Dolphin Photo Identification Explained

Oct 20, 2011 No comments

Individual bottlenose dolphins can be identified by their dorsal fins. But how exactly is that done? And why bother? A new report published by NOAA, with SDRP staff members Brian Balmer and Randy Wells as co-authors, explores the use of photo identification as a tool for making abundance estimates of inshore populations of bottlenose dolphins. [...]

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Dolphin Survey Update: 9 New Calves in 2011

Oct 07, 2011 2 Comments

To date, 9 calves have been born to Sarasota Bay resident dolphins, and 3 more to mothers seen frequently around the periphery of the Sarasota home range. While these are encouraging numbers, calf mortality averages about 50% during their first year of life, so we’ll have to wait and see how well they do. Happily, [...]

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) of the St. Joseph Bay bottlenose dolphin community

Dec 21, 2010 No Comments

By Brian Balmer, MS, PhD Student, Chicago Zoological Society and University of North Carolina Wilmington In response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we were contracted to perform a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) on the St. Joseph Bay bottlenose dolphin community. The overall goals of the NRDA process, which is part of NOAA’s Damage [...]

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Sarasota Bay dolphin monitoring program

Jan 05, 2008 4 Comments

We have been able to continue our year-round monthly monitoring of the Sarasota dolphin community thanks to support from 15 Earthwatch Institute volunteers and NOAA’s Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Sarasota bottlenose dolphin community is one of the most thoroughly studied free-ranging dolphin populations in the world. We continue to address increasingly refined questions about the [...]

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Investigating impacts of Hurricane Charley and red tide on dolphin abundance, reproductive rates, distribution, and residency in Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound.

Jan 04, 2008 No Comments

Do major ecological disturbances impact resident dolphin populations? The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program was in a unique position to evaluate this question as both Hurricane Charley in August 2004 and a severe red tide in 2005 impacted Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound. These combined events may have affected habitat health, including prey fish availability, [...]

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Earthwatch Dolphin Monitoring Program 2005-2006

Jan 10, 2007 No Comments

We have been able to continue our year-round monthly monitoring of the Sarasota dolphin community thanks to support from Earthwatch Institute volunteers and NOAA Fisheries. The Sarasota bottlenose dolphin community is the most thoroughly studied free-ranging dolphin population in the world. We continue to address increasingly refined questions about the lives of these animals with [...]

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Genetic analyses of stock structure in Tampa Bay: Examining community structure of bottlenose dolphins in Tampa Bay using a genetic approach

Jan 08, 2006 No Comments

In my Master’s thesis work I described five separate communities of dolphins in Tampa Bay, defined by their patterns of association and home ranges. We are now estimating gene flow among these communities and determining how well our observations fit the “Boundary Rank” model described by Karen Martien and associates. To address these questions, we [...]

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Earthwatch Dolphin Monitoring Program 2004-2005

Jan 06, 2006 No Comments

The Sarasota bottlenose dolphin community remains the most thoroughly studied free-ranging dolphin population in the world. We have been able to continue our year-round monthly monitoring of the Sarasota dolphin community during 2005 thanks largely to continuing support from Earthwatch Institute volunteers and NOAA Fisheries. We continue to address increasingly refined questions about the lives [...]

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Bottlenose dolphin abundance, distribution, seasonal and long-term site fidelity in the Charlotte Harbor Ecosystem

Jan 05, 2006 No Comments

Long-term studies documenting abundance trends and site fidelity of bottlenose dolphins in coastal estuaries can provide clues to the health of the ecosystem and stocks for management decisions. Dolphin distribution within these estuaries can be indicative of environmental features and prey distribution. We completed multi-week photographic identification surveys during September 2001, 2002, and 2003 and [...]

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