New article online: Seasonal Distribution of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins at an Estuarine Habitat: Influences of Upstream Rainfall

Here is the new online article regarding the seasonal distribution change of coastal dolphins.

Seasonal Distribution of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins at an Estuarine Habitat: Influences of Upstream Rainfall

Estuaries and Coasts (2014) doi:10.1007/s12237-014-9886-2

Tzu-Hao Lin1, Tomonari Akamatsu2, 3, Lien-Siang Chou1

1Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Number 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, Republic of China 
2National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency, 7620-7 Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan
3Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST, Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0075, Japan

River estuaries are dynamic regions that are influenced by the interactions between freshwater and seawater as well as seasonal variations in river runoffs. Studies focusing on the distribution of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) have indicated their general tendency toward estuarine habitats. The seasonal activities of humpback dolphins are likely to synchronize with environmental fluctuations. This study investigated the effects of seasonal changes in river runoffs on the distribution gradient of humpback dolphins by deploying acoustic data loggers along the Xin Huwei River estuary, Western Taiwan, between July 2009 and September 2012. Seasonal shifts were observed in the areas with high detected duration of humpback dolphins, which mainly stayed near the river mouth during the dry seasons but moved seaward during rainy seasons and following heavy rainfall. In addition, the gradient of ambient ultrasonic pulses, dominated by snapping shrimp sounds, exhibited regional differences following heavy rainfall. The outward movements of the humpback dolphins and the snapping shrimp sounds in the estuary indicated a temporary trophic-system shift in response to local environmental changes resulting from high volumes of river runoffs. In the future, the seasonal variation in the distribution of humpback dolphins must be considered during the conservation management of this critically endangered population.


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