Abstract: The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) is a semi-closed basin that supports high marine biodiversity, and it is also an important economic area where the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the United States, Mexico and Cuba converge. Twenty-one species of cetaceans are commonly sighted in the GOM, and although the population traits of most species are well known in the U.S. EEZ, the development of regional management plans is complicated because of the apparent lack of ecological data in the Mexican EEZ, which comprises about 50% of the entire GOM. The state of knowledge of cetaceans in Mexican waters was reviewed to identify current research trends and gaps. The results clearly show that the Mexican research effort is focused on a few coastal populations of a single species, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), while the offshore cetacean populations are ignored; therefore, there are insufficient data to assess diversity, distribution, and abundance. Moreover, due to the high mobility of cetaceans and the transboundary nature of their ranges, the scientific community is currently not prepared to detect population trends in cetacean populations of the GOM. To accomplish this, two priorities were identified: (1) to expand and refocus the Mexican research capabilities, and (2) to implement binational monitoring programs.
Key Words: Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone, sighting records, peer-reviewed papers, research trends
Page Numbers: 623-632
What Do We Know About Cetaceans in the Mexican Waters of the Gulf of Mexico? A Review
- Written by M. Rafael Ramírez-León, María C. García-Aguilar, Anelio Aguayo-Lobo, Isabel Fuentes-Allen, and Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki
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