University of St Andrews
 
 

School of Biology News Centre

item 912
[08-03-2012 to 31-12-2012]


News Item:
How You Doin': Dolphins Use Whistles to Say Hello

What does a dolphin say when it crosses oceanic paths with other dolphins? Hello, of course, followed by a formal introduction that’s relayed through a high-pitched “signature whistle.” Marine biologists from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have long been studying dolphin’s cacophonous communication style — including a series of clicks, pulses and whistles — while the animal is in captivity. But until recently, they questioned how the signature whistles were used in the wild.

Now, they have an answer. The researchers used underwater microphones to follow pods of bottlenose dolphins in St. Andrews Bay. After weeding out some of the other sounds the animals make, they were able to determine that dolphins utilize their “signature whistles” when meeting up with other pods of dolphins — much like a catchphrase. Think, “Hey, how’s it going?” but in whistle form.

“It’s not just ‘I’m so-and-so,’ but the other information also in that whistle is, ‘I’m so-and-so, and I’m interested in making contact in a friendly way, I’m not attacking,’” Vincent Janik, one of the study’s researchers. “What I found really rewarding is to be out there and see how they communicate amongst themselves,” Janik said. “These are wild groups that are just doing whatever they’re doing. It’s really the first time that we can pinpoint down two individual groups and how they interact in a vocal domain, which is really cool.”

see here for further details
contact: Prof Vincent Janik


 

Biology News Archive:

Opportunities



Research Blog



Upcoming Events
  • CBD Seminar Series: Social and antisocial behaviour in parasitic wasps
    speaker: Dr Ian Hardy (University of Nottingham, School of Biosciences)

    building: Bute
    room: Lecture Theatre D
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Dr Maria Dornelas

    After introducing parasitic, or ‘parasitoid’, wasps  of which there are many thousands of species worldwide, Dr Hardy will discuss species in which adult wasps fight each other directly for vital resources and outline what determines which contestant wins. He will then discuss some very unusual parasitoids that do not fight, but several mothers look after broods of offspring communally (termed quasi-sociality). He will offer an explanation for this behaviour.  Both fighting and non-fighting wasps tend to produce mainly females in their offspring groups. The reasons for biased sex ratios in fighting wasps are well understood but the sex ratios of quasi-social wasps require explanations that are novel among parasitoids.


    refID: 1430

    hide details

  • SOI seminar: Ecosystem approach to fisheries
    speaker: Prof Simon Jennings (Chief Science Advisor at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Lowestoft)

    building: SOI
    room: Gatty Lecture theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Dr Dave Ferrier

    Simon Jennings is a Chief Science Advisor at the Centre for 
    Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Lowestoft. Through Cefas, he advises national and international bodies on marine environmental management, with a focus on issues relating to biodiversity and fishery-environment interactions. He is a former Chair of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, Advisory Committee on Ecosystems. Simon is also active as a research scientist, and works with colleagues to understand the structure and function of marine systems, to assess human and environmental impacts on populations, communities and ecosystems and to develop and apply tools to support marine environmental and fisheries management. This research is not strongly tied to specific approaches, scales or systems and spans the continuum from fundamental to applied. Research outputs have led to new methods of marine monitoring, assessment and management. Simon also holds a Chair of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, where he works for one day each week to develop and facilitate research collaborations between the University of East Anglia and Cefas; a contribution to the strategic alliance signed by these institutions in 2008.


    refID: 1394

    hide details

  • SOI seminar: What have we learnt about ocean acidification and what is the way forward?
    speaker: Prof Jean-Pierre Gattuso (Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, France)

    building: SOI
    room: Gatty Lecture theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Dr Dave Ferrier

    refID: 1392

    hide details

  • BSRC Seminar Series: High-throughput decoding of drug-resistance and virulence mechanisms in African trypanosomes
    speaker: Prof. David Horn (College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee)

    building: BMS
    room: Lecture Theatre
    see also: additional details
    host/contact: Prof Terry Smith

    refID: 1397

    hide details



Events
Biology, BSRC

all University events | submit an event