Scientia Marina, Vol 81, No 1 (2017)

Tidal and seasonal influences in dolphin habitat use in a southern Brazilian estuary


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.04495.25A

Renan Lopes Paitach
Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals, Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC - Laboratory of Coastal Ecosystems, University of Joinville Region - UNIVILLE , Brazil
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2889-8660

Paulo César Simões-Lopes
Laboratory of Aquatic Mammals, Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC , Brazil
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7338-3669

Marta Jussara Cremer
Laboratory of Coastal Ecosystems, University of Joinville Region - UNIVILLE , Brazil
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3521-1409

Abstract


In this study we describe how franciscana and Guiana dolphin habitat use is influenced by tidal cycles and seasonality in Babitonga Bay. The franciscanas use a greater area in winter and a smaller area in summer, but the extent of the area used did not vary with the tide. Guiana dolphins did not change the extent of the area used within seasons or tides. Franciscanas remained closer to the mouth of the bay and the islands during ebb tide, moving to the inner bay areas and closer to the mainland coast during flood tide. Guiana dolphin used areas closer to the mainland coast during the flood tide. Guiana dolphin patterns of movement do not seem to be related to the tidal current. Franciscanas used sandier areas while Guiana dolphins preferred muddy areas, with some seasonal variation. We suggest that these dolphins modify their distributions based on habitat accessibility and prey availability. This study enhances our knowledge of critical habitat characteristics for franciscana and Guiana dolphins, and these factors should be considered when planning local human activities targeting species conservation.

Keywords


tide cycles; survey method; franciscana dolphin; Guiana dolphin; critical habitat; Babitonga Bay; SW Atlantic Ocean

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References


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