Environmental factors related to group size and habitat use of Guiana dolphins from São Marcos Bay, Amazon coast

Abstract

Environmental changes can affect the social structure and disrupt habitat use of marine mammal species. An impact on the social dynamics of dolphins, including group size structure, may attenuate the feeding success and increasing predation risk, especially considering species exhibiting small home ranges, which impose particular habitat dependency and high vulnerability to environmental changes. In this regard, the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis, Van Benéden, 1864) is a particularly endangered species due to its coastal distribution and considerable small home range. The aim of this study was first to conduct a spatial assessment of the dolphin groups sighted in the São Marcos Bay (SMB; Northeastern Brazil), one of the most important port areas in Brazil. The results show an overlap between the distribution of the dolphin groups and the port activities area, which includes the loading zone at the main port area and the navigation channel used by large cargo ships and other vessels. Also, a GLM regression was conducted to identify the best combination of selected variables that best predict the group size of the dolphins. The predictor variables included: salinity, sea surface temperature, depth, water transparency, distance from the main port area, and the feeding activity of the groups sighted. The results indicated that larger dolphin groups were found in areas closer to the main port area and were associated with foraging activities. Therefore, the results suggest that this dolphin population might be exposed to threats linked to the port activities, which may include noise pollution, vessel collision, and chemical pollution.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Acevedo-Gutiérrez A (2018) Group Behavior. In: Wursig B, Thewissen JGM, Kovacs KM (eds) Encyclopedia of marine mammals, 3rd edn. Elsevier Academic Press, California, pp 428–435

    Google Scholar 

  2. Azevedo AF, Viana SC, Oliveira AM, Van Sluys M (2005) Group characteristics of marine tucuxis (Sotalia fluviatilis) (Cetacea: Delphinidae) in Guanabara Bay, south-eastern Brazil. J Mar Biol Assoc U K 85:209–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Barbosa AM, Brown JA, Jimenez-Valverde A, Real R (2016) Package “modEvA”: model evaluation and analysis version. Compr. R Arch. Netw., pp 1–45

  4. Beltrán-Pedreros S, Pantoja TM (2006) Feeding habits of Sotalia fluviatilis in the Amazonian Estuary. Acta Sci Biol Sci 28:389–393

    Google Scholar 

  5. Blasi MF, Boitani L (2014) Complex social structure of an endangered population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Aeolian Archipelago (Italy). PLoS One 9:e114849

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  7. Camelo GR, Coelho AS, Borges RM, Souza RM (2010) Teoria das filas e da simulação aplicada ao embarque de minério de ferro e manganês no terminal marítimo de Ponta da Madeira. Cad do IME Série Estatística 29:1–16

    Google Scholar 

  8. Carvalho-Neta RNF, Torres AR, Abreu-Silva AL (2012) Biomarkers in catfish Sciades herzbergii (Teleostei: Ariidae) from polluted and non-polluted areas (São Marcos’ Bay, Northeastern Brazil). Appl Biochem Biotechnol 166:1314–1327

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. da Silva VMF, Fettuccia D, Rodrigues ES, Edwards H, Moreno IB, Moura JF, Wedekin LL, Bazzalo M, Emin-Lima NR, Carmo NAS, Utreras V (2010) Report of the working group on distribution, habitat characteristics and preferences, and group size. Lat Am J Aquat Mamm 8:31–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. de Souza AS, Torres JPM, Meire RO, Neves RC, Couri MS, Serejo CS (2008) Organochlorine pesticides (OCs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in sediments and crabs (Chasmagnathus granulata, Dana, 1851) from mangroves of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Chemosphere 73:S186–S192

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. El-Robrini M, Marques VJ, Silva MA, El-Robrini MHS, Feitosa A, Tarouco JEF, Santos JHS, Viana JR (2006) Maranhão. In: Muehe D (ed) Erosão e progradação do litoral Brasileiro. IBAMA-MMA, Brasília, pp 87–130

    Google Scholar 

  12. Flores PAC, da Silva VMF, Fettuccia DC (2018) Tucuxi and Guiana dolphins: Sotalia fluviatilis and S. guianensis. In: Wursig B, Thewissen JGM, Kovacs KM (eds) Encyclopedia of marine mammals, 3rd edn. Elsevier Academic Press, California, pp 1024–1027

    Google Scholar 

  13. Garri RG, Magalhães FA, Tosi CH, Júnior TBL (2008) Conservação dos Cetáceos no Maranhão. In: Selbach J, Leite JRSA (eds) Meio ambiente no Baixo Parnaíba: olhos no mundo, pés na região. EDUFMA, São Luis, pp 135–150

    Google Scholar 

  14. González-Gorbeña E, Rosman PCC, Qassim RY (2015) Assessment of the tidal current energy resource in São Marcos Bay, Brazil. J Ocean Eng Mar Energy 1:421–433

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Herzing DL, Johnson CM (2015) Dolphin communication and cognition: past, present, and future. MIT Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  16. Izidoro FB, Le Pendu Y (2012) Estuarine dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) (Van Bénéden, 1864) (Cetacea: Delphinidae) in Porto de Ilhéus, Brazil: group characterisation and response to ships. North West J Zool 8:232–240

    Google Scholar 

  17. Jensen FH, Bejder L, Wahlberg M, Soto NA, Johnson M, Madsen PT (2009) Vessel noise effects on delphinid communication. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 395:161–175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kahle D, Wickham H, Jackson S, Korpela M (2019) Ggmap: spatial visualization with ggplot2. v.3.0.0, pp 1–65

