The Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program was contracted to track 30 bottlenose dolphins tagged with satellite-linked and/or radio transmitters during capture-release health assessments in Barataria Bay, Louisiana during 3-17 August 2011. This research was done to: 1) gain a better understanding of movements and ranges of dolphins in Barataria Bay, an area which has been impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and 2) evaluate the conditions of the tags and tagged dolphins throughout the course of the study. Satellite-linked tags transmitted for 48-260 days and overall, tagged dolphins exhibited localized movements within Barataria Bay and the surrounding estuaries. Radio telemetry permitted follow-up monitoring to visually assess animal and tag condition. Of the 30 tagged dolphins, 24 have been resighted post-tag loss; no adverse impacts from the tags were seen. These results suggest that the tags used in this study are a good step toward designing a tag to minimize fin damage and maximize transmission duration.
This material is based upon work supported by BP and NOAA. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BP and/or state or federal natural resource trustees.
This article was published on page 7 in the January 2013 Nicks n Notches.