Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba)

An emerging theme in animal and human health-related research is that associated microbial communities or 'microbiomes' play vital and active roles in maintaining normal functioning and health. Yet, very little attention has been paid towards understanding the microbiomes of marine mammals. The skin microbiome of humpback whales was recently shown to contain a core community of two main bacterial genera that are maintained across populations and ocean environments.

Knowledge of the distribution and relative abundance of odontocete cetaceans is important for helping to understand and potentially mitigate impacts of anthropogenic activities. We present small-boat survey and sighting data from 13 y (2000 through 2012) of field studies around the main Hawaiian Islands. We surveyed 84,758 km of trackline, with effort ranging from 3 to 11 y off each of the four different island areas. We had 2,018 sightings of odontocetes representing all 18 species known to exist in Hawai‘i.

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