Ecology and biology of the rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)

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2002-12
Authors
West, Kristi Lee
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Whittow, G Cansey
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Biomedical Sciences (Physiology)
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Abstract
Greater knowledge of the rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis, is needed to effectively contribute to conservation and management efforts for this species. The primary purpose of this research was to describe ecological and biological parameters for S. bredanensis that will be useful in future assessments of population stress. Several approaches were used to study S. bredanensis, including investigations of free-ranging populations, dead specimens, and captive individuals. Free-ranging rough-toothed dolphins distributed near small oceanic island environments were found to be more commonly sighted in-shore than off-shore. In the Windward islands of French Polynesia, this species preferred water depths of 1000 to 2000m and a distance of 1.8 to 5.5 km from the barrier reef. Group sizes ofrough-toothed dolphins sighted in French Polynesia range between 1 and 35 individuals with a mean size of 12.1. Endocrinology data for S. bredanensis was established in captive healthy and stranded individuals. Ranges and means were provided for progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and thyroid hormones. Changes in thyroid hormone concentrations were reflective of health status and testosterone appeared to be suppressed in ill individuals. Reproduction in S. bredanensis was investigated by determining the size and age range that this species attains sexual and physical maturity. Female rough-toothed dolphins attain sexual maturity by 9 to 10 years of age and males between 5 and 10 years at a similar length of approximately 216 cm. Physical maturity is generally reached at an older age and larger size for both males and females. Ecologically healthy and unheahhy populations of S. bredanensis were described in this investigation and these fmding will be useful in assessing future threats to this species.
Description
Keywords
Ecology, Rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis, Dolphins, Anatomy & physiology, Animals
Citation
West, Kristi Lee (2002) Ecology and biology of the rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis). Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hawai'i, United States -- Hawaii.
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Related To
Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Biomedical Sciences (Physiology); no. 4278
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