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Mastozoología neotropical

On-line version ISSN 1666-0536


BAZZALO, Mariel; FLORES, Paulo A.C.  and  PEREIRA, Mariana G.. Habitat use and behavior of the marine tucuxi or Guyana dolphin in Baía Norte (Sotalia guianensis, Van Bénéden, 1864), state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2008, vol.15, n.1, pp. 9-22. ISSN 1666-0536.

During 2002 and 2003, the habitat use and behavior of Sotalia guianensis were studied using focal group observation and GIS at Baía Norte, southern Brazil, including a marine protected area (EPAA). The observation time (243:58h) was transformed in percentage and it was calculated a Coefficient of Area Use (AU) and in cells of 0.25 km2. Dolphins heterogeneously used a 45.5 km2 sector in the western coast of the bay (AUm= 0.01-0.598), with significant differences in use related to coastal and urban distance (p < 0.001), inside and outside the EPAA and among seasons (p < 0.0001). Although no significant differences were found in the AUm for depth, the largest surfaces used were found to be at less than 3 m. Dolphins used areas up to 4 km from shore and to 10 m deep, in and outside the EPAA and from 0.7 to 19.8 km to the urban zone. The highest used cells were lees than 1 km from the coast and far from the urban center. Feeding activity was dominant all seasons with highest values in the warmer ones (summer and spring), while travelling presented highest values in colder ones. The EPAA was used 59.87% of the time, where the highest used cell (AUm=0.598) was found. Calves and apparent mating behavior occurred throughout the study period. This research emphasizes the complex habitat use by these dolphins and the importance of the EPAA for them, highlighting the need of continuing conservation approaches.

Keywords : Behavior; Coastal dolphin; Habitat use; Marine tucuxi dolphin.

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