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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versión impresa ISSN 1519-6984versión On-line ISSN 1678-4375


WEDEKIN, LL.; DAURA-JORGE, FG.; PIACENTINI, VQ.  y  SIMOES-LOPES, PC.. Seasonal variations in spatial usage by the estuarine dolphin, Sotalia guianensis (van Bénéden, 1864) (Cetacea; Delphinidae) at its southern limit of distribution. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2007, vol.67, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 1519-6984.

The use of space by the resident population of estuarine dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) in Norte Bay, southern Brazil was studied by boat surveys between 2000 and 2003. Data such as the geographical position and group size was collected at 5-minute intervals using focal-group sampling. The distribution and seasonal and daily group home-ranges were estimated using a GIS (Geographic Information System) environment. The dolphins did not use the area homogeneously, restricting their activities to a well-defined area located in the western part of the bay, while the use of the eastern part was not observed. A discrepancy between the Environment Protection Area of Anhatomirim, created especially to protect this population and the distribution of the dolphins was observed. Seasonal group home-range varied both qualitatively and quantitatively among the four consecutive seasons analyzed. The dolphins tended to use a larger area in cold seasons, when apparently the abundance of major prey items is lower. Core areas of intense use were identified, and also varied seasonally. These core areas may be regarded as critical habitats and require special legislation and control. The mean daily group home-range did not differ statistically among seasons. The present study corroborates a spatially strict residency pattern of the estuarine dolphin in highly productive coastal ecosystems.

Palabras clave : distribution; home-range; seasonality; Cetacea; Norte Bay.

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