[MARMAM] Fiordland bottlenose dolphins: decision-making process

David Lusseau d.lusseau at dal.ca
Wed Sep 13 07:58:32 PDT 2006

Dear all,
I am pleased to announce the publication of the following article in Evolutionary Ecology:
Lusseau D. 2006. Evidence for social role in a dolphin social network. (Abstract below).

the article will be available shortly from the journal's website (http://www.springerlink.com/content/1573-8477/) in the OnlineFirst section. A 'no-frill' version is available from the ArXiv repository website (http://arxiv.org/abs/q-bio.PE/0607048).

This paper is one in a series of studies that have been published over the past three decades which show that dolphin live in complex societies, have evolved complex social behaviours, and are able to use non-vocal behavioural events to communicate intention and motivation... contrarily to what Paul Manger states in his poorly researched and poorly referenced article recently published in Biological Reviews (2006, 81, 293-338).

best wishes,

Social animals have to take into consideration the behaviour of conspecifics when making decisions to go by their daily lives. These decisions affect their fitness and there is therefore an evolutionary pressure to try making the right choices. In many instances individuals will make their own choices and the behaviour of the group will be a democratic integration of all decisions. However, in some instances it can be advantageous to follow the choice of a few individuals in the group if they have more information regarding the situation that has arisen. Here I provide early evidence that decisions about shifts in activity states in a population of bottlenose dolphin follow such a decision making process. This unshared consensus is mediated by a non-vocal signal which can be communicated globally within the dolphin school. These signals are emitted by individuals that tend to have more information about the behaviour of potential competitors because of their position in the social network. I hypothesise that this decision making process emerged from the social structure of the population and the need to maintain mixed-sex schools.

David Lusseau, PhD
Killam Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dalhousie University
Department of Biology
1355 Oxford Street
Halifax, NS B3H 4J1

Tel: (902) 494 3723
E-mail: d.lusseau at dal.ca
           david.lusseau at gmail.com
Website: http://www.lusseau.org

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