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ESR 48:199-209 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01194

Habitat preference of two sympatric coastal cetaceans in Langkawi, Malaysia, as determined by passive acoustic monitoring

Satoko S. Kimura1,2,3,*, Tomoka Sagara4, Ken Yoda3, Louisa S. Ponnampalam5,6

1Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, 46, Yoshidashimoadachi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
2Distinguished Doctoral Program of Platforms, Center for Educational Program Promotion in Graduate School, Kyoto University, Yoshida Hon-machi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
3Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-8601 Japan
4Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kitashirakawa Oiwake-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
5The MareCet Research Organization, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
6Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Universiti Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Little is known about the ecology of the Indo-Pacific finless porpoise Neophocaena phocaenoides or the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin Sousa chinensis in Southeast Asia. The present study describes the distribution and habitat preferences of these species around the Langkawi Archipelago of Malaysia. Vessel-based passive acoustic monitoring surveys were conducted 5 times between 2012 and 2013. Both species mainly preferred relatively shallow waters, especially on the east sides of the islands at <15 m depth. However, the species differed in number of detections and spatial distribution, preferred distance from shore, chlorophyll a concentration in the water where they resided, and season in which they were detected, indicating that they have different habitat preferences. The best spatial habitat model for the prediction of finless porpoise distribution included bathymetric depth and longitude. The distribution of finless porpoises was relatively stable around the islands and especially in the eastern waters, whereas humpback dolphins may only seasonally visit specific regions of the waters around the islands. Their detection sites were too patchy to enable distribution modeling. The results of this study provide baseline information that can facilitate conservation planning for these species according to their habitat preferences and core areas.


KEY WORDS: Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin · Sousa chinensis · Indo-Pacific finless porpoise · Neophocaena phocaenoides · Marine mammal · Coastal water · Asia


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Cite this article as: Kimura SS, Sagara T, Yoda K, Ponnampalam LS (2022) Habitat preference of two sympatric coastal cetaceans in Langkawi, Malaysia, as determined by passive acoustic monitoring. Endang Species Res 48:199-209. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01194

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