  19. Leão DT, Monteiro-Filho ELA, Silva FJL (2016) Acoustic parameters of sounds emitted by Sotalia guianensis: dialects or acoustic plasticity. J Mammal 97:611–618

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Marega-Imamura M, Carvalho GH, Le Pendu Y, da Silva PS, Schiavetti A (2018) Behavioral responses of Sotalia guianensis (Cetartiodactyla, Delphinidae) to boat approaches in northeast Brazil. Lat Am J Aquat Res 46:268–279

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Midgley GF (2012) Biodiversity and ecosystem function. Science 335:174–175

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Moura JF, Hauser-davis RA, Lemos L, Emin-Lima R, Siciliano S (2014) Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) as marine ecosystem sentinels: ecotoxicology and emerging diseases. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 228:1–29

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Nachtigall PE, Supin AY, Pacini AF, Kastelein RA (2018) Four odontocete species change hearing levels when warned of impending loud sound. Integr Zool 13:160–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Oliveira ECS, Tardin RH, Poletto FR, Simão SM (2013) Coordinated feeding behavior of the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae), in southeastern Brazil: a comparison between populations. Zoologia 30:585–591

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Pais FDS, Cardoso RP, Rossi-santos MR, Wedekin LL, Silva FJL, Monteiro-Filho ELA, Leão DTM (2018) Anthropogenic noise and Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) in Brazil: ecological and conservation concerns. In: Rossi-Santos MR, Finkl CW (eds) Advances in marine vertebrate research in Latin America. Springer, Cham, pp 321–366

    Google Scholar 

  26. Pennino MG, Mendoza M, Pira A, Floris A, Rotta A (2013) Assessing foraging tradition in wild bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Aquat Mamm 39:282–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Rodrigues CAL, Ribeiro RP, Santos NB, Almeida ZS (2016) Patterns of mollusc distribution in mangroves from the São Marcos Bay, coast of Maranhão State, Brazil. Acta Amaz 46:391–400

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Rossi-santos MR, Flores PAC (2009) Feeding strategies of the Guiana dolphin Sotalia guianensis. Open Mar Biol J 3:70–76

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Santos MCO, Rosso S (2007) Ecological aspects of marine tucuxi dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) based on group size and composition in the Cananéia Estuary, southeastern Brazil. Lat Am J Aquat Mamm 6:71–82

    Google Scholar 

  30. Sarabia RE, Heithaus MR, Kiszka JJ (2017) Spatial and temporal variation in abundance, group size and behaviour of bottlenose dolphins in the Florida coastal Everglades. J Mar Biol Assoc U K 98:1097–1107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Secchi ER (2012) Sotalia guianensis. IUCN Red List Threat. Species. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T181359A144232542.en

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Siciliano S, Emin-lima NR, Costa AF, Rodrigues ALF, Magalhães FA, Tosi CH, Garri RG, da Silva CR, Silva JS (2008) Revisão do conhecimento sobre os mamíferos aquáticos da costa norte do Brasil. Arq do Mus Nac 66:1–21

    Google Scholar 

  33. Tardin RHO, Especie MA, Nery MF, D’Azeredo FT, Simão S (2011) Coordinated feeding tactics of the Guiana dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea: Delphinidae), in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Zoologia 28:291–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Tardin R, Galvão C, Espécie M, Simão S (2013) Group structure of Guiana dolphins, Sotalia guianensis (Cetacea, Delphinidae) in Ilha Grande Bay, Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil. Lat Am J Aquat Res 41:313–322

    Google Scholar 

  35. Tavares DC, Guadagnin DL, Moura JF, Siciliano S, Merico A (2015) Environmental and anthropogenic factors structuring waterbird habitats of tropical coastal lagoons: implications for management. Biol Conserv 186:12–21

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Tobeña M, Prieto R, Machete M, Silva MA (2016) Modeling the potential distribution and richness of cetaceans in the Azores from fisheries observer program data. Front Mar Sci 3:1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Van Waerebeek K, Baker AN, Félix F, Iñiguez M, Sanino GP, Secchi E, Sutaria D, van Helden A, Wang Y (2007) Vessel collisions with small cetaceans worldwide and with large whales in the Southern Hemisphere, an initial assessment. Lat Am J Aquat Mamm 6:43–69

    Google Scholar 

  38. Venables WN, Ripley BD (2002) Modern Applied Statistics with S. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  39. Wickham H (2016) Ggplot2—elegant graphics for data analysis. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  40. Wisniewska DM, Johnson M, Teilmann J, Siebert U, Galatius A, Dietz R, Madsen PT (2018) High rates of vessel noise disrupt foraging in wild harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Proc R Soc B 285:20172314

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Zuur A, Ieno EN, Walker N, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank our boat captain Cabelo for his enthusiasm and professionalism during the research survey.

Funding

This study was funded by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) via the project COMPLEX (Grant Nr. 57384894/08).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jailson Fulgencio Moura.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Moura, J.F., Pivari, D. & Pagliani, B. Environmental factors related to group size and habitat use of Guiana dolphins from São Marcos Bay, Amazon coast. Trop Ecol 60, 426–432 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42965-019-00041-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Amazon coast
  • Brazil
  • Environmental change
  • Group size
  • Guiana dolphin
  • Sotalia guianensis