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Sarasota Bay/Little Sarasota Bay bottlenose dolphin abundance, estimates 2015
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  • Alternative Title:
    Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, 25 March 2016
  • Description:
    "The common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) inhabiting the bay, sound, and estuary waters of the central west coast of Florida, near Sarasota, have been studied by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program since 1970 (Irvine et al. 1981, Wells 2009, 2014). Multi-decadal, year-round residency has been well-documented for the Sarasota dolphins, with as many as five concurrent generations, including individuals up to 66 years of age (Wells et al. 1987, Wells 2014). Most of the resident dolphins are individually distinctive, from natural markings, tag scars, or from freeze-brands applied during health assessment studies (Wells 2009), facilitating abundance estimations from direct censuses (Wells 2009) or markrecapture analyses (Irvine et al. 1981, Wells and Scott 1990). With the recent standardization of capture-mark-recapture approaches for bottlenose dolphin abundance estimation, we have developed a system for performing comparable analyses for Sarasota Bay dolphins, to be able to more easily and consistently provide abundance estimates for NMFS Stock Assessment Reports. A description of this approach, as well as the resulting abundance estimate, are presented below. It should be noted that this abundance estimate is specific to the geographic regions conforming to the NMFS stock that includes dolphins using Sarasota Bay and Little Sarasota Bay on a regular basis in 2015 (combined blocks B20 and B35). This estimate is not necessarily representative of estimates of numbers of animals comprising the Sarasota dolphin community, a unit that is described by social, behavioral, and genetic factors in addition to geography (Wells et al. 1987, Wells 2014)"--Background. [doi:10.7289/V5/RD-PRBD-2016-02 (]
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