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).

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

BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN ACOUSTIC

The project aims to increase the knowledge on the communication system of the bottlenose dolphin in the Mediterranean Sea, focusing on whistles. In particular, the first objective is to identify and characterize the signature whistles of different  Mediterranean bottlenose dolphin "populations". Further, we investigate the effects of behavioral, anthropic and social variables on the acoustic structure of dolphin whistles. At the end, by collecting sounds of dolphins in different parts of the Mediterranean Sea, we study the factors (geographic position and isolation, behavioural and social context, noise levels, presence of boats) that can lead acoustic divergence between populations.

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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