Shark bite scars on Sarasota Bay resident bottlenose dolphins
An analysis of shark bite scars on the Sarasota Bay resident bottlenose dolphin community and implications for habitat use
By Krystan Wilkinson, MS Student, University of Florida
January 2013 Nicks n Notches
Predator-prey relationships have long been an interest of ecologists. Such relationships are dynamic. One false move may result in an individual being taken out of a community, or a predator may go hungry if unsuccessful.
Predation itself is difficult to study due to predation events rarely being observed. We are left to rely on evidence of predation attempts through wounds and scars on the surviving prey, and on wounds on carcasses.
The frequency of scars and wounds has been used to measure predation risk, with an obvious disadvantage in that we only have evidence of failed predation attempts. Thus rate of predation will be greater than that measured by wound and scar frequencies. Regardless of this disadvantage, bite frequency is still a useful measure to determine relative risk and proves useful in comparisons among populations and allows us to further our understanding of these complex species interactions.
The complete article can be viewed on page 21 in the January 2013 Nicks n Notches.