Fine-scale population structure of estuarine bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) assessed using stable isotope ratios and fatty acid signature analyses
Abbreviated Journal Title
INDIAN RIVER LAGOON; DELPHINUS-DELPHIS; STENELLA-COERULEOALBA; SPATIAL; VARIATION; STOMACH CONTENTS; COMMON DOLPHINS; STRIPED DOLPHIN; FEEDING; ECOLOGY; EAST-COAST; FLORIDA; Marine & Freshwater Biology
Stable isotope ratios and fatty acid signature analyses were employed to examine the fine-scale population structure of a year-round resident population of 600-800 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Florida. The IRL, a 250-km-long estuary running along the central east coast of Florida (28.0A degrees N, 80.6A degrees W), is comprised of the northern and southern IRL, Mosquito Lagoon (ML), Banana River (BR), and St. Lucie Estuary. Samples of skin and blubber were collected from dead stranded (n = 61, 1994-2004) and live dolphins (n = 153, 2002-2007, 2010, 2011) from throughout the IRL and surrounding environs. Using stable isotopes (SI), dolphins could be assigned to a ML subpopulation, a St. Lucie Estuary subpopulation, and an IRL subpopulation. Fatty acid signature analysis (FASA) allowed for finer resolution, detecting ML and BR subpopulations, a separation of northern and southern IRL subpopulations, and a St. Lucie Estuary subpopulation. Differences between sexes were detectable within subpopulations using FASA, but not using SI. This may indicate that males and females are foraging in similar locations at a similar trophic level (detected using SI), but are varying in the types or proportions of specific prey (indicated by FASA). The combination of these complementary analyses results in a powerful tool for assessing fine-scale population substructure.
"Fine-scale population structure of estuarine bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) assessed using stable isotope ratios and fatty acid signature analyses" (2014). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 5107.