New article online: Tidal influences on the habitat use of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in an estuary

New article online:

Publish in Marine Biology.

Tidal influences on the habitat use of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in an estuary

This paper offers the first study of diurnal variations in the use of an estuarine habitat by Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Passive acoustic data loggers were deployed in the Xin Huwei River Estuary, Western Taiwan, from July 2009 to December 2010, to collect biosonar clicks. Acoustic encounter rates of humpback dolphins on the riverside of the estuary changed significantly over the four tidal phases, instead of the two diurnal phases based on the recordings from 268 days. Among the tidal phases, the encounter rates were lowest during ebb tides. Additionally, circling movements associated with the hunt for epipelagic fish significantly changed in temporal and spatial presence over the four tidal phases, matching the overall pattern of encounter rate changes in the focal estuary. Our findings suggest that the occurrence pattern and habitat utilization of humpback dolphins are likely to be influenced by the tidal-driven activity of their epipelagic prey.

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A coastal view of western Taiwan. The tidal difference can reach to 4 m in central western Taiwan, thus alter coastal environments and animals periodically.
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