[MARMAM] Head-Standing in Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus)

Marina Costa marinza.costa at gmail.com
Fri Apr 11 07:43:18 PDT 2014

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

Over the years the peculiar head-standing behaviour often displayed by 
Risso's dolphins (/Grampus griseus/) has caught the interest of 
researchers and members of the public who have witnessed it. This 
behaviour consists of the animal standing for a period of time (varying 
from a few seconds to several minutes) in a vertical position with the 
head underwater (~ 1/3 of the body length) and the tail out of the water 
(~ 2/3 of the body length). With very few exceptions there is almost no 
information available in the literature on this behaviour other than the 
reporting of its existence.

Various hypotheses have been suggested to try to explain the behaviour, 
including reaction to distress (either natural or human related), 
communication, resting, thermoregulation, etc. but no specific study has 
been carried out.

We are currently collecting information about the presence/absence and 
frequency of the head-standing behaviour in Risso's dolphins in 
different areas of the world and would like to gather as much 
information as possible from far and wide.

On behalf of my co-authors and myself, I hereby wish to ask the MARMAM 
community to contribute to this research by completing a simple 
questionnaire which we have prepared. The only requirement to contribute 
is that Risso's dolphins are encountered (with ANY frequency) during 
your activity at sea (e.g. whale-watching, land survey, etc.). The 
presence of the head-standing behaviour is NOT a requirement -- to the 
contrary, we are very interested to find out whether only certain 
populations display the behaviour.

As we cannot attach the questionnaire to this MARMAM email, if you are 
interested in participating please do not hesitate to contact us (Marina 
Costa: marinza.costa at gmail.com <mailto:marinza.costa at gmail.com>, Elisa 
Remonato: e.remonato at gmail.com <mailto:e.remonato at gmail.com>)and request 
the questionnaire along with which we will also provide the terms of the 

Many thanks in advance for your help and interest!

We will keep the MARMAM community posted about any news and development 
of this project.

My dearest wishes

Marina Costa

Marina Costa

PhD Student
Sea Mammal Research Unit
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB

mc76 at st-andrews.ac.uk

marinza.costa at gmail.com
Skype: costa_marina

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