Habitat Use by Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Indian River Lagoon

Authors: Rachael Greller*, Florida Atlantic University , Richard Paperno, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Scott Markwith , Florida Atlantic University
Topics: Environmental Science, Animal Geographies, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Habitat Use, Kernel Density Estimation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The objective of this research will be to determine which habitats bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) use frequently based on monthly relocation of photo-identified individuals, prey availability and environmental factors from 2003-2016. We are focusing on the variation of spatial and temporal abiotic and biotic factors and their influence on bottlenose dolphin habitat use patterns. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) conducted monthly photo-identification surveys along the length of the IRL and GPS locations of photographed dolphins were collected at the time of surveying. Stratified random samples of prey and environmental variables were collected monthly by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) as part of the Fisheries-Independent Monitoring (FIM) program. Kernel density estimation will be used to determine the magnitude-per-unit area of dolphins across a continuous raster surface of the IRL by wet and dry seasons each year, the values of which will be used as a response variable in a Classification and regression tree (CART) analyses with FIM fish community and environmental factors as predictors. Understanding how individuals respond to environmental factors over time in these areas could be used to predict future responses in the area and prioritize conservation and restoration actions.

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