Title

Analyzing Bottlenose Dolphin Whistles in Social Contexts

Poster Number

12B

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Lead Author Status

Junior

Second Author Major

Pre-Dentistry

Second Author Status

Sophomore

Third Author Major

Pre-Dentistry

Third Author Status

Junior

Fourth Author Major

Pre-Dentistry

Fourth Author Status

Sophomore

Fifth Author Major

Biological Sciences

Fifth Author Status

Sophomore

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Stacie Hooper

Faculty Mentor Email

shooper@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are highly social animals that live in close-knit family groups. Even adult males form alliances with each other, involving strong bonds which can last a lifetime. Within these social groups, whistles are often used for communication in a variety of contexts. Previous work in our research group has shown that whistle structure varies by context, with whistles produced in more aggressive contexts being lower in frequency and more harsh-sounding than whistles produced in friendlier contexts. Social interactions in infant bottlenose dolphins often involve play; social play in many species can vary on a spectrum from gentle caresses to playful combat. Based on previous work, we wanted to investigate whether the whistles of bottlenose dolphin produced during social play more closely resembled whistles produced in more affiliative contexts or more aggressive contexts. We obtained recordings of whistles produced by two captive male infant dolphins and their mothers for use in our study which contained a description of the behavior of the dolphins during whistle production provided by a human observing through an underwater window. We sorted whistles based on the description of the behavioral context provided by the narrator and an ethogram developed for classifying bottlenose dolphin behaviors. Using a software program called Audacity, we isolated whistles from the original recordings, and then used Praat sound analysis software and customized scripts to extract quantitative measurements of whistle frequency, duration, jitter and shimmer. Jitter is the frequency modulation over time, and shimmer is the amplitude modulation over time. We then ran t-tests of these measurements across aggressive, affiliative, and social play contexts.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

28-4-2018 10:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2018 12:00 PM

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Apr 28th, 10:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 PM

Analyzing Bottlenose Dolphin Whistles in Social Contexts

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are highly social animals that live in close-knit family groups. Even adult males form alliances with each other, involving strong bonds which can last a lifetime. Within these social groups, whistles are often used for communication in a variety of contexts. Previous work in our research group has shown that whistle structure varies by context, with whistles produced in more aggressive contexts being lower in frequency and more harsh-sounding than whistles produced in friendlier contexts. Social interactions in infant bottlenose dolphins often involve play; social play in many species can vary on a spectrum from gentle caresses to playful combat. Based on previous work, we wanted to investigate whether the whistles of bottlenose dolphin produced during social play more closely resembled whistles produced in more affiliative contexts or more aggressive contexts. We obtained recordings of whistles produced by two captive male infant dolphins and their mothers for use in our study which contained a description of the behavior of the dolphins during whistle production provided by a human observing through an underwater window. We sorted whistles based on the description of the behavioral context provided by the narrator and an ethogram developed for classifying bottlenose dolphin behaviors. Using a software program called Audacity, we isolated whistles from the original recordings, and then used Praat sound analysis software and customized scripts to extract quantitative measurements of whistle frequency, duration, jitter and shimmer. Jitter is the frequency modulation over time, and shimmer is the amplitude modulation over time. We then ran t-tests of these measurements across aggressive, affiliative, and social play contexts.