[MARMAM] New publication on dolphin social networks

Joanna Wiszniewski jwisznie at bio.mq.edu.au
Mon Jul 27 19:07:10 PDT 2009

Dear colleagues, 

We are pleased to announce a paper recently published  in Animal

Wiszniewski, J., Allen, S.J., & Moller, L.M. Social cohesion in a
hierarchically structured embayment population of Indo-Pacific
bottlenose dolphins. Animal Behaviour 77 (6): 1449-1457

The paper can be downloaded directly from:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.02.025. Alternatively, pdf
copies can be obtained by emailing me at jwisznie at bio.mq.edu.au 

ABSTRACT: We investigated community structure and association patterns
for a small population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops
aduncus, inhabiting the Port Stephens embayment in southeastern
Australia. Association data for 120 regularly sighted individuals were
obtained from seasonal photoidentification surveys collected over 7
years (1998–2007). Using a combined cluster and social network
analysis approach, we found association patterns between dolphins were
hierarchically structured, where two mixed-sex communities were
subdivided into smaller, temporarily dynamic social groups. Community
membership corresponded to differences in individual ranging patterns
and habitat occupation. The larger eastern community inhabits a
typically marine environment, while individuals of the western community
range over a larger area that is dominated by estuarine processes. Both
communities were composed of long-term preferred companions; however,
the degree of social cohesion differed considerably between the two
communities. Associations between individuals were considerably stronger
and temporally more stable in the western community. Western individuals
also had significantly fewer preferred associates despite living in
similar-sized schools. Finally, in direct contrast to associations
within each community, intercommunity associations were highly variable
and resulted primarily from aggregative behaviour. We propose the
segregation of communities resulted from individual adaptation to local
environmental conditions, facilitated by individual variability in
association preferences. The disparity in association patterns between
communities may have resulted from a combination of ecological,
population density, kinship and anthropogenic factors.

Kind regards,


Joanna Wiszniewski
PhD Candidate
Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University
NSW 2109 Australia
Ph. 61(2) 9850 8205   Fax: 61(2) 9850 8245 
Email: jwisznie at bio.mq.edu.au


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