Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Assigning stranded bottlenose dolphins to source stocks using stable isotope ratios following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

A. A. Hohn, L. Thomas, R. H. Carmichael, J. Litz, C. Clemons-Chevis, S. F. Shippee, C. Sinclair, S. Smith, T. R. Speakman, M. C. Tumlin, E. S. Zolman

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The potential for stranded dolphins to serve as a tool for monitoring free-ranging populations would be enhanced if their stocks of origin were known. We used stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur from skin to assign stranded bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus to different habitats, as a proxy for stocks (demographically independent populations), following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Model results from biopsy samples collected from dolphins from known habitats (n = 205) resulted in an 80.5% probability of correct assignment. These results were applied to data from stranded dolphins (n = 217), resulting in predicted assignment probabilities of 0.473, 0.172, and 0.355 to Estuarine, Barrier Island (BI), and Coastal stocks, respectively. Differences were found west and east of the Mississippi River, with more Coastal dolphins stranding in western Louisiana and more Estuarine dolphins stranding in Mississippi. Within the Estuarine East Stock, 2 groups were identified, one predominantly associated with Mississippi and Alabama estuaries and another with western Florida. δ15N values were higher in stranded samples for both Estuarine and BI stocks, potentially indicating nutritional stress. High probabilities of correct assignment of the biopsy samples indicate predictable variation in stable isotopes and fidelity to habitat. The power of δ34S to discriminate habitats relative to salinity was essential. Stable isotopes may provide guidance regarding where additional testing is warranted to confirm demographic independence and aid in determining the source habitat of stranded dolphins, thus increasing the value of biological data collected from stranded individuals.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalEndangered Species Research
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Carbon, Gulf of Mexico, Nitrogen, Stock structure, Sulfur, Tursiops truncatus

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Simulating cetacean responses to sonar exposure within a Bayesian hierarchical modelling framework: technical report

    Bouchet, P., Harris, C. M. & Thomas, L., 21 Apr 2020, University of St Andrews. 39 p. (CREEM Technical Report; no. 2020-01)

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  2. Using density surface models to estimate spatio-temporal changes in population densities and trend

    Camp, R. J., Miller, D. L., Thomas, L., Buckland, S. T. & Kendall, S. J., 9 Apr 2020, In : Ecography. Early View, 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Roaring and repetition: how bowhead whales adjust their call density and source level (Lombard effect) in the presence of natural and seismic airgun survey noise

    Thode, A. M., Blackwell, S. B., Conrad, A. S., Kim, K. H., Marques, T., Thomas, L., Oedekoven, C. S., Harris, D. & Broker, K., 31 Mar 2020, In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, 3, p. 2061-2080 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Harbour Seal Decline – vital rates and drivers: Report to Scottish Government HSD2.

    Arso Civil, M., Langley, I., Law, A., Hague, E., Jacobson, E. K., Thomas, L., Smout, S. C., Hewitt, R., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Brownlow, A., Davison, N., Doeschate, M., McConnell, B. J. & Hall, A. J., 2020, Sea Mammal Research Unit. 46 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  5. Estimating group size from acoustic footprint to improve Blainville’s beaked whale abundance estimation

    Marques, T. A., Jorge, P. A., Mouriño, H., Thomas, L., Moretti, D. J., Dolan, K., Claridge, D. & Dunn, C., 15 Dec 2019, In : Applied Acoustics . 156, p. 434-439

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Lucía Martina Martín López (Member of editorial board)
    2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Sophie Caroline Smout (Reviewer)
    7 Mar 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Monica Arso Civil (Reviewer)
    2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Jason Matthiopoulos (Editor)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. First abundance estimate for white whales Delphinapterus leucas in Svalbard, Norway

    Vacquié-garcia, J., Lydersen, C., Marques, T. A., Andersen, M. & Kovacs, K., 27 Feb 2020, In : Endangered Species Research. 41, p. 253-263

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta density and abundance in Chesapeake Bay and the temperate ocean waters of the southern portion of the Mid-Atlantic Bight

    Barco, S. G., Burt, M. L., DiGiovanni, R. A., Swingle, W. M. & Williard, A. S., 13 Dec 2018, In : Endangered Species Research. 37, p. 269-287 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Animal Counting Toolkit: a practical guide to small-boat surveys for estimating abundance of coastal marine mammals

    Williams, R., Ashe, E. E., Gaut, K., Gryba, R., Moore, J. E., Rexstad, E., Sandilands, D., Steventon, J. & Reeves, R., 10 Aug 2017, In : Endangered Species Research. 34, p. 149-165 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Late summer distribution and abundance of ice-associated whales in the Norwegian High Arctic

    Vacquié-Garcia, J., Lydersen, C., Marques, T. A., Aars, J., Ahonen, H., Skern-Mauritzen, M., Øien, N. & Kovacs, K. M., 7 Feb 2017, In : Endangered Species Research. 32, p. 59-70 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249577624

Top