Old Mystic, CT, United States
Old Mystic, CT, United States

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Evans-Wilent J.,Connecticut College | Dudzinski K.M.,Dolphin Communication Project
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2013

Pectoral fin contact in bottlenose dolphins represents one form of tactile communication. Acoustic communication associated with pectoral fin contact is an additional level of communication that may change or enhance the tactile message between two individuals. In this study, we examine vocalization types associated with pectoral fin contact in a group of captive bottlenose dolphins (. Tursiops truncatus). From 2006 to 2009, vocalizations potentially associated with 748 pectoral fin contacts were examined: whistles, click trains and overlap of whistles and click trains were documented when associated with fin contact. Dolphins were also documented not vocalizing when exchanging pectoral fin contacts. Call type associated with pectoral fin contact was compared for the proportion of the type of pectoral fin contact, vocalizer sex, initiator and receiver roles, and gender pair. Overall, vocalizations differed significantly by vocalizer role as rubber or rubbee, initiator, and sex. Receivers and rubbees clicked and used overlap vocalizations more frequently, and males produced overlap vocalizations more frequently. These results suggest that whistles may be used to initiate pectoral fin contact or show preference for a particular partner, while click trains may be used to show disinterest in pectoral fin contact or to signal the end of a contact. Examining vocalizations produced in conjunction with tactile contact is a relatively new approach in the study of individual dolphin behavior and may be useful for understanding dolphin social alliances and social preferences for various individuals within a population. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Vaughn-Hirshorn R.L.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | Muzi E.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | Richardson J.L.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | Fox G.J.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | And 4 more authors.
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2013

We characterized dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) feeding behaviors recorded on underwater video, and related behaviors to variation in prey ball sizes, dolphin group sizes, and study site (Argentina versus New Zealand, NZ). Herding behaviors most often involved dolphins swimming around the side or under prey balls, but dolphins in Argentina more often swam under prey balls (48% of passes) than did dolphins in NZ (34% of passes). This result may have been due to differences in group sizes between sites, since groups are larger in Argentina. Additionally, in NZ, group size was positively correlated with proportion of passes that occurred under prey balls (p<0.001). Prey-capture attempts most often involved capturing fish from the side of prey balls, but dolphins in Argentina more often swam through prey balls (8% of attempts) than did dolphins in NZ (4% of attempts). This result may have been due to differences in prey ball sizes between sites, since dolphins fed on larger prey balls in Argentina (>74m2) than in NZ (maximum 33m2). Additionally, in NZ, dolphins were more likely to swim through prey balls to capture fish when they fed on larger prey balls (p=0.025). © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Vaughn-Hirshorn R.L.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | Hodge K.B.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | Hodge K.B.,Cornell University | Wursig B.,Texas A&M University at Galveston | And 3 more authors.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2012

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) acoustic sounds were characterized by analyzing narrowband recordings [0-16 kHz in New Zealand (NZ) and 0-24 kHz in Argentina], and sounds in broadband recordings (0-200 kHz) were compared to their counterparts in down-sampled narrowband recordings (0-16 kHz). The most robust similarity between sounds present in broadband recordings and their counterparts in the down-sampled narrowband recordings was inter-click interval (ICI); ICI was therefore primarily used to characterize click sounds in narrowband recordings. In NZ and Argentina, distribution of ICIs was a continuum, although the distribution of ICIs in NZ had a somewhat bimodal tendency. In NZ, sounds that had smaller mean ICIs were more likely to have constant ICIs, and less likely to have increasing or decreasing ICIs. Similar to some other delphinids, dusky dolphins may use single, short duration sounds that have a constant ICI and closely spaced clicks for communication. No whistles were documented at either study site. Temporally structured sequences of burst pulses (i.e., sounds with ICI < about 10 ms) also occurred at both study sites, and these sequences contained 2-14 burst pulses that appeared closely matched aurally and in spectrograms and waveforms. © 2012 Acoustical Society of America.


Levengood A.L.,University of St. Andrews | Levengood A.L.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Dudzinski K.M.,Dolphin Communication Project
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2016

Relationships are important for social animals and kinship can play a vital role. Still, occurrence and function of kin bonds (aside from mother) in delphinid calf associations, alloparenting, or calf rearing are poorly represented in the literature. This study examined the role of kin and non-kin in non-mother-calf associations for a managed population of bottlenose dolphins. Calf associations were event sampled to determine if kin and non-kin differences existed in frequency or duration. Calves with kin present exhibited a higher average number of associates than calves without kin. Yet calves showed no conclusive association preference in frequency; though some individuals showed early signs of developing kin preferences. Duration and context of associations did not differ between kin and non-kin, suggesting they serve the same developmental purpose. However, personality, calf age, and associate age played a greater role in the formation of calf associations, supporting the notion that calves choose associates with similar traits, aiding in their development in difficult and changing environments. Though kinship is important in the formation of relationships in older dolphins, it appears that outside the mother-calf bond, there are other more influential factors, such as age, personality, and sociality in the formation of early developmental bonds. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Dolphin Communication Project and Andrews University
Type: | Journal: Behavioural processes | Year: 2016

Relationships are important for social animals and kinship can play a vital role. Still, occurrence and function of kin bonds (aside from mother) in delphinid calf associations, alloparenting, or calf rearing are poorly represented in the literature. This study examined the role of kin and non-kin in non-mother-calf associations for a managed population of bottlenose dolphins. Calf associations were event sampled to determine if kin and non-kin differences existed in frequency or duration. Calves with kin present exhibited a higher average number of associates than calves without kin. Yet calves showed no conclusive association preference in frequency; though some individuals showed early signs of developing kin preferences. Duration and context of associations did not differ between kin and non-kin, suggesting they serve the same developmental purpose. However, personality, calf age, and associate age played a greater role in the formation of calf associations, supporting the notion that calves choose associates with similar traits, aiding in their development in difficult and changing environments. Though kinship is important in the formation of relationships in older dolphins, it appears that outside the mother-calf bond, there are other more influential factors, such as age, personality, and sociality in the formation of early developmental bonds.


