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Yi Lu, Xinrong Xu, Bingyao Chen, Thomas Jefferson, Holly Fearnbach, Guang Yang. The spatiotemporal dynamics of the social structure of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) from 2007 to 2019. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.255
Citation: Yi Lu, Xinrong Xu, Bingyao Chen, Thomas Jefferson, Holly Fearnbach, Guang Yang. The spatiotemporal dynamics of the social structure of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) from 2007 to 2019. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.255

The spatiotemporal dynamics of the social structure of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (Sousa chinensis) from 2007 to 2019

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.255
Funds:  This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grant nos. 32030011, 31630071), and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.
  • Received Date: 2023-08-13
  • Accepted Date: 2023-10-07
  • Rev Recd Date: 2023-10-02
  • Published Online: 2023-12-01
  • As social animals, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins have community differentiation, but the external-internal influencing factors and spatiotemporal dynamics are not well known. Thus, we monitored the social structure variation in an endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin population in Xiamen Bay, China, during two periods, namely, 2007–2010 and 2017–2019, and analyzed the influence of habitat use and individual composition. In both periods, the population showed highly similar social differentiation, and the individuals were divided into two main clusters and a small cluster. The two main clusters occupied the east and west waters but the core distribution area of the east cluster moved further eastward during 2007–2010 and 2017–2019, and the distribution shift did not change the temporal stability of the social structure or inter-association of the east cluster. The 16 identical individuals in the two periods (accounting for 51.6% and 43.2%, respectively) seemed to constitute the basic framework of the social structure and could be the main reason for the stable social structure over the past decade. However, these individuals likely played a more critical role in maintaining the social network structure in 2007–2010 than that in 2017–2019. These results suggested that the internal factors of the dominant individuals’ composition contributed more to building the social network than the external factor of habitat use change. Based on the findings, different protective measures have been proposed for two main clusters respectively.
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