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SEFSC Dolphin Photo ID

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Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This dataset includes sighting information for both identified and unidentified dolphins, dating from 1990 to 2004. more

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for monitoring the populations of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the southeastern United States waters. The main goals of this monitoring are detection of large-scale change in bottlenose dolphin abundance and establishment of archival databases for long-term trend detection. In 1990, the National Oceanographic Administration (NOAA), NMFS, Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) Miami Laboratory initiated low-level monitoring of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in Biscayne Bay, Florida using photographic identification (photo-ID) methods to gather information on the numbers of bottlenose dolphins that utilize this area. Biscayne Bay has been greatly influenced by the development of the Miami area in the past 75 years. Information from 12 years of photo-ID surveys has confirmed the presence of a relatively large, long-term resident, core population of bottlenose dolphins in the bay. Their role as apex predators characterizes these animals as excellent indicators of the overall health of Biscayne Bay. The bottlenose dolphin is a heterogeneous species found throughout temperate and tropical waters. In past years, aerial surveys, photo-identification studies, and, more recently, genetic studies have begun to divide this worldwide species into population stocks. In 1998, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) reported to the Marine Mammal Commission that there appears to be at least four discrete population stocks of bottlenose dolphin in the United States Atlantic waters: a nearshore migratory population that migrates seasonally between North Carolina and northern Florida; year-round resident populations in coastal embayments; an offshore population inhabiting deep water; and an intermixing resident and migratory population that overlap seasonally. It has been shown through a variety of photo-identification studies that populations of bottlenose dolphin inhabit the various embayments along the coast of Florida. Knowledge of population stock structure is critical to developing management plans and understanding how stressors impact individual populations. Researchers have found that photo-identification is one of the best ways to study populations of bottlenose dolphin in near shore environments. Unlike aerial and ship-board surveys, individual dolphins can be identified and tracked temporally and spatially, giving investigators a more comprehensive picture of population stock structure. Photo-identification has been used to study various land and aquatic animals and our techniques are constantly being refined and improved. In January 2000, a meeting was held at the NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC Miami Laboratory to establish a South Florida Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-identification Cooperative. The purpose of creating the cooperative was to facilitate sharing of data and ideas of members through the development of a web-site. The web-site allows researchers from each of the representative photo-identification projects immediate access to current and updated photos and developments from all south Florida projects. The cooperative also links the various south Florida photo-identification projects, increasing the geographic coverage from Port Everglades through Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and the lower Keys. We also invite members of the general public who are interested in our projects to visit our web-site, view our fin images and become more familiar with our work.

Biology > Mammals
Marine/Coastal, A, Atlantic, Cetacea

Geographical coverage
A, Atlantic [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
26 July 1990 - 28 December 2005

Taxonomic coverage
Cetacea [WoRMS]

Federal Government of the United States of America; Department of Commerce; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Marine Fisheries Service; Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), moredata owner

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Published in:
OBIS-SEAMAP: Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations, more

Dataset status: Completed
Data type: Data
Data origin: Monitoring: field survey
Metadatarecord created: 2012-11-27
Information last updated: 2016-06-29
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