ESR 11:13-19 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00252

Contribution to the Theme Section 'Responses of animals to habitat alteration'

Climate change and a poleward shift in the distribution of the Pacific white-sided dolphin in the northeastern Pacific

Christian J. Salvadeo1,2,*, Daniel Lluch-Belda1, Alejandro Gómez-Gallardo2, Jorge Urbán-Ramírez2, Colin D. MacLeod3

1Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, IPN. A.P. 592. C.P. 23000 La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
2Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Carretera al Sur km 5.5, C.P. 23080 La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
3School of Biological Sciences (Zoology), University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 3FX, UK

ABSTRACT: Increasing water temperatures due to global warming mean that specific isotherms are shifting polewards. This may cause the poleward shifts in the range limits of species that are only found in specific thermal habitats. Such range shifts have been recorded in a number of plant and animal species. In the last 3 decades, we observed a decline in the presence of Pacific white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens in the southwest Gulf of California (GOC), which is considered the southern boundary of their distribution. Considering that the thermal environment is physiologically important to animals, we believe that this poleward shift in the usual geographic range of the Pacific white-sided dolphin is due to long-term changes in the local climate. To obtain the conceptual framework needed to discuss such a hypothesis, we summarize and analyze current knowledge about Pacific white-sided dolphins in the southwest GOC, and sea surface temperature variability at a regional scale.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Lagenorhynchus obliquidens · Poleward shift · Northeastern Pacific · Gulf of California


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Cite this article as: Salvadeo CJ, Lluch-Belda D, Gómez-Gallardo A, Urbán-Ramírez J, MacLeod CD (2010) Climate change and a poleward shift in the distribution of the Pacific white-sided dolphin in the northeastern Pacific. Endang Species Res 11:13-19

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