[MARMAM] New publication on maternal signature whistle use in bottlenose dolphins
kelly at dolphins.org
Wed Mar 23 08:11:21 PDT 2016
We are pleased to announce our new publication:
King, S. L., Guarino, E., Keaton, L., Erb, L., & Jaakkola, K. (2016).
Maternal signature whistle use aids mother-calf reunions in a bottlenose
dolphin, /Tursiops truncatus/. /Behavioural Processes, 126/, 64-70.
Individual vocal signatures play an important role in parent-offspring
recognition in many animals. One species that uses signature calls to
accurately facilitate individual recognition is the bottlenose dolphin.
Female dolphins and their calves will use their highly individualised
signature whistles to identify and maintain contact with one another.
Previous studies have shown high signature whistle rates of both mothers
and calves during forced separations. In more natural settings, it
appears that the calf vocalises more frequently to initiate reunions
with its mother. However, little is known about the mechanisms a female
dolphin may employ when there is strong motivation for her to reunite
with her calf. In this study, we conducted a series of experimental
trials in which we asked a female dolphin to retrieve either her
wandering calf or a series of inanimate objects (control). Our results
show that she used her vocal signature to actively recruit her calf, and
produced no such signal when asked to retrieve the objects. This is the
first study to clearly manipulate a dolphin’s motivation to retrieve her
calf with experimental controls. The results highlight that signature
whistles are not only used in broadcasting individual identity, but that
maternal signature whistle use is important in facilitating mother-calf
You can access the paper here --
Or alternatively you can email us directly for a copy
(stephanie.king at uwa.edu.au or kelly at dolphins.org)
Dr. Kelly Jaakkola
Dolphin Research Center
58901 Overseas Hwy.
Grassy Key, FL 33050
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