Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 1895–1900 | Cite as

Occurrence of dusky dolphin lagenorhynchus obscurus in Tierra Del Fuego archipelago over five decades

  • Natalia A. DellabiancaEmail author
  • Mónica A. Torres
  • Andrea Raya Rey
Short Note


Dusky dolphins Lagenorhynchus obscurus are distributed in circumpolar temperate and cold temperate waters of the Southern hemisphere. In Tierra del Fuego, their presence had been considered occasional but in the last decade, they became very common along the Beagle Channel. Here, we evaluate the occurrence of dusky dolphins in Tierra del Fuego along 44 years. We also discuss the relationship of this population with their distribution in southern South America. We used three different datasets: sightings hosted in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System OBIS, incidental sightings, and shipboard sighting surveys. A total of 44 sightings of dusky dolphins in Tierra del Fuego were obtained from the three datasets from 1972 to 2016. Most individuals were recorded in the southern area of the Fuegian Archipelago. Between the 1970s and 90s their occurrence in the Beagle Channel was infrequent up to the year 2000. From 2009 to date, they were recorded each year in the Argentinean Beagle Channel waters during austral summer and fall months, suggesting at least, a seasonal resident population. Our results preclude assessing if the observed groups of dolphins in the southern portion of South America came originally from the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans populations. Molecular and spatial ecology studies (e.g., using satellite tags) could help to better understand which lineage they belong to and their spatio-temporal movements in the area.


Lagenorhynchus obscurus Distribution Beagle Channel Southern South America 



This work is dedicated to the memory of R. Natalie. P. Goodall. Thanks Natalie for your dedication in studying marine mammals at the end of the world. We are grateful to Thomas D. Goodall, Anne N. Goodall, Abby J. Goodall, and the R. Natalie P. Goodall Foundation for their permission to use the RNPG sighting data. We especially thank the captains and the crews on board the R/V Puerto Deseado, Tango SB-15, Prefecto Garcia, Nativa, and Fueguina for all their assistance and cooperation during the surveys. Special thanks are extended to Gabriela Scioscia, Lida Pimper, Natalia Paso Viola, Fernanda Negri, and Natalia Rosciano for participating and collecting data during the cetacean sighting surveys, to Pablo Taraborrelli, Nicolás Lois, and Ulises Balza for the video records of mixed groups of dolphins, to C. Charter and M. Liljesthrom for helping with the English edition, and to G. Hofmeyr and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. This research was possible with the support of the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICT 2012 No. 1832) and the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalia A. Dellabianca
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mónica A. Torres
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea Raya Rey
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecología y Conservación de Vida Silvestre CADIC-CONICETUshuaia, Tierra del FuegoArgentina
  2. 2.Museo Acatushún de Aves y Mamíferos Marinos AustralesTierra del FuegoArgentina
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciencias Polares, Ambiente y Recursos NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Tierra del FuegoUshuaia, Tierra del FuegoArgentina

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