Joclyn Villegas

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2018


Acoustic signaling plays a central role in dolphin societies and is utilized to maintain contact with conspecifics, initiate social interactions, and direct group movements and activities. Among bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), specific call types are used to distinguish individuality, such as “signature whistles”. Mothers utilize their signature whistle as a tool to reunite with their calf during separation events. To elicit a successful calf recall, the calf must be able to perceive and distinguish the mother’s unique whistle from other conspecifics. As such, it’s possible the calf may begin learning the mother’s signature whistle in utero, while others may solidify their recognition post-parturition, as the mother increases her signature whistle rate during this time. The purpose of this study was to assess bottlenose dolphin whistle rates (i.e., signature and variant) pre-, during and post-parturition in a managed care setting to ascertain if rates differed significantly across the three sampling periods (pre-, during, post-parturition).


Department: MBE

MPS Track: MMS

Location: Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder

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