Ocean Science Journal

, 43:175 | Cite as

Influence of seasonal forcing on habitat use by bottlenose dolphinsTursiops truncatus in the Northern Adriatic Sea

  • Giovanni Bearzi
  • Arianna Azzellino
  • Elena Politi
  • Marina Costa
  • Mauro Bastianini


Bottlenose dolphins are the only cetaceans regularly observed in the northern Adriatic Sea, but they survive at low densities and are exposed to significant threats. This study investigates some of the factors that influence habitat use by the animals in a largely homogeneous environment by combining dolphin data with hydrological and physiographical variables sampled from oceanographic ships. Surveys were conducted year-round between 2003 and 2006, totalling 3,397 km of effort. Habitat modelling based on a binary stepwise logistic regression analysis predicted between 81% and 93% of the cells where animals were present. Seven environmental covariates were important predictors: oxygen saturation, water temperature, density anomaly, gradient of density anomaly, turbidity, distance from the nearest coast and bottom depth. The model selected consistent predictors in spring and summer. However, the relationship (inverse or direct) between each predictor and dolphin presence varied among seasons, and different predictors were selected in fall. This suggests that dolphin distribution changed depending on seasonal forcing. As the study area is relatively uniform in terms of bottom topography, habitat use by the animals seems to depend on complex interactions among hydrological variables, caused primarily by seasonal change and likely to determine shifts in prey distribution.

Key words

common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus habitat use Adriatic Sea Mediterranean Sea 


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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute(KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography(KSO) 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Bearzi
    • 1
  • Arianna Azzellino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elena Politi
    • 1
  • Marina Costa
    • 1
  • Mauro Bastianini
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Tethys Research InstituteMilanItaly
  2. 2.Politecnico di MilanoDIIAR Environmental Engineering DeptMilanItaly
  3. 3.CNR-ISMARIstituto di Scienze MarineVeniceItaly

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