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Factors driving patterns and trends in strandings of small cetaceans

AuthorsSaavedra, Camilo; Pierce, Graham J.; Gago, Jesús ; Jusufovski, Gunja; Cabrero, A.; Cerviño, Santiago; López, Alfredo; Martínez-Cedeira, José A.; Santos, M. Begoña
Issue Date2017
CitationMarine Biology 164(8): 165 (2017)
AbstractThe incidence of cetacean strandings is expected to depend on a combination of factors, including the distribution and abundance of the cetaceans, their prey, and causes of mortality (e.g. natural, fishery bycatch), as well as currents and winds which affect whether carcasses reach the shore. We investigated spatiotemporal patterns and trends in the numbers of strandings of three species of small cetacean in Galicia (NW Spain) and their relationships with meteorological, oceanographic, prey abundance and fishing-related variables, aiming to disentangle the relationship that may exist between these factors, cetacean abundance and mortality off the coast. Strandings of 1166 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), 118 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and 90 harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) during 2000–2013 were analysed. Generalised additive and generalised additive-mixed model results showed that the variables which best explained the pattern of strandings of the three cetacean species were those related with local ocean meteorology (strength and direction of the North–South component of the winds and the number of days with South-West winds) and the winter North Atlantic Oscillation Index. There were no significant relationships with indices of fishing effort or landings. Only bottlenose dolphin showed possible fluctuations in local abundance over the study period. There was no evidence of long-term trends in number of strandings in any of the species and their abundances were, therefore, considered to have been relatively stable during the study period
Description17 páginas, 6 figuras, 5 tablas
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00227-017-3200-3
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