Using ecotourism boats for estimating the abundance of a bottlenose dolphin population in south-eastern Australia - Université de Montpellier Accéder directement au contenu
Article Dans Une Revue PLoS ONE Année : 2023

Using ecotourism boats for estimating the abundance of a bottlenose dolphin population in south-eastern Australia

Paola Lacetera
  • Fonction : Auteur
Suzanne Mason
  • Fonction : Auteur
John Arnould

Résumé

It is challenging to collect robust, long-term datasets to properly monitor the viability and social structure of large, long-lived animals, especially marine mammals. The present study used a unique long-term dataset to investigate the population parameters and social structure of a poorly studied population of bottlenose dolphins ( Tursiops sp.) in southern Port Phillip Bay, south-eastern Australia. Photo-identification images have been collected between 2012–2022 both opportunistically and following a protocol by patrons, staff, and volunteers of ecotourism companies using their vessels as platforms. The resulting large dataset was available to be processed through the online platform Flukebook and used in capture recapture models to estimate abundance and demographic parameters. In addition, the social structure of the population and the reproductive parameters were investigated. The marked adult population abundance (45.2 ± 2.7 individuals) was found to be stable over the last decade and the calving rate ranged between 0.06–0.19 new calves per identified individuals per year, while the inter-birth interval was 3.7 ± 0.8 years. Social analysis suggested the population has a fission-fusion structure with no apparent clusters. The stability of the population over the study period suggests no deleterious effect of anthropogenic or environmental factors during the last decade. This study is the outcome of the effort of the ecotourism organisations and the results obtained, along with their similarity to those of other dolphin populations worldwide, highlight the importance of such data sources for long-term information that would otherwise be too expensive or logistically difficult to obtain.

Dates et versions

hal-04262673 , version 1 (27-10-2023)

Identifiants

Citer

Paola Lacetera, Suzanne Mason, Paul Tixier, John Arnould. Using ecotourism boats for estimating the abundance of a bottlenose dolphin population in south-eastern Australia. PLoS ONE, 2023, 18 (8), pp.e0289592. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0289592⟩. ⟨hal-04262673⟩
11 Consultations
0 Téléchargements

Altmetric

Partager

Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More