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Home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in a coastal and estuarine system is habitat and sex-specific

Sprogis, K.R., Raudino, H.C., Rankin, R., MacLeod, C.D. and Bejder, L. (2016) Home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in a coastal and estuarine system is habitat and sex-specific. Marine Mammal Science, 32 (1). pp. 287-308.

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This study examined sex-specific differences in home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins off Bunbury, Western Australia. We applied a new kernel density estimation approach that accounted for physical barriers to movements. A Bayesian mixture model was developed to estimate a sex effect in home range size with latent group partitioning constrained by association data. A post hoc analysis investigated group partitioning relating to the proportion of time spent in open vs. sheltered waters. From 2007 to 2013, photographic-identification data were collected along boat-based systematic transect lines (n = 586). Analyses focused on adult dolphins of known sex (sighted ≥ 30 times; n = 22 males and 34 females). The 95% utilization distributions of males varied between 27 and 187 km2 (inline image; 94.8 ± 48.15) and for females between 20 and 133 km2 (65.6 ± 30.9). The mixture model indicated a 99% probability that males had larger home ranges than females. Dolphins mostly sighted in open waters had larger home ranges than those in sheltered waters. Home ranges of dolphins sighted in sheltered waters overlapped with areas of highest human activity. We suggest that sex differences in home ranges are driven by male mating strategies, and home range size differences between habitats may be influenced by prey availability and predation risk.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2015 Society for Marine Mammalogy
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