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Residency patterns and site fidelity of Grampus griseus (Cuvier, 1812) in the Gulf of Taranto (Northern Ionian Sea, Central-Eastern Mediterranean Sea)

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Abstract

The residency pattern and site fidelity of Risso’s dolphin Grampus griseus were studied using sightings data collected during standardized vessel-based surveys carried out from 2013 to 2018 in the Gulf of Taranto (Northern Ionian Sea, Central-Eastern Mediterranean Sea). The photo-identification of 91 individuals of G. griseus and the occurrence of re-sighted dolphins up to 8 times provide the evidence that this mid-sized odontocetes persistently occurred in the study area. The presence of transient individuals, visitors, and seasonal residents in the Gulf of Taranto, along with the 29 multi-year resident Risso’s dolphins observed from 2 to 4 times on different years, indicated some degree of inter-annual variability in its temporal use of the area. Moreover, the occurrence of newborns and calves through the study period suggests the possibility to consider the Gulf of Taranto as both nursery and feeding area for females caring for their offspring. The importance of the Gulf of Taranto as critical habitat for the Risso’s dolphin as well as the common bottlenose dolphin and the striped dolphin candidates this area as potential Important Marine Mammal Area, in which enforce specific conservation measures are aimed to mitigate the anthropogenic pressure on different cetacean species according to ACCOBAMS and the MMPATF indication.

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Correspondence to Giulia Cipriano.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest (financial or non-financial). In addition, authors declare that the research for this study was carried out under authorizations provided by the CITES Regional Services (Register no. 6263/2009/PAB_CFS).

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Communicated by: Thales Renato Ochotorena de Freitas

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Carlucci, R., Baş, A.A., Liebig, P. et al. Residency patterns and site fidelity of Grampus griseus (Cuvier, 1812) in the Gulf of Taranto (Northern Ionian Sea, Central-Eastern Mediterranean Sea). Mamm Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-020-00485-z

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Keywords

  • Photo-identification
  • Risso’s dolphin
  • Residence patterns
  • Conservation