Resource partitioning in sympatric delphinids: space use and habitat preferences of Australian snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback whales

Parra, Guido J. (2006) Resource partitioning in sympatric delphinids: space use and habitat preferences of Australian snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback whales. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75 (4). pp. 862-874.

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Abstract

Many species of delphinids co-occur in space and time. However, little is known of their ecological interactions and the underlying mechanisms that mediate their coexistence. Snubfin Orcaella heinsohni, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins Sousa chinensis, live in sympatry throughout most of their range in Australian waters. I conducted boat-based surveys in Cleveland Bay, north-east Queensland, to collect data on the space and habitat use of both species. Using Geographic Information Systems, kernel methods and Euclidean distances I investigated interspecific differences in their space use patterns, behaviour and habitat preferences. Core areas of use (50% kernel range) for both species were located close to river mouths and modified habitat such as dredged channels and breakwaters close to the Port of Townsville. Foraging and travelling activities were the dominant behavioural activities of snubfin and humpback dolphins within and outside their core areas. Their representative ranges (95% kernel range) overlapped considerably, with shared areas showing strong concordance in the space use by both species. Nevertheless, snubfin dolphins preferred slightly shallower (1–2 m) waters than humpback dolphins (2–5 m). Additionally, shallow areas with seagrass ranked high in the habitat preferences of snubfin dolphins, whereas humpback dolphins favoured dredged channels. Slight differences in habitat preferences appear to be one of the principal factors maintaining the coexistence of snubfin and humpback dolphins. I suggest diet partitioning and interspecific aggression as the major forces determining habitat selection in these sympatric species.

Item ID: 3768
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coexistence; delphinidae; habitat selection; orcaella heinsohni; sousa chinensis
ISSN: 1365-2656
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 00:00
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 25
Downloads: Total: 1
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