[MARMAM] New publication: Characterizing alloparental care in the pilot whale (Globicephala melas) population that summers off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

Joana Augusto augustojoana at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 08:03:48 PST 2016

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the publication of this new paper in Marine
Mammal Science:

Augusto, J. F., Frasier, T. R. and Whitehead, H. (2016), Characterizing
alloparental care in the pilot whale (*Globicephala melas*) population that
summers off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. Mar Mam Sci.

Alloparental care happens when a calf is cared for by an adult that is not
their parent. Although alloparental care is common in social mammals, its
prevalence is difficult to assess in cetaceans, and has not been
studied in *Globicephala
melas*. A population off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, has been studied from
whale-watching vessels since 1998, during July and August each year. From
2009 to 2011, we collected photo identifications of calves and the adults
accompanying them. Alloparental care was considered to be occurring when a
calf was identified with more than one companion. We found that 85.7% of
calves in 2009, 80.6% of calves in 2010 and 63% of calves in 2011 had
alloparents. Mothers were difficult to identify. Nevertheless, none of the
other companions of calves were assigned to the same unit as the mother.
Five carers were sexed, four of them males. There were no cases of within-
or between-year alloparental care reciprocity. It is possible that delayed
reciprocity is happening on a larger time scale in this population, but the
most likely explanation is that alloparental care is a byproduct of this
species’ social structure, with a very small cost to the alloparent’s

This article is available at:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mms.12377/abstract or by request

Joana Augusto

Joana Augusto, M.Sc.
PhD candidate
Whitehead Lab
Biology Dept.
Dalhousie University
http://whitelab.biology.dal.ca/  <http://whitelab.biology.dal.ca/>
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