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Feeding aggregation of bottlenose dolphins and seabirds in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia

Finn, H. and Calver, M.C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902 (2008) Feeding aggregation of bottlenose dolphins and seabirds in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. The Western Australian Naturalist, 26 (3). pp. 157-172.

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Cockburn Sound is the most intensively-utilised marine area in Western Australia, with further development planned. Information on the foraging ecology of bottlenose dolphins and seabirds in Cockburn Sound will aid conservation efforts. We observed dolphins and 7 seabird species at large multi-feeding aggregations in Cockburn Sound between 2000-2. Dolphins and Pied Cormorants were the most abundant species at the aggregations, with a mean abundance of 21.4 (±7.4) dolphins and the abundance of cormorants sometimes in excess of 200 individuals. Aggregations consistently occurred within the Kwinana Shelf in the northeast corner of Cockburn Sound and were more common during the autumn-spring period. These aggregations most likely targeted schools of forage fish based on observations of prey and the substantial biomass of prey required to sustain the large number of predators present. These aggregations are an important feature of the foraging ecology of dolphins and seabirds in Cockburn Sound, and impact assessment should consider the impact of development on habitat for forage fish on the Kwinana Shelf.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: The Western Australian Naturalists' Club
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