[MARMAM] New paper seasonal cyclicity in bonds between adult female dolphins

Raudino, Holly Holly.Raudino at DPaW.wa.gov.au
Mon Feb 29 16:10:46 PST 2016

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of my co-authors I'd like to invite you to read our new paper on seasonal cyclicity in sociality of adult female bottlenose dolphins and how these predictable behavioural patterns in time and space have informed management decisions on a no-go zone for boats and speed restrictions.

Smith, H., Frère, C., Kobryn, H. & Bejder, L. (2016) Dolphin sociality, distribution and calving as important behavioural patterns informing management. Animal Conservation DOI:10.1111/acv.12263

Conservation management typically focuses on protecting wildlife habitat that is linked to important behaviours such as resting, breeding or caring for young. However, development of conservation strategies of social species would benefit from inclusion of social dynamics, particularly for species where social relationships influence fitness measures such as survival and reproduction. We combined the study of dolphin sociality, distribution and calving to identify important behavioural and ecological patterns to inform management. Over 3 consecutive years, 231 boat-based photo-identification surveys were conducted to individually identify adult female bottlenose dolphins over a 120 km2 area in Bunbury, Western Australia. The density distribution of female dolphins was highest in the inner waters during December-February (austral summer) and March (early autumn), which also coincided in time with the majority of calving. The temporal stability of social bonds between adult females was measured (using lagged association rates) and remained stable over multiple years. A cyclic model best described female-female associations with an annual peak occurring each austral summer (Dec-Jan-Feb). These results informed the implementation of a legislative no-go area and vessel speed restriction areas. In addition to conventional management approaches of protecting important habitat and breeding periods, our measure of dolphin sociality provides a new metric to consider in conservation efforts. We encourage studies on socially complex species to incorporate social dynamics when evaluating possible impacts of anthropogenic activities.

The early view is now available http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acv.12263/abstract or please contact me directly for a pdf

A summary can be found on our blog along with related papers

Thanks in advance,

Holly Raudino, PhD
Research Scientist
Marine Science Program
Dept of Parks and Wildlife
* (08) 9219 9754
* holly.raudino at dpaw.wa.gov.au<mailto:holly.raudino at dpaw.wa.gov.au>
Science and Conservation Division

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