[MARMAM] New publication on bottlenose dolphin social structure in the Mediterranean Sea

Monica F. Blasi blasimf at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 16 10:39:09 PST 2014

Dear colleagues,
We are pleased to announce the publication ofour recent paper on PLOS ONE: 

Title: Monica F. Blasi and Luigi Boitani (2014). Complex Social Structure of an Endangered Population of Bottlenose Dolphins(Tursiops truncatus) in the AeolianArchipelago (Italy)

Abstract: We investigated social structure and association patterns for a smallpopulation of Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus,inhabiting the Aeolian Archipelago (southern Italy). Specifically we evaluatethe role of sex and age composition, residency patterns and interaction withtrammel nets on this social organization. Association data for 23 regularlysighted individuals were obtained from summer photoidentification surveyscollected from 2005–2012. Using a combined cluster and social network analysisapproach, we found associations between dolphins were hierarchicallystructured, where two mixed-sex social units were subdivided into smallertemporarily dynamic groups. We found non-random and long-term preferredassociations in the population; however, the degree of social cohesion,residence pattern and interaction with trammel nets differed considerablybetween the two social units. Six of eight females occurred in the moreresident social unit-1; in addition, social unit-1 individuals hadsignificantly stronger associations, higher preferred associates, lived inlarger groups and occurred less frequently with trammel nets. Nine of elevenmales were clustered in social unit-2 and five of these males, interacting withtrammel nets, formed small groups and preferred associations. We propose thatfemale and male groups associate in the study area during the breeding seasonand that some males choose to interact with reproductive females forming adistinct but interrelated social unit. Other males may be associating in alarger fission-fusion network, which consists of dolphins that appear totemporarily join the network from the coastal population. We cannot excludethat some males specialized in trammel net foraging, suggesting that thisforaging technique may favor a solitary lifestyle. Large group sizes and highdegree of social cohesion for females could be an indication of greaterprotection and more efficiency in detecting, deterring or repellinganthropogenic pressures. Most likely dolphins' social organization depends on acombination of socio-ecological, demographic and anthropogenic factors.

You can find the paper at the link: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114849


Monica F. Blasi

Filicudi WildLife Conservation

Località Stimpagnato, Filicudi, 98055 Lipari (ME), Italy

mail: blasimf at yahoo.com

web: www.filicudiconservation.com


Monica F. Blasi, PhD

Ass. FILICUDI WildLife Conservation
Località Stimpagnato Filicudi; 98055 Lipari (ME), Italia

cel: +39 3494402021
email: blasimf at yahoo.com
info at filicudiconservation.com
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