Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA

Nigrán, Spain

Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA

Nigrán, Spain
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Diaz Lopez B.,Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA | Diaz Lopez B.,Bottlenose | Lopez A.,Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA | Lopez A.,University of Aveiro | And 4 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2017

Infanticide is considered a conspicuous expression of sexual conflict amongst mammals, including bottlenose dolphins. Although reported previously in this species, confirmed cases of infanticide and associated epimeletic behaviour are very rare and their socio-behavioural context remains poorly understood. Here, we provide evidence of epimeletic and infanticide behaviours in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins in Galicia, NW Spain. After describing the observed events, we include a complete description of the post-mortem examinations (where the carcasses were recovered) in order to confirm the cause of death. With evidences of blunt trauma in two of the presented cases, we confirm that the calves were intentionally killed by adult individuals. The aggressive interaction between adult individuals and the neonates together with the observed ante-mortem injuries bore a strong resemblance to the behaviours and traumatic injuries described in other cases of violent dolphin interactions in other parts of the world. The circumstances under which these infanticides occurred at our site fit the conditions proposed under the sexual selection hypothesis. The difficulties for researchers to observe this type of behaviour in the field and to find carcasses in good enough condition to determine the cause of death, emphasizes the importance of this type of study. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2017


Mendez-Fernandez P.,CNRS Coastal and Marine Environment Laboratory | Mendez-Fernandez P.,University of Minho | Pierce G.J.,University of Aberdeen | Bustamante P.,CNRS Coastal and Marine Environment Laboratory | And 11 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2013

This study aims to assess niche segregation among the five main toothed whales that frequent the NW Iberian Peninsula waters: the common dolphin, the harbour porpoise, the bottlenose dolphin, the striped dolphin and the long-finned pilot whale. We used cadmium (Cd) and stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) as ecological tracers to assess degree of segregation in diet/trophic level and in foraging habitat, over various time-scales. δ13C values highlighted different habitats, while Cd concentrations highlighted feeding differences between oceanic and neritic species. Moreover, δ15N values suggest different trophic levels of prey targeted within oceanic and neritic species. Hence, results revealed long-term ecological segregation among five toothed whales that coexist in the NWIP and demonstrated the ability of ecological tracers to discriminate ecological niches among closely related species. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Mendez-Fernandez P.,University of La Rochelle | Mendez-Fernandez P.,University of Minho | Webster L.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | Chouvelon T.,University of La Rochelle | And 15 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

Concentrations of Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, V and Zn were investigated in the liver and kidney of the five most common toothed whales off the Northwest Iberian Peninsula (NWIP), specifically common dolphin, long-finned pilot whale, harbour porpoise, striped dolphin and bottlenose dolphin. Differences were observed in the bioaccumulation of the above elements between the five species. The differences are probably related to biological factors such as age and sex and/or to ecological factors specific to each species such as feeding habits or bioavailability of the various elements. However, no significant relationship was observed between element accumulation and sex. Pilot whale and striped dolphin showed the highest concentrations of renal Cd and the highest concentrations of hepatic Hg and Se, while bottlenose dolphin showed the highest concentrations of Hg in kidneys. An analysis of inter-elemental relationships showed strong positive correlations between Hg and Se in the five species, however most individuals have Hg:Se molar ratio less than 1:1 indicating an excess of Se compare to Hg. This result, probably reflect the high proportion of young animals in the sample available for this study and/or that these animals had a good health status. We also observed a positive correlation in striped dolphins between Cd and Cu and between Cd and Zn in kidneys. In addition, comparing with other studies world-wide, the element concentrations (Hg and Cd) found in Iberian toothed whales indicate that these populations are not specially threatened by Hg and Cd exposure in the area. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Mendez-Fernandez P.,University of La Rochelle | Mendez-Fernandez P.,University of Minho | Webster L.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | Chouvelon T.,University of La Rochelle | And 14 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

Concentrations and patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the blubber of the five most common toothed whales off the Northwest Iberian Peninsula (NWIP), specifically common dolphin, long-finned pilot whale, harbour porpoise, striped dolphin and bottlenose dolphin, were investigated. The study revealed that differences in PCB and PBDE concentrations among the species are highly dependent on age and sex but also on ecological factors such as trophic level, prey type and habitat. Of the five species studied, bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise showed the greatest concentrations of PCBs. Both species exceed the toxic threshold of 17μgg-1 lipid weight (PCB Aroclor equivalent) for health effects on marine mammals, for 100% and 75% of the individuals tested, respectively. Overall, the PCB and PBDE levels observed in the NWIP toothed whales were of the same order of magnitude or lower than those reported by previous studies in areas of the NE Atlantic. However, they are often higher than those for toothed whales from the southern Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Covelo P.,Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA | Martinez-Cedeira J.A.,Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA | Llavona A.,Coordinadora para o Estudo dos Mamiferos Marinos CEMMA | Llavona A.,University of Aveiro | And 4 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2015

In the coast of Galicia an average of 200 stranded cetaceans are reported annually. From 1990 to 2013, 21 individuals of four species of the family Ziphiidae were found: 15 Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris), two Sowerby's beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens), one True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) and one Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), as well as two unidentified ones. These were the first records in Galicia for True's beaked whale and Blainville's beaked whale. The study of the distribution of oceanic species considering only stranded animals has limitations, but is a good approach to this not well-known cetacean family. Due to the small number of individuals of the different species, statistical analyses for geographic or seasonal patterns were only carried out for the Cuvier's beaked whales. Between the periods of 1990–2002 and 2003–2013 significant differences were found for geographic and seasonal occurrence patterns. Over the last decade strandings were located only in the north area of the region, mainly during the spring season, while in the previous decade they were located along the three considered areas and only in autumn and winter. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2015

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