Dudzinski K.M.,Dolphin Communication Project | Danaher-Garcia N.,Dolphin Communication Project | Gregg J.D.,Dolphin Communication Project
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2013

Tactile exchanges using the pectoral fin have been noted in a variety of dolphin species. In this study, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) at Zoo Duisburg in Germany were seen to exchange pectoral fin contact much like both wild and captive dolphins. The rate of overall contact (touches and rubs) was slightly larger among the Zoo Duisburg dolphins than for three other study sites, although relative rates for contact via rubs and touches by Zoo Duisburg dolphins appears similar to that of dolphins at the other study sites. Pectoral fin contact between Zoo Duisburg dolphins was more similar to that of dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences in that there was no difference in whether the dolphin was rubber or rubbee when initiating pectoral fin contact, although at all sites, including Zoo Duisburg, the rubber was more often the initiator of a pectoral fin contact. More similar to both wild groups, but not the other captive group of dolphins, Zoo Duisburg dolphins had a strong preference for the horizontal body posture when exchanging pectoral fin contacts. The most striking result is that all dolphins studied have a strong preference for body part contacted: when the rubbee is initiator, the top three body parts most contacted by all dolphins include the face, rostrum, and side. Similarly, when in the role of rubber initiator, the top most contacted and third most contacted body parts are identical at all four study sites. The exchange of contact via the pectoral fin seems to be a conserved action with respect to form and function across dolphin species regardless of the environment in which the dolphins reside.


Dudzinski K.M.,Dolphin Communication Project | Dudzinski K.M.,University of Southern Mississippi | Gregg J.D.,Dolphin Communication Project | Paulos R.D.,Dolphin Communication Project | And 2 more authors.
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2010

Tactile exchanges involving the pectoral fin have been documented in a variety of dolphin species. Several functions (e.g., social, hygienic) have been offered as possible explanations for when and why dolphins exchange pectoral fin contacts. In this study, we compared pectoral fin contact between dolphin dyads from three distinct dolphin populations: two groups of wild dolphins; Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) from The Bahamas and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) from around Mikura Island, Japan; and one group of captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) residing at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences, Anthony's Key Resort. A number of similarities were observed between the captive and wild groups, including; rates of pectoral fin contact, which dolphin initiated contact, posture preference, and same-sex rubbing partner preference. Unlike their wild counterparts, however, dolphins in the captive study group engaged in petting and rubbing at equal rates, females were more likely to contact males, males assumed the various rubbing roles more frequently than females, and calves and juveniles were more likely to be involved in pectoral fin contact exchanges. These results suggest that some aspects of pectoral fin contact behaviour might be common to many dolphin species, whereas other aspects could be species specific, or could be the result of differing environmental and social conditions. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | Dolphin Communication Project
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Behavioural processes | Year: 2010

Tactile exchanges involving the pectoral fin have been documented in a variety of dolphin species. Several functions (e.g., social, hygienic) have been offered as possible explanations for when and why dolphins exchange pectoral fin contacts. In this study, we compared pectoral fin contact between dolphin dyads from three distinct dolphin populations: two groups of wild dolphins; Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) from The Bahamas and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) from around Mikura Island, Japan; and one group of captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) residing at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences, Anthonys Key Resort. A number of similarities were observed between the captive and wild groups, including; rates of pectoral fin contact, which dolphin initiated contact, posture preference, and same-sex rubbing partner preference. Unlike their wild counterparts, however, dolphins in the captive study group engaged in petting and rubbing at equal rates, females were more likely to contact males, males assumed the various rubbing roles more frequently than females, and calves and juveniles were more likely to be involved in pectoral fin contact exchanges. These results suggest that some aspects of pectoral fin contact behaviour might be common to many dolphin species, whereas other aspects could be species specific, or could be the result of differing environmental and social conditions.


PubMed | Dolphin Communication Project
Type: | Journal: Advances in experimental medicine and biology | Year: 2015

Song Meter SM2M marine recorders were deployed to document dolphin calls and ambient and anthropogenic noise. Recordings from Bimini were split into 2-h segments; no segment was without dolphin calls. At Dolphin Encounters, average noise levels ranged from 110 to 125 dB; the highest source level was 147.98 dB re 1 Pa at 1 m. Average ambient-noise levels documented at 4 sites in Guam were below 118 dB re 1 Pa at 1 m. These data were compared with values from a custom-built sound pressure level (SPL) meter and confirm that the SM2M recorder is a useful tool for assessing animal calls and ambient and anthropogenic noise levels.

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