An expert elicitation of the effects of low salinity water exposure on bottlenose dolphins

Cormac Booth*, Leonard Joseph Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing concern over anthropogenically driven changes in our oceans and seas, from a variety of stressors. Such stressors include the increased risk of storms and precipitation, offshore industries and increased coastal development which can affect the marine environment. For some coastal cetacean species, there is an increased exposure to low salinity waters which have been linked with a range of adverse health effects in bottlenose dolphins. Knowledge gaps persist regarding how different time–salinity exposures affect the health and survival of animals. In such data-poor instances, expert elicitation can be used to convert an expert’s qualitative knowledge into subjective probability distributions. The management implications of this stressor and the subjective nature of expert elicitation requires transparency; we have addressed this here, utilizing the Sheffield Elicitation Framework. The results are a series of time response scenarios to estimate time to death in bottlenose dolphins, for use when data are insufficient to estimate probabilistic summaries. This study improves our understanding of how low salinity exposure effects dolphins, guiding priorities for future research, while its outputs can be used to support coastal management on a global scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-192
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2021


  • Freshwater
  • Cetacean
  • Tursiops sp.
  • Wildlife management
  • Marine biology
  • Salinity
  • Human disturbance
  • Dose response


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