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Whistle use and whistle sharing by allied male bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus

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dc.contributor.author Watwood, Stephanie Lynn
dc.coverage.spatial Sarasota Bay, FL
dc.date.accessioned 2008-10-01T13:24:55Z
dc.date.available 2008-10-01T13:24:55Z
dc.date.issued 2003-09
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1912/2430
dc.description Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution September 2003 en
dc.description.abstract Male dolphins form stable, long-term alliances comparable to long-term relationships formed by terrestrial species. The goal of this thesis was to determine the effect of the formation of these alliances on vocal development. Comparing whistles produced in isolation revealed that alliance partners have similar whistles, while non-partners do not. Whistle similarity seen in alliance partners mirrors group-specific vocal convergence in stable groups of birds and bats. Males produce more variable whistles than females, and females have more stable whistle repertoires. Unlike males, females do not maintain the strong, stable relationships seen in male alliances. Increased vocal plasticity in males may be related to modifying whistle production while forming alliances. Females produced whistles that were less similar to other females than to males. Females may rely on whistle distinctiveness for mother-offspring recognition, while males may rely on whistle convergence to maintain specific social bonds. The whistles produced by an isolated individual may not represent its complete repertoire. A hydrophone array was used to record whistles of free-swimming, socializing individuals to compare to the whistles produced by those animals in isolation. There was no significant difference in the whistle repertoires of restrained vs. free-swimming dolphins for over 60% of the animals, and most produced at least one whistle type in both contexts. Therefore, animals use similar whistles in isolated and free-swimming conditions. Recordings of different social groups were examined to test if signature whistles function as contact calls. An allied male produced signature whistles most often when separated from his partner and least often when with his partner. Signature whistles were also highly individually distinctive, and therefore well suited as contact calls, while variant whistles were not. Separations and reunions between alliance partners were examined to determine if whistles are used to maintain contact between preferred associates. Most whistles recorded from separated males were signature whistles. The timing of whistle production was correlated with the timing of the maximum partner separation and the initiation of a reunion. Few whistles were produced as the partners separated. Therefore, whistles may initiate reunions between partners. This thesis demonstrates that free-ranging male dolphins use signature whistles in the same way as females and captive dolphins. en
dc.description.sponsorship Funding for this thesis was provided by the Grant No. 6456-99 from the National Geographic Society, Grant No. IBN-9975523 from the National Science Foundation, an NSF Dissertation Improvement grant, WHOI Ocean Ventures Fund, National Institutes of Health, SERDP Contract No. DACA72-01-C-0ll, Dolphin Quest, Chicago Zoological Society, and WHOI Academic Programs Departent, and ONR. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution en
dc.relation.ispartofseries WHOI Theses en
dc.subject Bottlenose dolphin en_US
dc.subject Sound production by animals en_US
dc.subject Social behavior in animals en_US
dc.subject Echolocation en_US
dc.subject Vocalization en_US
dc.title Whistle use and whistle sharing by allied male bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1575/1912/2430


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