Status of the photo-identification catalog of coastal bottlenose dolphins of the western north Atlantic: Report of a workshop of catalog contributors
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Status of the photo-identification catalog of coastal bottlenose dolphins of the western north Atlantic: Report of a workshop of catalog contributors

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    In 1997 the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) established the Mid-Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Photo-ID Catalog (MABDC). This catalog is part of a NMFS program to define stock structure of coastal bottlenose dolphins of the western North Atlantic; the current stock assessment assumes that coastal bottlenose dolphins from New York to central Florida form a single stock. The MABDC is a cooperative program, comprised of images and data contributed by researchers conducting photo-ID studies along the mid-Atlantic States. The NMFS convened a workshop in Virginia Beach, VA to update the contributors on the status of the MABDC, and to discuss future goals and applications of the Catalog. Selection of images from New Jersey (Cape May), Virginia (Virginia Beach and Wallops Island), North Carolina (Nags Head, Cape Hatteras, Beaufort and Wilmington), South Carolina (Charleston and Hilton Head) and Florida (Jacksonville, FL) was completed in December 1998. Images of 3,843 individual dolphins were evaluated at these sites; 1,933 were selected and digitized in the MABDC with associated field data. Systematic matching efforts by the catalog curator are underway; potential matches will be circulated to contributors for verification. Contributors working independently of the MABDC have made a number of matches, and these researchers have provided their results to the MABDC curator. Workshop participants agreed to the following recommendations: additional sites should be included in the MABDC to complete coverage of the putative range of the coastal migratory stock(s) of bottlenose dolphins; images will be submitted from existing catalogs to update the MABDC through 1997; a hard copy of the MABDC will be published and available in 2000. Contributors agreed to provide sighting histories of matched animals and to collaborate on a synthesis paper to be published in the primary.literature that describes matches resulting from the MABDC in the context of stock discrimination.
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