Community structure and abundance of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in coastal waters of the northeast Gulf of Mexico

Reny Tyson, Duke University, and Brian Balmer, Chicago Zoological Society, c/o Mote Marine Laboratory

Dataset credit

Reny Tyson, Duke University
Brian Balmer, Chicago Zoological Society, c/o Mote Marine Laboratory


Primary contact Reny Tyson Florida State University and Sarasota Dolphin Research Program
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University


Tyson, R. 2014. Community structure and abundance of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus in coastal waters of the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Data downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP ( on yyyy-mm-dd.


We examined bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus community structure and abundance in the northeast Gulf of Mexico coastal waters stretching from St. Vincent Sound to Alligator Harbor, Florida, USA. Photographic-identification surveys were conducted between May 2004 and October 2006 to gain an understanding of dolphin distribution in this region. Dolphins were distributed year-round throughout the region; however, individual sighting records indicate that 2 parapatric dolphin communities exist. We conducted mark-recapture surveys using photographic-identification techniques to estimate the abundance of dolphins inhabiting the 2 areas these communities reside in: St. Vincent Sound/Apalachicola Bay, western; and St. George Sound/Alligator Harbor, eastern. Sighting records of individual dolphins from 2004 to 2008 support the existence of 2 communities in these areas; only 3.5% of distinctive dolphins photographed were seen in both western and eastern areas. The 2 communities differ in their structure: the eastern area supports a more transient population with 45.7% of distinctive dolphins photo graphed only once compared with 28.3% in the west. Independent estimates of abundance (N, 95% CI = [low, high]) were calculated using the Chapman modification of the Lincoln-Petersen method for June 2007 and for January and February 2008 for the eastern area (242 [141−343], 395 [273−516]) and for the western survey area (197 [130−264], 111 [71−150]), respectively. Our results serve as a baseline that can be used by the US National Marine Fisheries Service to manage bottlenose dolphins in this region.


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Supplemental information

[2015-03-24] A few records had a wrong animal count of zero. The value is replaced with a blank representing species presence only.




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Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
obs_datedate of observation
sightingSighting #
timebeginThe time sighting begins - string format
obs_timeThe time sighting begins
timeendThe time sighting ends
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees at the begining
longitudeLongitude in decimal degreesat the begining
end_latLatitude in decimal degrees at the end
end_longLongitude in decimal degreesat the end
sp_obsSpecies name
sp_tsnITIS taxonomic serial number. This field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_count# of animals, best estimate
bestcalves# of calves, best estimate
bestyoy# of yoy, best estimate
programProgram name
vesselVessel name
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals1,003
Sea turtles0
Rays and sharks0
Other species0
Non spatial0
Non species0
Date, Begin2004-04-27
Date, End2008-02-04
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude29.60 - 30.23
Longitude-85.92 - -84.33
Coord. prec.6 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
Contr. through
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Shared with OBIS
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