More than 1,000 bottlenose dolphins live in the Indian River Lagoon year-round. This estuarine system along the southeast coast of Florida is a narrow and convoluted ecosystem with interconnected bodies of water, a handful of ocean inlets, and numerous small rivers, creeks and canals that release freshwater into the lagoon. While this population of dolphins in the lagoon has been studied extensively, what they do at nighttime is still a mystery.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with Seven Degrees of Mapping LLC, and Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, are the first to use satellite telemetry on this dolphin population, providing unique insights into their behavioural ecology during the overnight hours. Detailed information about their nocturnal movements and habitat use will give scientists a more complete ecological understanding of this population. These dolphins face many direct and indirect threats including boat strikes, entanglements, and environmental contamination. MORE