizona, USA, **Cell: 520-331-3137*
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