Dolphin Acoustics

The main sense in dolphins is hearing and the most important form of communication is by means of sounds. Unexpectedly the acoustic repertoire of bottlenose dolphins is still incomplete, probably due to equipment limitations, difficulty of working in the field and of adopting objective classification systems. Traditionally, the acoustic signals of bottlenose dolphins are divided into three categories: i) whistles (narrow band, frequency modulated sound); ii) clicks (broadband impulsive sound); iii) burst pulse sounds (short impulsive sound with most energy below 5 kHz).

Main question: Which is the acoustic repertoire of bottlenose dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea and how does it change as a function of geographic, behavioural and social context?

By collecting sounds of dolphins in different parts of the Mediterranean Sea, we are studying the factors (geographic position and isolation, behavioural and social context, noise levels, presence of boats) that can be able to influence similarity/difference in the acoustic repertoire of bottlenose dolphins.

Reason: Quantifying the signals produced by a species is a fundamental step in the investigation of their functionality, geographical differences and social and cultural transmission.

Click here to read: La Manna, G., Rako-Gospic, N., Manghi, M., Picciulin, M., Sarà, G. 2017. Assessing geographical variation on whistle acoustic structure of three Mediterranean populations of common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Behaviour, April 2017.  

Click here to listen to bottlenose dolphins' sound: 

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