Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

An expert elicitation of the effects of low salinity water exposure on bottlenose dolphins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open Access permissions



There is increasing concern over anthropogenically driven changes in our oceans and seas, from a variety of stressors. Such stressors include the increased risk of storms and precipitation, offshore industries and increased coastal development which can affect the marine environment. For some coastal cetacean species, there is an increased exposure to low salinity waters which have been linked with a range of adverse health effects in bottlenose dolphins. Knowledge gaps persist regarding how different time–salinity exposures affect the health and survival of animals. In such data-poor instances, expert elicitation can be used to convert an expert’s qualitative knowledge into subjective probability distributions. The management implications of this stressor and the subjective nature of expert elicitation requires transparency; we have addressed this here, utilizing the Sheffield Elicitation Framework. The results are a series of time response scenarios to estimate time to death in bottlenose dolphins, for use when data are insufficient to estimate probabilistic summaries. This study improves our understanding of how low salinity exposure effects dolphins, guiding priorities for future research, while its outputs can be used to support coastal management on a global scale.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-192
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • Freshwater, Cetacean, Tursiops sp., Wildlife management, Marine biology, Salinity, Human disturbance, Dose response

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. A fine-scale marine mammal movement model for assessing long-term aggregate noise exposure

    Joy, R., Schick, R. S., Dowd, M., Margolina, T., Joseph, J. E. & Thomas, L., Feb 2022, In: Ecological Modelling. 464, 12 p., 109798.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Modeling population impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a long-lived species with implications and recommendations for future environmental disasters

    Schwacke, L. H., Marques, T. A., Thomas, L., Booth, C., Balmer, B. C., Barratclough, A., Colegrove, K., De Guise, S., Garrison, L. P., Gomez, F. M., Morey, J. S., Mullin, K. D., Quigley, B. M., Rosel, P., Rowles, T. K., Takeshita, R., Townsend, F. I., Speakman, T. R., Wells, R. S., Zolman, E. S. & 1 others, Smith, C. R., 10 Dec 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Conservation Biology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Discrete-space continuous-time models of marine mammal exposure to Navy sonar

    Jones-Todd, C. M., Pirotta, E., Durban, J. W., Claridge, D. E., Baird, R. W., Falcone, E. A., Schorr, G. S., Watwood, S. & Thomas, L., 21 Nov 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Ecological Applications. Early View, 13 p., e02475.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Alternative method for assessment of southwestern Atlantic humpback whale population status

    Bortolotto, G. A., Thomas, L., Hammond, P. S. & Zerbini, A., 17 Nov 2021, In: PLoS ONE. 16, 11, 13 p., e0259541.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. A guide to state–space modeling of ecological time series

    Auger-Méthé, M., Newman, K., Cole, D., Empacher, F., Gryba, R., King, A. A., Leos-Barajas, V., Mills Flemming, J., Nielsen, A., Petris, G. & Thomas, L., Nov 2021, In: Ecological Monographs. 91, 4, 38 p., e01470.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

ID: 272950641