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Banff, United Kingdom

Robinson K.P.,Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit | O'Brien J.M.,Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway | Berrowi S.D.,Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation | Berrowi S.D.,Irish Whale and Dolphin Group | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management

The potential for long distance movements in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from six UK and Irish study sites was examined using photographs of natural markings. Here we provide the first evidence for long-term re-sightings between the Moray Firth, Inner Hebrides and across international borders to the Republic of Ireland as determined for eight individuals over a ten year period from 2001 to 2010. Minimum dispersal distances of up to 1,277km were resolved providing a new distance record for the species in European waters. Although none of the sightings were made within protected areas, several were made in waters used by animals from a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) revealing some evidence for connectivity between areas previously regarded as discrete. Our findings highlight the need to mitigate broader-scale anthropogenic impacts affecting these dolphins across multiple sites throughout their coastal range. Accordingly, we underline the importance of developing wider conservation measures for this species in UK and Irish waters, but particularly in prospective corridor areas potentially linking designated SACs in the Moray Firth, Cardigan Bay and Shannon Estuary. Source

Cheney B.,University of Aberdeen | Thompson P.M.,University of Aberdeen | Ingram S.N.,University of Aberdeen | Hammond P.S.,University of St. Andrews | And 20 more authors.
Mammal Review

The distribution, movements and abundance of highly mobile marine species such as bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus are best studied at large spatial scales, but previous research effort has generally been focused on relatively small areas, occupied by populations with high site fidelity. We aimed to characterize the distribution, movements and abundance of bottlenose dolphins around the coasts of Scotland, exploring how data from multiple sources could be integrated to build a broader-scale picture of their ecology. We reviewed existing historical data, integrated data from ongoing studies and developed new collaborative studies to describe distribution patterns. We adopted a Bayesian multi-site mark-recapture model to estimate abundance of bottlenose dolphins throughout Scottish coastal waters and quantified movements of individuals between study areas. The majority of sightings of bottlenose dolphins around the Scottish coastline are concentrated on the east and west coasts, but records are rare before the 1990s. Dedicated photo-identification studies in 2006 and 2007 were used to estimate the size of two resident populations: one on the east coast from the Moray Firth to Fife, population estimate 195 [95% highest posterior density intervals (HPDI): 162-253] and the second in the Hebrides, population estimate 45 (95% HPDI: 33-66). Interaction parameters demonstrated that the dolphins off the east coast of Scotland are highly mobile, whereas those off the west coast form two discrete communities. We provide the first comprehensive assessment of the abundance of bottlenose dolphins in the inshore waters of Scotland. The combination of dedicated photo-identification studies and opportunistic sightings suggest that a relatively small number of bottlenose dolphins (200-300 individuals) occur regularly in Scottish coastal waters. On both east and west coasts, re-sightings of identifiable individuals indicate that the animals have been using these coastal areas since studies began. © 2012 Mammal Society/Blackwell Publishing. Source

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