[MARMAM] New publication - Boats affect a dolphin-fisher cooperation

Bianca Romeu romeu.bianca at gmail.com
Sat Jan 23 10:37:30 PST 2021

Dear colleagues,

   We would like to share with you the last article from our research
group, published in Animal Conservation:

"Boat disturbance affects the acoustic behaviour of dolphins engaged in a
rare foraging cooperation with fishers"

Link to the full article:

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12667


Acoustic behaviour is a key component of specialized foraging tactics for
many aquatic species, especially cetaceans. However, in recent decades the
natural environment has been increasingly exposed to a variety of
anthropogenic noise sources, with the potential to impact natural foraging
specializations dependent on acoustic communication. Here we evaluated
whether boat noise has the potential to impact a rare foraging tactic used
by individuals from a small population of the vulnerable Lahille’s
bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus) specialized in
cooperation with artisanal fishers in southern Brazil. We tested whether
the presence of boats changed the acoustic behaviour of dolphins when
engaged in this cooperative foraging. We found that whistles and
echolocation click rates were lower when boats were present, suggesting
that cooperative foraging may potentially be reduced
or interrupted by the presence of boats. Whistle parameters changed in
response to the number, type and speed of boats, indicating a behavioural
change and acoustic masking. Locally, our results reinforce the need for
boat traffic regulations to minimize their impacts on these endangered
dolphins and their rare cooperative tactic. From a broad perspective, we
demonstrate how nonlethal impacts such as vessel disturbance can manifest
subtle changes in animals’ natural behaviour and, in this case, present an
insidious threat to a unique foraging specialization.

PDF requests can be sand to: romeu.bianca at gmail.com

*Bianca Romeu *
CRBio 88562/03-D
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