Danilewizc, Daniel, Secchi, Eduardo R., Ott, Paulo H., Moreno, Ignacio B., Bassoi, Manuela and Borges-Martins, Marcio
Habitat use patterns of franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blinavillei) of southern Brazil in relation to water depth
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 89, (5), . (doi:10.1017/S002531540900054X).
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The patterns of habitat use by the franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) along its distribution are poorly known. This study investigates the patterns of habitat use with respect to depth for 181 individuals of different age, size, gender and reproductive condition off Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. The results reveal that franciscanas are very homogeneously distributed according to depth. Individuals from all lengths utilize nearly the entire range of depths of the surveyed area. Larger or older animals do not use deeper waters than younger animals, indicating that body size and age are not limiting factors for franciscanas that occupy deeper or offshore waters. Gestation seems to not cause a change in the distribution of females. Although the sex-ratio of the overall data did not vary from 1:1 in different depth intervals, a small-scale comparison between the northern and southern coast demonstrated the existence of some kind of sexual segregation. Franciscana by-catch in Rio Grande do Sul is not sustainable and it is agreed that management procedures are needed. Nevertheless, the available data on species distribution do not allow the designing of a protected area in order to minimize the by-catches of a particular sex/reproductive class.
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