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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dolphin sympatric ecology


Interspecific associations between two or more species of the family Delphinidae have been reported by many scientists, but the sympatric ecology of such dolphin associations has not been studied in great detail. A few field investigations have been conducted on this subject in different parts of the world on species such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.), short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis ), and killer whales Orcinus orca ). Sympatric dolphins seem to use different strategies to co-exist when resources appear to be limited, including dietary divergence (different prey preference, slightly diverse diet,different feeding time) and/or different habitat use shallow versus deep waters, flat areas versus submarine canyons and escarpments, different travel routes). This paper presents a review of some well-studied dolphin species found in sympatry and discusses the nature of habitat and resource partitioning as well as studies on aggressive behaviour displayed by species living in the same habitat.

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