Recovery rates of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) carcasses estimated from stranding and survival rate data

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Caretta, J. V., Danil, K., Chivers, S. J., Weller, D. W., Janiger, D. S., Berman-Kowalewski, M., … Lambourn, D. M. (2015). Recovery rates of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) carcasses estimated from stranding and survival rate data. Marine Mammal Science, 32(1), 349-362. doi:10.1111/mms.12264
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TitleRecovery rates of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) carcasses estimated from stranding and survival rate data
AuthorsJ. Caretta, K. Danil, S. Chivers, D. Weller, D. Janiger, M. Berman-Kowalewski, K. Hernandez, J. Harvey, R. Dunkin, D. Casper, S. Stoudt, M. Flannery, K. Wilkinson, J. Huggins, D. Lambourn
AbstractRecovery of cetacean carcasses provides data on levels of human-caused mortality, but represents only a minimum count of impacts. Counts of stranded carcasses are negatively biased by factors that includes at-sea scavenging, sinking, drift away from land, stranding in locations where detection is unlikely, and natural removal from beaches due to wave and tidal action prior to detection. We estimate the fraction of carcasses recovered for a population of coastal bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), using abundance and survival rate data to estimate annual deaths in the population. Observed stranding numbers are compared to expected deaths to estimate the fraction of carcasses recovered. For the California coastal population of bottlenose dolphins, we estimate the fraction of carcasses recovered to be 0.25 (95% CI = 0.20-0.33). During a 12 yr period, 327 animals (95% CI = 253-413) were expected to have died and been available for recovery, but only 83 carcasses attributed to this population were documented. Given the coastal habits of California coastal bottlenose dolphins, it is likely that carcass recovery rates of this population greatly exceeded recovery rates of more pelagic dolphin species in the region.
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Date2015-09-04
Volume32
Issue1
Start page349
End page362
ISSN0824-0469
Subjectsbottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, strandings, carcass recovery, survival rates, human-caused mortality

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