Author Archive

Historical ecosystem disturbance and recovery of Sarasota Bay recorded in bottlenose dolphin stable isotopes

Jan 17, 2012 2 comments

Coastal estuaries such as Sarasota Bay are reservoirs of biological diversity; however, out of the thousands of species that inhabit Sarasota Bay, bottlenose dolphins are of special ecological importance for at least two reasons. They are large predators near the top of their food web and they are long-lived. Top predators are useful indicators of [...]

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Diets of Risso’s dolphins and offshorebottlenose dolphins

Jan 17, 2012 No Comments

The objective of the study was to develop and compare information on diet from stomach content analysis of stranded specimens of two dolphin species that are known to use offshore habitats. Data were available from eight Risso’s dolphins and 17 offshore bottlenose dolphins, stranded along the Gulf of Mexico, on the east coast of Florida [...]

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Historical trends in Sarasota Bay bottlenose dolphin foraging habits revealed through carbon isotopes

Dec 21, 2010 No Comments

My contribution to dolphin conservation comes not from observing bottlenose dolphins directly in the warm Sarasota sun but rather by exploiting new mass spectrometric techniques that allow me to uncover various attributes of foraging habits by measuring tiny amounts of animal tissue. These techniques involve analysis of the stable isotopes of carbon. Different types of [...]

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Stable isotopes in bottlenose dolphin teeth as tools in population differentiation

Jan 11, 2009 No Comments

Bottlenose dolphins are the most frequently-sighted cetaceans in coastal waters of the southeastern U.S. Records also indicate that they are the most common species to strand in this area. As such, they are widely represented in marine mammal museum collections throughout the region. In the most extensive of these collections, a wealth of associated biological [...]

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Validating stranding data in feeding ecology studies of bottlenose dolphins from Sarasota Bay, using long-term observations

Jan 19, 2008 No Comments

We have been using the ratios of stable isotopes in dolphin tissues to examine feeding patterns of bottlenose dolphins along Florida’s west coast. Results from the stable isotope analyses suggest that differences exist at the population level, which allow us to distinguish offshore and various inshore dolphin populations, and we have started to examine potential [...]

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Diet determination of Sarasota Bay bottlenose dolphins, using DNA-based identification of prey remains in scat samples

Jan 12, 2008 No Comments

This work is part of larger on-going studies being conducted by the Australian Antarctic Division, developing and applying methods to determine the diet of free ranging cetaceans, non-invasively. We are using the simple concept that if prey is eaten, then prey remains will be present in fecal matter (‘scat’) and the prey can be identified [...]

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Bottlenose dolphin population differentiation and trophic studies using Carbon, Nitrogen, and Sulfur stable isotopes and stomach content analyses

Jan 16, 2007 No Comments

By Nélio Barros, PhD, Mote Marine Laboratory, Peggy Ostrom, PhD, Michigan State University, Craig Stricker, PhD, U.S. Geological Survey, and Randall S. Wells, PhD We used a combined approach of stable isotope and conventional stomach content analyses in dietary and population differentiation studies of bottlenose dolphins from central west Florida. Teeth obtained from dolphins stranded [...]

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Understanding bottlenose dolphin feeding ecology through combined analyses of stomach contents and stable isotopes

Jan 13, 2006 No Comments

We are studying the feeding ecology of bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay by combining traditional analyses of stomach contents of stranded animals with assessments of stable isotopes in tissues of both dolphins and their preferred prey. The advantage of this approach is that it incorporates short-term evidence of prey consumption (stomach contents) with data derived [...]

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Bottlenose Dolphin Dietary Studies in West Central Florida: Assessing Variability in Different Geographic Scales

Jan 10, 2005 No Comments

Understanding the feeding ecology of free-ranging dolphins is crucial for the interpretation of data obtained on distribution and movements, behavioral and social structure, human interactions and competition with fisheries, ecophysiology, and bioaccumulation of contaminants and pollutants through the food chain. To assess geographic variability in bottlenose dolphin diet along the west central coast of Florida, [...]

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