We assessed habitat use by the population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis, in the waters off Zhanjiang, China, by performing boat-based surveys between 2013 and 2018. In total, we gathered 253 sightings of humpback dolphins. To assess habitat use of humpback dolphins within the study area, we measured two spatial metrics at each sighting site: WDT (tide-calibrated water-depth) and DS (distance to the nearest shore). Results showed that dolphins mainly were observed in shallow (WDT: 8.46 ± 5.13 m, mean ± SD) and inshore (DS: 2.17 ± 2.14 km) waters. Their preference of inhabiting shallow waters was more apparent during the wet season (April–September) than during the dry season (October–March); however, they were encountered in waters much closer to shore during the dry season than the wet season. By weighting survey effort, our sighting density maps further confirmed that humpback dolphins changed their habitat use between wet and dry seasons. Such spatiotemporal variations in dolphin habitat use might be associated with spatiotemporal movements of their prey. Our findings provide insights into variations in fine-scale habitat use of inshore apex predators, and also assist to designate proper conservation measures for these vulnerable animals.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 102 • No. 2