New publication: Sex-specific home ranges in bottlenose dolphins

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We are pleased to announce the following publication in Marine Mammal Science:

Home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in a coastal and estuarine system is habitat and sex-specific.

Authors: Kate R. Sprogis, Holly C. Raudino (nee Smith), Robert Rankin, Colin D. MacLeod and Lars Bejder.  

Abstract:
This study examined sex-specific differences in home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins off Bunbury, Western Australia. We applied a new kernel density estimation approach that accounted for physical barriers to movements. A Bayesian mixture model was developed to estimate a sex effect in home range size with latent group partitioning constrained by association data. A post hoc analysis investigated group partitioning relating to the proportion of time spent in open vs. sheltered waters. From 2007-2013, photographic-identification data were collected along boat-based systematic transect lines (n= 586). Analyses focused on adult dolphins of known sex (sighted ≥ 30; n= 22 males and 34 females). The 95% utilization distributions of males varied between 27-187 km2 (x̄ ± SD; 94.8 ± 48.15) and for females between 20-133 km2 (65.6 ± 30.9). The mixture model indicated a 99% probability that males had larger home ranges than females. Dolphins mostly sighted in open waters had larger home ranges than those in sheltered waters. Home ranges of dolphins sighted in sheltered waters overlapped with areas of highest human activity. We suggest that sex differences in home ranges are driven by male mating strategies, and home range size differences between habitats may be influenced by prey availability and predation risk.

Downloads: The article can be downloaded from here, or alternatively, if you are unable to download the article please email Kate for a pdf at k.sprogis@murdoch.edu.au

The Bayesian mixture model indicated a 99% probability that males had larger home ranges than females. The figure shows that dolphins that were sighted more frequently in the open water habitat (coastal beaches) had larger home ranges compared to dolphins that were sighted more often in the sheltered water habitat (Bay, inlet and estuarine waters).

Citation: Kate R. Sprogis, Holly C. Raudino (nee Smith), Robert Rankin, Colin D. MacLeod and Lars Bejder. In Press. Home range size of adult Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in a coastal and estuarine system is habitat and sex-specific. Marine Mammal Science. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12260

About: This article is the product of Drs. Kate Sprogis and Holly Raudino (nee Smith) PhD projects through the South West Marine Research Program in Bunbury, Western Australia.

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