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Smith C.E.,University of Southern Mississippi | Hurley B.J.,George Mason University | Toms C.N.,University of Southern Mississippi | Mackey A.D.,University of Southern Mississippi | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2013

Acute catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, have various degrees of impact on marine mammal populations. Although changes in environmental conditions of affected areas have been examined for many storms, little attention has been given to the ecological effects on top-level predators. A longitudinal study on bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus behavior and distribution in Mississippi Sound has been ongoing since 2003, allowing the unique opportunity to examine the impacts of the passage of Hurricane Katrina on this coastal dolphin population. Previous research showed an increase in reproductive rates within this population following Hurricane Katrina, most likely due to an increase in prey density following the sharp decline in commercial fishing efforts. In this paper, the frequency and distribution of dolphin foraging encounters in Mississippi Sound were examined from 2003 to 2009, revealing both short- and potentially long-term effects on dolphin foraging patterns following the hurricane. A pulse in dolphin foraging encounters was observed, which increased by ~15% in the 2 yr following the hurricane before returning to pre-Katrina levels. Statistically significant hot spots were identified through the use of the Getis-Ord Gi* hot spot analysis and revealed spatial shifts in foraging habitat consistent with prey selectivity. The results of this study support previous findings that coastal bottlenose dolphins in the southeastern United States are selective feeders, preferring to forage in deeper water known for soniferous prey species. Furthermore, this study presents important baseline information for future studies investigating other acute catastrophic events in Mississippi Sound, such as cumulative impacts following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. © Inter-Research 2013.

Miller L.J.,University of Southern Mississippi | Miller L.J.,Institute for Conservation Research | Mackey A.D.,University of Southern Mississippi | Solangi M.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kuczaj S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2013

Distance sampling principles were utilized to examine population density and abundance for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mississippi Sound. Information was collected during summer and winter to allow for examination of habitat utilization and abundance during two different seasons. Within the study area of the Mississippi Sound there are approximately 2225 bottlenose dolphins. The population was larger during the summer than during the winter months. Dolphins utilized coastal areas more during the summer, potentially as nursery grounds, as evidenced by larger numbers of calves and percentage of groups containing calves during this time. Bottlenose dolphin densities were lower in this area during the winter suggesting migration to deeper waters potentially in search of prey. As the Mississippi Sound is regularly utilized for a variety of human activities, the monitoring of dolphin populations in this area is critical to determine increasing or decreasing trends in population abundance due to potential anthropogenic factors that may affect animal populations. Similar studies around the world could provide evidence for areas that could be protected to ensure survival of species such as dolphins and other marine mammals. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Hernandez E.N.,Francis Marion University | Solangi M.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kuczaj II S.A.,University of Southern Mississippi
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2010

Acoustic characteristics related to contour of the whistle (such as highest and lowest frequency, beginning and ending frequency, whistle duration, and number of turns) of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) whistles were measured to test whether any of the measurements were related to the behavioral state of the dolphins when the whistle was recorded (coded as mill, travel, mill/travel, feed, or social). Objective measures of time and frequency were obtained using Raven, while number of turns in a whistle was determined by human raters. In all a series of discriminant function analyses using the acoustic characteristics to predict the behavioral state, the highest standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients were: lowest frequency, number of turns, and duration. The models that incorporated these variables performed significantly better than chance at correctly assigning the whistles into the surface behavior category in which they were recorded. The rate of whistling was related to group size, surface behavior and season via a series of two-way ANOVAs (analysis of variance). © 2010 Acoustical Society of America.

Kudlai O.,Nature Research Center | Tkach V.V.,University of North Dakota | Pulis E.E.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Kostadinova A.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Systematic Parasitology | Year: 2015

Euparyphium capitaneum Dietz, 1909, the type-species of the genus Euparyphium Dietz, 1909, is described on the basis of material collected from the type-host Anhinga anhinga (L.) from Pascagoula River, which drains into the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Combination of light and scanning electron microscopy observations of freshly collected and properly fixed specimens in our study has allowed us to provide novel information on the morphology and topology of the reproductive systems and other morphological features of the species. A Bayesian inference analysis based on the newly-obtained partial sequence of the nuclear 28S rRNA gene for E. capitaneum and 24 previously published sequences from the superfamily Echinostomatoidea Looss, 1899 provided evidence supporting the distinct status of the genera Euparyphium and Isthmiophora Lühe, 1909. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Simoniello C.,Institute for Marine Mammal Studies | Spence L.,South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium | McDonnell J.,COSEE Networked Ocean World
Marine Technology Society Journal | Year: 2010

The National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing (NFRA) is the organization charged with building the regional component of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). Because IOOS is a user-driven system, understanding the needs of regional stakeholders is fundamental to its success. The job of promoting awareness and use of IOOS data largely falls to the regional education and outreach coordinators, at least for those Regional Associations (RAs) fortunate enough to have one. This article is designed (1) to describe how the NFRA Education and Outreach Committee originated, (2) to provide suggestions to create a strategic approach to the evaluation of IOOS education and outreach products and programs, and (3) to describe the "lessons learned" from the many collaborations. A case study related to the Transocean Ltd.-owned/British Petroleum-leased Deepwater Horizon oil spill is described to demonstrate the societal value of RAs and their ability to serve as rapid responders during crisis events.

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