[MARMAM] New publication: dolphins, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia

Kate Sprogis kate.sprogis at uwa.edu.au
Sun Oct 16 17:52:26 PDT 2022


Dear Colleagues,
The scientific article 'Coastal dolphins and marine megafauna in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia: Informing conservation management actions in an area under increasing human pressure' is published in CSIRO's journal Wildlife Research. It is free to download: https://doi.org/10.1071/WR22023.

Authors: Kate R. Sprogis and Guido J. Parra.

Context: Exmouth Gulf is adjacent to the Ningaloo Marine Park, a UNESCO-listed area in Western Australia. The gulf remains largely unprotected, and is under increasing anthropogenic pressure from proposed industrial activities that pose threats to marine megafauna inhabiting the gulf. Threatened and near threatened species, such as the Australian humpback dolphin (Sousa sahulensis) and Indo Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), reside in the gulf; however, detailed information on their ecology and behaviour is lacking.

Aims: The aim was to (1) provide baseline data on the distribution, encounter rate, group size and behaviour of coastal dolphins over an area where current industrial developments are proposed, and (2) report on the occurrence of other marine megafauna within this area. Methods. Boat-based photo- identification surveys were conducted on the western coastline of Exmouth Gulf along pre- determined line transects (150 km2) over austral autumn/winter 2021.

Key results: Across 809.35 km of surveyed waters (181 h), a total of 93 bottlenose dolphin, 15 humpback dolphin, and six interspecific dolphin groups were sighted. Bottlenose dolphin groups were encountered at a rate of 0.077/km, humpback dolphin groups at 0.015/km and interspecific dolphin groups at 0.005/km. Dolphins were predominantly recorded in shallow (mean 10 m) and warm (mean 21°C) waters, and were commonly travelling and foraging. In total, 199 individual bottlenose dolphins and 48 humpback dolphins were photo-identified (excluding calves). There were 30 bottlenose dolphin calves (including three newborns) and four humpback dolphin calves (including two newborns) identified. Other marine megafauna group sightings included humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae; n = 32), southern right whales (Eubalaena australis, n = 1), dugongs (Dugong dugon, n = 25), turtles (n = 54), sea snakes (n = 27), manta rays (Mobula alfredi, n = 13) and sharks (n = 2).

Conclusions: The presence of threatened marine species feeding, socialising, and resting highlights the importance of these waters for the identified species. Implications. The information provided is applicable for the spatial management and conservation efforts of these species, and aids in informing environmental impact assessments of individual and cumulative pressures.

Reference: Sprogis, KR, and Parra, GJ. 2022. Coastal dolphins and marine megafauna in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia: Informing conservation management actions in an area under increasing human pressure. Wildlife Research. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR22023.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Kate and Guido
Kate Sprogis, PhD
Research Fellow
Great Southern Marine Research Facility
Albany campus WA 6330 Australia
+61 8 9842 0881  *  kate.sprogis at uwa.edu.au
[UWA on Twitter]<https://twitter.com/KateSprogis>[UWA on Instagram]<https://www.instagram.com/katesprogis/>[UWA on Linked In]<linkedin.com/in/kate-sprogis-23abb58b>[cid:image005.png at 01D8E205.1BA658B0]<http://www.katesprogis.wordpress.com/>
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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Noongar Country and pay our respects to the custodians of the land and sea on which we live and work.

Recent publications:

  *   Sprogis, K.R., Sutton, A.L., Jenner, M.N., McCauley, R.D., Jenner, K.C.S. 2022. Occurrence of cetaceans and seabirds along the Indian Ocean 110°E meridian from temperate to tropical waters. Deep Sea Research (Part II, Topical Studies in Oceanography). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2022.105184
  *   Arranz, P., M. Glarou, and K.R. Sprogis. 2021b. Decreased resting and nursing in short-finned pilot whales when exposed to louder petrol engine noise of a hybrid whale-watch vessel. Scientific Reports 11:21195. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00487-0

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