Capstone Title

Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Cetacean Strandings Focusing On The Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus) with a Synthesis of Potential Causes

Defense Date

7-28-2016

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Nicholas Funicelli

Second Advisor

David Kerstetter

Abstract

A comprehensive review of the literature and a quantitative statistical analysis of that information are presented. A total of 6,015 cetaceans stranded at 36 locations from 24 peer reviewed articles published between 1999 and 2014 are documented, with the two most common stranding locations being the Canary Islands - accounting for 49 of the total cetacean stranding events - and Cape Cod - accounting for 31 of total cetacean stranding events. The documented cetacean stranding events included 805 for bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) at a total of ten locations from 11 peer reviewed articles. When all single stranding events are eliminated and the collected data is analyzed, there are more documented stranding events of bottlenose dolphins than of any other cetacean species in the peer-reviewed literature. Using data collected from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network for the Southeast United States, a Chi-Square goodness of fit test is used to determine whether the number of bottlenose dolphin strandings is significantly different from the causes of strandings or causes of death categories. The analyses conclude that there is no significant difference among the categories of strandings or death. The general life history of the bottlenose dolphin is presented with special emphasis on its behavior and social structure, which are thought to affect stranding event frequencies. Various populations of bottlenose dolphins are also explored. The capstone concludes with a synopsis of speculated causes for stranding events and a synthesis discussion of stranding causes.

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