[MARMAM] Shared whistle type in a group of bottlenose dolphins: New Publication

Brittany Jones brittanyljones at eagles.usm.edu
Tue May 26 09:36:07 PDT 2020


My colleagues and are proud to share our new open access publication in
PLOS ONE. Please visit the link below, or email brittanyjones at nmmf.org for
a .pdf download.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233658

Jones BL, Daniels R, Tufano S, Ridgway S (2020) *Five members of a
mixed-sex group of bottlenose dolphins share a stereotyped whistle contour
in addition to maintaining their individually distinctive signature
whistles. *PLOS ONE 15(5): e0233658.
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233658

*Abstract*
Most commonly, animal communication systems are driven by shared call
repertoires, with some individual distinctiveness encoded as a byproduct of
voice cues. We provide evidence that bottlenose dolphins produce both
individually distinctive whistles, and a shared whistle type. A stereotyped
whistle contour (termed the group whistle) is shared by five bottlenose
dolphins that have lived, worked, and traveled together for at least 21
years. These five dolphins are members of a group of eight dolphins that
work as a specialized team for the Navy Marine Mammal Program. Each dolphin
is routinely recorded during periods when an individual is isolated from
the others in above ground pools as part of their routine training. Each of
the eight dolphins has an individually distinctive signature whistle. In
addition, at least five of these dolphins share a distinct non-signature
whistle type. This shared whistle contour was produced an average of 22.4%
+/- 9.0% of the time during periods in which individuals were isolated.
During these isolations the signature whistle was produced an average of
42.9% +/- 11.9% of the time. This is consistent with decades of signature
whistle research. A group of 10 naïve observers rated the similarity of the
different whistle contours. The observers rated the group whistle contour
produced by all five dolphins as highly similar (P < 0.01). Their ratings
further showed that the signature whistles of the five dolphins were very
different (P < 0.01). These findings were further supported by discriminant
function analyses. That said, the shared whistle contours still exhibited
individual differences which may allow conspecifics to identify the
producer even when a whistle contour is shared among multiple dolphins.
This is the first in-depth analysis of a non-signature whistle type shared
among multiple conspecifics.
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