Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Marine Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Samuel Purkis

Second Advisor

Matthew Johnston

Third Advisor

Bernhard Riegl


Cetacean strandings provide valuable biological and geographic information, including various human impacts to vulnerable populations. This study utilizes global information systems (GIS) to conduct geospatial analyses of common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, strandings impacted by fishery interactions in Florida from 2002 to 2014 along with summary statistics of the types of interaction and gear involved. In addition four human impact factors, average human population, average number of boat licenses, average number of fishing permits, and coastline length, were compared to the stranding densities per county for association and predictability. Four regions of stranding “hotspots” were identified, and all human impact factors were found to have low to moderate association. The fishery interaction summary statistics found entanglement in fishery gear to make up 52.2%, fishery gear ingestion at 29.7%, and vessel collisions at 18.1%. The fishery gear summarization found hook and line gear to make up 52.3% of entanglement events and 80.5% of ingestion events. Vessel strikes were found to be mostly sharp force trauma at 84% with blunt force trauma at 16%. With growing coastal human populations, identifying “hotspot” regions allow conservation managers to maximize resources and create efficient managing policies to minimize negative human impacts to cetacean populations.