May 27, 2024

Assessing Residency and Site Fidelity in Bottlenose Dolphins: A Literature Review and Bibliometric Analysis


Israel Huesca-Domínguez, Eduardo Morteo, Luis G. Abarca-Arenas, Brian C. Balmer, Tara M. Cox, Christian A. Delfín-Alfonso, and Isabel C. Hernández-Candelario


Document: Article

Abstract: Residency and site fidelity are important parameters in population ecology for many species as they indicate the temporal and spatial use for individuals. Although both terms are clearly different, they are used interchangeably due to lack of clarity in their definitions and the ways to assess them, especially in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.). Individuals with well-defined patterns of residency and site fidelity may be more vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances; thus, the study of these parameters may help to better assess such impacts. However, interspecific differences and logistical restrictions for the study of dolphins have prevented consensus. We set out to investigate the factors that have influenced measurements of residency and site fidelity in bottlenose and a set of other dolphin species through a retrospective (~30 y: 1990 to 2019) literature review. We found 117 scientific papers with a two-fold increasing trend approximately every 15 years, with 50% published in only four journals. Most of the studies were developed in the United States, followed by Australia and Europe, likely due to strict policies for marine mammal conservation. Author collaboration network analysis showed highly atomized national groups in which North American organizations formed the biggest cluster, followed by Australia, Africa, and Europe. However, large worldwide gaps still exist, possibly because of the heterogeneity in marine mammal sampling efforts and limited information availability in the North Pacific, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Indian Ocean. We found 30 different classification methods in which 12 were based on defined categories. We provide conceptual aid to distinguish between the use of both terms, as well as guidance to tackle the challenge of defining patterns of temporal use due to the variability of thresholds for classifying individuals. A paradigm shift is needed to create comprehensive, standardized, and generalized assessments of residency and site fidelity, which can be compared based on their performance across different populations of bottlenose dolphins around the world.

Key Words: population parameters, definitions, metrics, discrepancy, temporal and spatial scale

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.50.3.2024.199

Page Numbers: 199-214

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