A Review of the Behavioral Ecology of Bottlenose Dolphins in Texas Coastal Waters




Weller, David W. and Dr. Bernd Wursig

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Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission


Bottlenose dolphins are the most prevalent cetacean species inhabiting the near-shore waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Four coastal management stocks, for which aerial census-based minimum population estimates are available, have recently been identified. Along the Texas shoreline, bottlenose dolphins are common from Brownsville to Sabine Pass, and are sighted year-round in coastal waters, channels, passes, and embayments. Studies on the behavioral ecology of these dolphins have documented a variety of patterns regarding seasonal abundance, site fidelities, behavior, and habitat use. Texas A&M University has been actively studying these dolphins for the past eight years, and have photo-identified nearly 3000 individuals . Results from this long-term study will be presented.


pg. 243


bottlenose dolphin, population characteristics, ecology, behavior, seasonal abundance, habitat, feeding behavior