Effects of vessel traffic on relative abundance and behaviour of cetaceans

the case of the bottlenose dolphins in the Archipelago de La Maddalena, north-western Mediterranean sea

Maria Grazia Pennino, M. Amparo Pérez Roda, Graham J Pierce, Andrea Rotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Many studies have shown that vessel traffic has both long- and short-term negative effects on marine mammals. Although there has been a great expansion of recreational vessel traffic in the Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, few studies focused on this problem. Here, Bayesian models were used to explore the influence of vessel traffic on behaviour and relative abundance patterns of bottlenose dolphin in the Archipelago de La Maddalena (Italy), a coastal area included within the Pelagos Sanctuary. Results showed that season, moon phase and presence of calves had an effect on the number of adult dolphins per sighting, and that there were differences in occurrence in the sub-areas. On the contrary, the number of vessels was negatively related to the number of adult dolphins and their mean dive intervals. In particular, when more than three recreational boats were present in the area, dolphins surfaced more frequently per unit time and behaviours such as feeding and socializing were not detected. On the contrary, longer mean dive was found when fishing boats were present. Our results provide additional support for the need to consider disturbance such as vessel traffic in management plans for cetacean conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-248
Number of pages12
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume776
Issue number1
Early online date12 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Fingerprint

Tursiops truncatus
cetacean
dolphin
Mediterranean Sea
traffic
archipelago
relative abundance
vessel
dolphins
fishing boats
marine mammals
boats
lunar phase
marine mammal
Italy
calves
fishing
effect
disturbance

Keywords

  • Bayesian models
  • conservation
  • disturbance
  • Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary
  • surfacing rate
  • Tursiops truncatus

Cite this

Effects of vessel traffic on relative abundance and behaviour of cetaceans : the case of the bottlenose dolphins in the Archipelago de La Maddalena, north-western Mediterranean sea. / Pennino, Maria Grazia; Pérez Roda, M. Amparo ; Pierce, Graham J; Rotta, Andrea.

In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 776, No. 1, 08.2016, p. 237-248.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pennino, Maria Grazia ; Pérez Roda, M. Amparo ; Pierce, Graham J ; Rotta, Andrea. / Effects of vessel traffic on relative abundance and behaviour of cetaceans : the case of the bottlenose dolphins in the Archipelago de La Maddalena, north-western Mediterranean sea. In: Hydrobiologia. 2016 ; Vol. 776, No. 1. pp. 237-248.
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abstract = "Many studies have shown that vessel traffic has both long- and short-term negative effects on marine mammals. Although there has been a great expansion of recreational vessel traffic in the Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, few studies focused on this problem. Here, Bayesian models were used to explore the influence of vessel traffic on behaviour and relative abundance patterns of bottlenose dolphin in the Archipelago de La Maddalena (Italy), a coastal area included within the Pelagos Sanctuary. Results showed that season, moon phase and presence of calves had an effect on the number of adult dolphins per sighting, and that there were differences in occurrence in the sub-areas. On the contrary, the number of vessels was negatively related to the number of adult dolphins and their mean dive intervals. In particular, when more than three recreational boats were present in the area, dolphins surfaced more frequently per unit time and behaviours such as feeding and socializing were not detected. On the contrary, longer mean dive was found when fishing boats were present. Our results provide additional support for the need to consider disturbance such as vessel traffic in management plans for cetacean conservation.",
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note = "Acknowledgements This study was part of the Tursiops Project of the Dolphin Research Centre of Caprera, La Maddalena. Financial and logistical support was provided by the Centro Turistico Studentesco (CTS) and by the National Park of the Archipelago de La Maddalena. We thank the Natural Reserve of Bocche di Bonifacio for the support provided during data collection. The authors thank the numerous volunteers of the Caprera Dolphin Research Centre and especially Marco Ferraro, Mirko Ugo, Angela Pira and Maurizio Piras whose assistance during field observation and skills as a boat driver were invaluable.",
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