[MARMAM] Bottlenose dolphins society - New paper

Bruno Diaz b_d_r_i at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 8 11:47:48 PST 2008

The following publication is now available.  Abstract
is below.

We are pleased to announce the publication of the
following article in Behavioral Ecology and
Sociobiology. For a PDF copy please visit 

or send requests to: bruno at thebdri.com, soon a copy
will be available in our website www.thebdri.com

Title: Marine aquaculture and bottlenose dolphins’
(Tursiops truncatus) social structure

Bruno Diaz Lopez & J.Andrea Bernal Shirai
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute - BDRI

In this study, we investigate association patterns of
249 bottlenose dolphin feeding groups off Sardinia
Island (Italy) from January 2000–May 2007 and describe
how their association behaviour is related to their
response to food patches created by a marine fin fish
farm. We also tested the hypothesis that dolphins have
different social structures with different feeding
activities: Associations should decrease during
opportunistic feeding behaviours as it is easier to
capture prey, and cooperation is not as necessary.
Sixteen individually identified bottlenose dolphins
were observed participating in both opportunistic and
not opportunistic feeding activities, with a mean of
30 ± 8 times and 9.6 ± 1 times, respectively.
Bottlenose dolphins show non-random social behaviour
during feeding and this behaviour differs depending on
their specific foraging activity. Dolphin associations
during feeding can be divided into three categories:
acquaintances, affiliates, and feeding associates.
Association behaviour during fish farm feeding is
consistent with our hypothesis that during
opportunistic behaviours, benefits from cooperation
decrease, as it is easier to capture prey. Group size
homogeneity in both feeding activities demonstrates
that the number of dolphins engaging in foraging is
not necessarily related with cooperation levels.
Moreover, an adult dolphin may prefer to associate
with a specific individual, independent of the sex,
who shares the same foraging priorities. This study is
the first to show how aquaculture is not only directly
affecting marine predators but could also indirectly
affect their social structure and behaviour. 

More information on this research can be found at

Bruno Díaz López
Research Biologist / Marine Zoologist
Chief Researcher
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI
V.Armando Diaz Nº4 07020 Golfo Aranci (SS) Italy
info at thebdri.com
Tel: + (39) 346 0815414

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