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Stranded dolphin stomach contents represent the free-ranging population's diet


Dunshea, GJ and Barros, NB and Berens McCabe, EJ and Gales, N and Hindell, MA and Jarman, S and Wells, RS, Stranded dolphin stomach contents represent the free-ranging population's diet, Biology Letters, 9, (3) Article 20121036. ISSN 1744-9561 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.1036


Diet is a fundamental aspect of animal ecology. Cetacean prey species are generally identified by examining stomach contents of stranded individuals. Critical uncertainty in these studies is whether samples from stranded animals are representative of the diet of free-ranging animals. Over two summers, we collected faecal and gastric samples from healthy free-ranging individuals of an extensively studied bottlenose dolphin population. These samples were analysed by molecular prey detection and these data compared with stomach contents data derived from stranded dolphins from the same population collected over 22 years. There was a remarkable consistency in the prey species composition and relative amounts between the two datasets. The conclusions of past stomach contents studies regarding dolphin habitat associations, prey selection and proposed foraging mechanisms are supported bymolecular data fromlive animals and the combined dataset. This is the first explicit test of the validity of stomach contents analysis for accurate population-scale diet determination of an inshore cetacean.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:DNA-based, PCR, Sarasota, foraging
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Dunshea, GJ (Mr Glenn Dunshea)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:89027
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:38
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-02-24
Last Modified:2017-10-31
Downloads:377 View Download Statistics

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