HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Amy C. Hirons, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen M. Dudzinski, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Bernhard Riegl, Ph.D.


Bimini, The Bahamas, includes two islands surrounded by a diverse assemblage of ecosystems and a large array of organisms, including two delphinid species, Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus, inshore ecotype). Within a predefined nearshore zone, individuals of both species had largely overlapping distribution from 2003-2018; Atlantic spotted dolphins tended to disperse farther to the north while bottlenose dolphins were located farther south. The distribution of both species varied significantly by year. Atlantic spotted dolphin sightings varied across years and months while bottlenose dolphin sightings varied by month, with differences between months April, June, July, and August from year to year. The proportion of female Atlantic spotted dolphins was higher than males, but sex identification of all individuals was not always possible with each sighting. Calf sightings decreased from April to August every year and mean counts and sightings of adults had a slight, but non-significant, increase during the last five years of the data.