[MARMAM] New publication on the metabolic cost of echolocation in dolphins

Dawn Noren - NOAA Federal dawn.noren at noaa.gov
Fri Jul 21 12:19:54 PDT 2017

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our paper on
the metabolic cost of echolocation in dolphins in the Journal of
Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

Free access to the article is valid until September 01, 2017 at the
following link:

Noren D.P., Holt M.M., Dunkin R.C., Williams T.M. (2017) Echolocation is
cheap for some mammals: Dolphins conserve oxygen while producing
high-intensity clicks. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology



Metabolic rates of clicking bottlenose dolphins were measured using

The metabolic cost of dolphins producing echolocation clicks is low.

The metabolic cost of click production increases with acoustic energy

The metabolic cost of echolocation in dolphins is much lower than that of

The low metabolic cost of echolocation helps foraging dolphins conserve

Toothed whales use echolocation to sense their environment and capture
prey. However, their reliance on acoustic information makes them vulnerable
to sound exposure. Odontocetes modify echolocation signals in response to
ambient noise levels, yet the metabolic cost of producing and modifying
echolocation signals are unknown. Studies on bats found that the metabolic
cost of producing echolocation signals and modifying sonar parameters is
high. Unlike terrestrial mammals, however, the conservation of oxygen is
paramount for odontocetes that echolocate underwater on a breath-hold.
Flow-through respirometry was used to determine the metabolic costs of
producing and modifying echolocations signals in two trained bottlenose
dolphins (*Tursiops truncatus*) that produced echolocation clicks with
variable sound energy levels. Unlike bats, the metabolic cost of
echolocation was negligible in dolphins. On average, the metabolic rate of
submerged dolphins producing clicks was 1.1 times greater than the
metabolic rate of submerged, silent dolphins. Similar to bats, the
metabolic cost of producing echolocation signals increased significantly
with acoustic energy in dolphins. Yet, for the sound energy levels
produced, metabolic rates of dolphins producing clicks were within the
range of metabolic rates measured when the dolphins were silent. These
results can be used to better understand some of the energetic costs
associated with dolphin foraging behavior as well as assess the relative
energetic impacts of different delphinid behavioral responses to
anthropogenic disturbance.

Dawn Noren
Dawn P. Noren, Ph.D.
Research Fishery Biologist
NOAA NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center
2725 Montlake Blvd. East
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 302-2439
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