Presentation Title

The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Bottlenose Dolphin and Toadfish Occurrence in Almirante Bay, Panama

Project Collaborators

Laura May Collado, Betzi Perez

Abstract

Covid-19 lockdowns resulted in a decline of global traffic density, resulting in a unique opportunity to study the impact of boat noise on sonorous marine organisms. Here we study potential changes in bottlenose dolphins, toad fish, and boat presence before and during Covid-19 lockdowns in Almirante Bay, Panama. Almirante Bay’s is home to taxi and ferry companies that provide access to various islands in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro and is a major port for export of produce. We generated a presence-absence matrix of sound detections from bottlenose dolphins, toadfish, and boats using acoustic data collected with autonomous underwater recorders on a 24-hour cycle. We hypothesize that during Covid-19 lockdowns there was a decline in traffic density resulting in an increase in detection rate of dolphins and toadfish. The results from this study add to an increasing body of evidence on the short-term impacts of anthropogenic noise to marine life and provides important information that can be use in ongoing conservation efforts.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura May Collado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Bottlenose Dolphin and Toadfish Occurrence in Almirante Bay, Panama

Covid-19 lockdowns resulted in a decline of global traffic density, resulting in a unique opportunity to study the impact of boat noise on sonorous marine organisms. Here we study potential changes in bottlenose dolphins, toad fish, and boat presence before and during Covid-19 lockdowns in Almirante Bay, Panama. Almirante Bay’s is home to taxi and ferry companies that provide access to various islands in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro and is a major port for export of produce. We generated a presence-absence matrix of sound detections from bottlenose dolphins, toadfish, and boats using acoustic data collected with autonomous underwater recorders on a 24-hour cycle. We hypothesize that during Covid-19 lockdowns there was a decline in traffic density resulting in an increase in detection rate of dolphins and toadfish. The results from this study add to an increasing body of evidence on the short-term impacts of anthropogenic noise to marine life and provides important information that can be use in ongoing conservation efforts.