[MARMAM] New publication: Assessing the dynamics of common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) mother-calf pairs along the south coast of Portugal using unmanned aerial vehicles

Joana Castro jmadeiracastro at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 10:39:30 PST 2024

Dear all,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce and share our recent paper
titled "Assessing the dynamics of common dolphin (*Delphinus delphis*)
mother-calf pairs along the south coast of Portugal using unmanned aerial
vehicles" in the journal Marine Mammal Science

The full paper is available here:

Maternal grouping dynamics involve trade-offs between: (1) infant
protection from predation (predation hypothesis), (2) infant protection
from male harassment (infant safety hypothesis), and (3) reducing scramble
competition for prey resources (foraging-type scramble competition
hypothesis). Using unmanned aerial vehicles, we assessed grouping dynamics
in common dolphin (*Delphinus delphis*) groups containing mother-calf pairs
to address these hypotheses. We analyzed social aspects and structural
group elements using generalized additive mixed models and modeled group
formation using multinomial generalized estimating equations. Calf
proportion was higher in very compact groups and in groups of 10–20
individuals but decreased in larger groups. The frequency of socio-sexual
behaviors increased in larger groups and decreased in groups with higher
calf proportion. Calf distance to its nearest neighbor decreased with
increasing group size and cohesion. With a higher proportion of calves,
scatter (versus parallel) formation was less frequent. A calf's nearest
neighbor was most often (55.4%) a nonmother. Calves showed a preference for
being in the front center of the group. These results offer strong support
for the predation and infant safety hypotheses and partial support for the
foraging-type scramble competition hypothesis. This work provides insight
into the adaptive function of maternal strategies in a small delphinid.

Please contact jmadeiracastro at gmail.com if you have any questions.

Best regards

Joana Castro
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