Common Bottlenose Dolphin Calves Utilize Trawlers in the Galveston Ship Channel
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As the global human footprint increases, animals are forced to adapt biologically and behaviorally. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) show advanced early behavioral plasticity to their environment especially in coastal areas where human activity has steadily increased. Studies of free-ranging common bottlenose dolphins in the Galveston Ship Channel (N29’3, W94’8) have focused primarily on population dynamics leaving many opportunities for behavioral studies that include the assessment of natural and anthropogenic factors that contribute to and affect early developmental adaptations of calves in response to anthropogenic stressors. The objective of this research was to compare historical sighting data to highlight behavioral trends in calf interactions with trawlers and examine the influence of group size on the probability of interaction. Results support the maintained hypothesis that dolphin calves are consistently interacting with trawlers in the Galveston Ship Channel with group size a significant influence. The body of knowledge produced should increase the understanding of how bottlenose dolphin calves adapt to human activity in a congested waterway. Understanding how anthropogenic influence affects the behavior of this key species will also aid in enhancing coastal management policies and projects geared towards biological and coastal conservation.
Teague, Randall Cory (2018). Common Bottlenose Dolphin Calves Utilize Trawlers in the Galveston Ship Channel. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from