|Dolphin sympatric ecology in a tropical fjord: habitat partitioning by bathymetry and topography as a strategy to coexist|Oviedo, L. (2007). Dolphin sympatric ecology in a tropical fjord: habitat partitioning by bathymetry and topography as a strategy to coexist. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 87(5): 1327-1335. dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025315407056366
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Plymouth. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Sympatric species need to avoid pervasive competition to counter its suppressor effects. Dietary divergence and habitat partitioning are strategies for coexistence. Golfo Dulce is a tropical fjord located in the southern Pacific waters of Costa Rica. This embayment is characterized by the mixture of neritic and oceanic-like features. Sympatric populations of spotted and bottlenose dolphins share this particular marine ecosystem. To analyse the means of coexistence among both dolphin populations, an approach using the marginality and specialization indices of ecological niche factor analysis was used to establish separation between realized niches of both species. Habitat partitioning is sustained by difference in habitat use; bathymetry and topography separated both species' ecological niches. Dietary divergence could not be concluded because of lack of accurate dietary information. Nevertheless, it is likely to be separated by consumption of demersal prey by Tursiops truncatus, and pelagic prey by Stenella attenuata, accordingly with the differences in habitat use. Golfo Dulce could be perceived as an area of conservation importance: a geographical unit considered to contain special conservation values for both dolphin species.