Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.445139
Title: Cetacean distribution and habitat use along the East coast of Scotland
Author: Canning, Sarah Jane
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
The main aim of this project, co-ordinated by the University of Aberdeen and The Sea Watch Foundation, was to describe spatial and temporal trends in cetacean occurrence along the south Aberdeenshire coastline and to identify any environmental factors that may be influencing distribution. The most frequently sighted cetacean was the bottlenose dolphin and previous work confirmed that these animals are part of the population known to reside in the Moray Firth. The entrance to the River Dee (Aberdeen) is highlighted as an important feeding area for these dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins were frequently sighted in the coastal waters south of Aberdeen and these groups tended to be larger and of animals that were primarily travelling, as opposed to the foraging groups observed at Aberdeen. The harbour porpoise was the second most frequently cetacean during this study. They were sighted all along the coast in all months of the year, although notably, they were not recorded during the land-surveys at Aberdeen during the winter. Tidal height and sea depth appears to have a strong influence on where and when porpoises were sighted and it is thought this is a reflection of prey behaviour. The third species examined was the white-beaked dolphin. This is a seasonal visitor to the coastal waters around Aberdeen with all sightings occurring during the summer. Seabed depth and slope influence the distribution of this species within the study area and again, this was thought to related to prey distribution. Stomach content analysis highlighted haddock and whiting as being important in the diet of this species in Scottish water. Sea temperature was highlighted as influencing white-beaked dolphin group size, with smaller groups being recorded at higher temperatures. Analysis of the stranding database also suggested that higher sea temperature restricts the distribution of this species around the UK.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.445139  DOI: Not available
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