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Ciencias marinas

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Resumen

MARTINEZ-SERRANO, I; SERRANO, A; HECKEL, G  y  SCHRAMM, Y. Distribution and home range of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off Veracruz, Mexico. Cienc. mar [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.4a, pp. 379-392. ISSN 0185-3880.

With the goal of gathering ecological data to develop future cetacean management and conservation plans, the distribution, home range, and residency of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were studied in the central-north Mexican Gulf of Mexico. Between July 2005 and June 2008, 59 boat surveys were carried out for a total of 313 h of effort at sea. During these surveys, 471 individuals were observed in 88 different groups. Photographs of naturally marked animals resulted in 275 different individuals photo-identified. Their distribution was homogeneous throughout the study area at a mean distance from the coast of 2.5 km (SD = 2.9, n = 471) and depths less than 20 m. Of the total of dolphins identified, 202 (73%) had a low sighting rate and were considered transients, whereas 34 individuals (12%) had medium and high sighting rates and were considered resident animals. At the population level, home range estimates calculated using the minimum convex polygon method showed a mean of2771 ± 1116 km2. Using the adaptive kernel method, the mean size of home range was 1199 ± 143 km2, with five core areas identified. These areas decreased in size during the rainy season because dolphins remained close to the river plumes. At individual level, the mean home range was 129.2 km2 (n = 66), concurring with other reports from the Gulf of Mexico (Texas and Florida) in spite of habitat differences. The main component determining the size of the home range was the presence of rivers, rather than the geomorphology of the coast.

Palabras llave : Gulf of Mexico; distribution; home range; Tursiops truncatus; Veracruz.

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