[MARMAM] New paper: Augmenting cetacean playback experiments with new observation technologies

Stephanie King stephanie.king at bristol.ac.uk
Wed Jul 13 01:46:40 PDT 2022

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to share our recent paper on integrating new observation techniques with playback experiments to investigate cetacean social cognition in the wild:

King, S. L., & Jensen, F. H. (2022). Rise of the machines: Integrating technology with playback experiments to study cetacean social cognition in the wild. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 00, 1– 14

  1.  Cetaceans represent an evolutionary peak in terms of their cognitive capacities, complex communication systems and their structured, multilevel societies. However, the difficulty of observing their behaviour underwater means that studying whale and dolphin sociality in the wild poses some significant methodological challenges.
  2.  Traditionally, playback experiments have been used to explore aspects of communication and cognition in whales and dolphins, particularly with trained animals under human care. However, while these studies have provided major breakthroughs in our understanding of cetacean social cognition, it is difficult to know whether these findings generalize to wild animals.
  3.  In recent years, new state-of-the-art technology (drones and non-invasive sound and movement tags) have revolutionized the field of marine mammal behaviour, providing unparalleled information on the fine-scale behaviour of individuals in the wild. Here, we review the state of the field, combining published studies with our own extensive experience, to demonstrate how these new technologies fundamentally change the behavioural metrics that we are able to measure; allowing us to move from categorical observations to quantifying fine-scale changes in movement, activity and vocal behaviour.
  4.  We discuss how conducting playback experiments alongside these new technologies combines rigorous experimental design with strong ecological validity and increased reproducibility and can be adapted for many social species, setting the standard for high-calibre, field-based experiments that explore animal social cognition in the wild.
The paper is open access and is available here: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.13935

This is part of a special issue on 'Contemporary methods for studying animal sociality in the wild' - a joint effort between Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Animal Ecology.

All the best,

Stephanie and Frants

Dr Stephanie L. King - Senior Lecturer FHEA
School of Biological Sciences
Life Sciences Building | 24 Tyndall Avenue
University of Bristol | Bristol BS8 1TQ | U.K.
+44 (0) 117 39 41191
Twitter: @_StephanieLKing<https://twitter.com/_stephanielking>

website: www.cetaceancommcog.com<http://www.cetaceancommcog.com/>
website: www.sharkbaydolphins.org<http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org>


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