Movement Patterns of Odontocetes Through Space and Time

  • Stefan Bräger
  • Zsuzsanna Bräger
Part of the Ethology and Behavioral Ecology of Marine Mammals book series (EBEMM)


Odontocetes are constantly on the move, but resulting movement patterns have rarely been analyzed comparatively. Within the continuum of space and time, several distinct patterns appear: diel, short-term, seasonal, and exceptionally long-distance movements, together delineating home ranges that may be occupied for extended periods or repeatedly. A variety of methods have been used to study movement patterns of odontocetes, such as absence/presence, photo-identification of individuals, static acoustic monitoring, and marking and tagging of individuals (e.g., with radio tags or satellite transmitters). These methods can provide a wealth of information at a variety of scales and thus not always comparable. We highlight examples of recent research on selected taxa: Physeter, Ziphiidae and Globicephalinae, Orcinus, Monodontidae, Stenella, Grampus, Delphinus, Tursiops, Sousa, Sotalia, Cephalorhynchus, Phocoena, Neophocaena, Phocoenoides, Inia, and Platanista. Prey availability and predation pressure are main drivers of movement patterns, although social factors also shape movement patterns, to date much overlooked.


Diel Dispersal Displacement Distance Home range Migration Residency Seasonal Site fidelity Transit speed 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Bräger
    • 1
  • Zsuzsanna Bräger
    • 1
  1. 1.German Oceanographic Museum (DMM)StralsundGermany

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