Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 6, pp 1353–1363 | Cite as

Tidal influences on the habitat use of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins in an estuary

  • Tzu-Hao Lin
  • Tomonari Akamatsu
  • Lien-Siang Chou
Original Paper


This paper offers the first study of diurnal variations in the use of an estuarine habitat by Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Passive acoustic data loggers were deployed in the Xin Huwei River Estuary, Western Taiwan, from July 2009 to December 2010, to collect biosonar clicks. Acoustic encounter rates of humpback dolphins on the riverside of the estuary changed significantly over the four tidal phases, instead of the two diurnal phases based on the recordings from 268 days. Among the tidal phases, the encounter rates were lowest during ebb tides. Additionally, circling movements associated with the hunt for epipelagic fish significantly changed in temporal and spatial presence over the four tidal phases, matching the overall pattern of encounter rate changes in the focal estuary. Our findings suggest that the occurrence pattern and habitat utilization of humpback dolphins are likely to be influenced by the tidal-driven activity of their epipelagic prey.


Tidal Cycle Hydrophone Encounter Rate Flood Tide Movement Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by the Formosa Plastics Group and Research and Development Program for New Bio-industry Initiatives of Japan. We thank the Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory, National Cheng Kung University, and Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan, for allowing us access the fixed pile in the Xin Huwei River Estuary. We appreciate Li-Cing Mei, Long-Jhen Lin, Siou-Syong Wu, and the members of the Cetacean Laboratory, National Taiwan University for their dedicated support to the field surveys on the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins of the west coast of Taiwan. We thank Wu-Jung Lee, Shiang-Lin Huang, Shane Guan, and Florence Evacitas for reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tzu-Hao Lin
    • 1
  • Tomonari Akamatsu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lien-Siang Chou
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.National Research Institute of Fisheries EngineeringFisheries Research AgencyKamisu, IbarakiJapan
  3. 3.Japan Science and Technology AgencyCRESTChiyoda-ku, TokyoJapan

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