Successful suction-cup tagging of a small delphinid species, Stenella attenuata : insights into whistle characteristics
Silva, Tammy L.
Mooney, T. Aran
Sayigh, Laela S.
Baird, Robin W.
Tyack, Peter L.
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The Delphinidae is the most diverse family of cetaceans, with 38 species recognized. Small pelagic delphinids are also the most abundant cetaceans world-wide, yet their communication and behavior remain poorly understood. Many populations live in relatively remote habitats, which creates challenges in accessing study animals. Small odontocete species often face numerous anthropogenic stressors. For example, many pelagic delphinids incur significant interactions with fisheries (Gerrodette and Forcada 2005, Geijer and Read 2013). With a wide distribution, many delphinid populations utilize habitats that also are important for human seagoing activities that produce intense sound, such as seismic surveys or naval sonar exercises that may disturb or harm them. Many U.S. naval sonar exercises take place on naval training ranges such as those in in Hawai‘i (Baird et al. 2013), California (Carretta et al. 1995, Henderson et al. 2014), and the Bahamas (DeRuiter et al. 2013). At least one delphinid stranding event involving melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) was correlated with military activities (Southall et al. 2006); a mass stranding of melon-headed whales has also been associated with multi-beam echosounder operations as part of a seismic survey (Southall et al. 2013). Because many of these delphinid groups can number in the 100s to 1,000s, fisheries or sonar exposures can account for the highest estimates of marine mammal “takes” in related Environmental Impact Assessments (Department of the Navy 2013). Given the potential for anthropogenic interactions with large numbers of individual delphinids, improved methods of studying small delphinids are invaluable to understand, reduce, or mitigate potential human influences on these animals.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Society for Marine Mammalogy for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Mammal Science 33 (2017): 653–668, doi:10.1111/mms.12376.