Inter-Research > MEPS > v722 > p195-206  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 722:195-206 (2023)  -  DOI:

Habitat use of Guiana dolphin Sotalia guianensis in a heavily urbanized embayment

Ana Carolina Oliveira de Meirelles1,2,6,*, Katherine Fiedler Choi-Lima1, Thaís Moura Campos1, Emygdio Leite de Araújo Monteiro-Filho3,4, Tito Monteiro da Cruz Lotufo2,5

1Programa de Mamíferos Marinhos, Associação de Pesquisa e Preservação de Ecossistemas Aquáticos, Caucaia, Ceará 61627-010, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Marinhas Tropicais, Instituto de Ciências do Mar, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará 60165-081, Brazil
3Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná 81531-980, Brazil
4Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia, Cananéia, São Paulo 11990-000, Brazil
5Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-120, Brazil
6Present address: Marine Mammal Research Unit, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Understanding environmental and anthropogenic variables that influence the presence of dolphins in coastal areas is fundamental for conservation planning and forecasting. In this study, we applied generalized additive models to identify areas of high probability of occurrence of Guiana dolphins in Mucuripe embayment, a heavily urbanized area in northeastern Brazil. Sighting and effort data were collected during systematic, boat-based surveys between 2009 and 2011. Models were built using 70% of the data to test the model and 30% to evaluate its predictive performance. Variables investigated included depth, slope, seabed complexity, and distance to the coast, breakwaters, and the fishing grounds. The best model explained 40.8% of the total deviance. Seabed complexity, distance to the breakwaters and distance to the fishing grounds were the most important variables, with dolphins showing a preference for areas with a less complex seabed immediately adjacent to the breakwaters (<500 m, decreasing with distance) as well as a preference for fishing grounds (again decreasing with distance). Using the validation data, the model showed excellent performance. The habitat use and preference of Guiana dolphins in the study area seem to be mainly influenced by foraging opportunities, with dolphins concentrating in areas with higher prey abundance and where foraging success is higher because of a strategy called ‘barrier-feeding’, in which animals herd fish against piers, breakwaters, and the coast.

KEY WORDS: Species distribution modelling · Generalized additive models · Habitat preference · Breakwaters · Barrier-feeding · Feeding strategy

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary Material
Cite this article as: Meirelles ACO, Choi-Lima KF, Campos TM, Monteiro-Filho ELdA, Lotufo TMC (2023) Habitat use of Guiana dolphin Sotalia guianensis in a heavily urbanized embayment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 722:195-206.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article