[MARMAM] New publication on individual vocal labels in multi-level dolphin alliances

Stephanie King stephanie.king at uwa.edu.au
Fri Jun 8 16:20:44 PDT 2018

Hi all,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our new publication in Current Biology:

King SL, Friedman W, Allen SJ, Gerber L, Jensen F, Wittwer  S, Connor RC, Krützen M (2018) Bottlenose dolphins retain individual vocal labels in multi-level alliances. Current Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.013

Summary:  Cooperation between allied individuals and groups is ubiquitous in human societies, and vocal communication is known to play a key role in facilitating such complex human behaviours. In fact, complex communication may be a feature of the kind of social cognition required for the formation of social alliances, facilitating both partner choice and the execution of coordinated behaviours. As such, a compelling avenue for investigation is what role flexible communication systems play in the formation and maintenance of cooperative partnerships in other alliance-forming animals. Male bottlenose dolphins in some populations form complex multi-level alliances, where individuals cooperate in the pursuit and defence of an important resource, access to females. These strong relationships can last for decades and are critical to each male’s reproductive success. Convergent vocal accommodation is used to signal social proximity to a partner or social group in many taxa, and it has long been thought that allied male dolphins also converge onto a shared signal to broadcast alliance identity. Here, we combine a decade of data on social interactions with dyadic relatedness estimates to show that male dolphins that form multi-level alliances in an open social network retain individual vocal labels that are distinct from those of their allies. Our results differ from earlier reports of signature whistle convergence among males that form stable alliance pairs. Instead, they suggest that individual vocal labels play a central role in the maintenance of differentiated relationships within complex nested alliances.

The paper can be accessed here: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)30615-8

All the best,


Stephanie L. King, PhD
Branco Weiss Fellow - Society in Science
Centre for Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009
Ph 0864881773 (W) 0447 265840 (M)



Please visit my homepage<http://slking.weebly.com/> to find out more about my research.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” — Jack Kerouac

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