Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2017


This study, conducted at Dolphins Plus and Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo, Fl analyzed Atlantic bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus) courtship behaviors and serum concentrations of cortisol and total thyroxine 4 (T4) in both sexes, testosterone in males, and progestroneand estradiol in females for significant differences among sex, season, and presence or absence of sexual behavior. Frequenices of courtship, copulation , and visual behaviors were significantly differnt among individuals , but there were no significant differences in sexual behavior frequencies among seasons. Serum concentrations of cortisol, testerone, and estradiol differed significantly between samples associated with sexual behavior and those that were not, but cortisol and T4 concentrations did not. These results indicate a more active role in mate selection for females, support the theories that bottlenose dolphins are polyestrous and promiscuous, provide evidene that sexual behaviors sever multiple purposes, found additional evidence for links between some sexual hormones and sexual behaviors, and establishes the grounds for furhter investifation into these relationships.


Department: MBE

MPS Track: MMS

Location: Dolphins Plus , Island Dolphin Care Key Largo , Fl

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