Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
Robert F. Young
Abundance, distribution and movement patterns of bottlenose dolphin populations are becoming more frequently studied along the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Florida. One aspect of dolphin populations that has not been a focus of study is the use of nursery grounds by females with calves. Nursery grounds for bottlenose dolphin populations have been identified in Sarasota Bay, Florida and near Beaufort, North Carolina. This study analyzed data collected from September 1997 to June 2006 on focal follows and photo identification to determine if females were utilizing North Inlet, South Carolina as a nursery ground. There was no significant difference in the number of calves + young-of-year (YOY) sighted between seasons, indicating that females did not use the Inlet more during any one season to rear their young. Two resident females gave birth from mid-May to early June and two from the end of June to the beginning of July. We could not conclude an accurate time of birth for the fifth mom in the study.
Estep, Heather, "Population Structure of Tursiops truncatus in North Inlet, South Carolina and Use of Inlet as a Nursery Ground" (2012). Honors Theses. 77.