At the moment we have a student from ISPA, Claudia Erber, doing her PhD project on bioacoustics in collaboration with AIMM.
This project aims to study the use of acoustic signalling and assess interspecific acoustic divergence and convergence in the repertoires of bottlenose and common dolphin populations in southern Portugal. Through a comparative approach, new insights will be revealed regarding the influence of social and environmental factors on these two delphinid species that may contribute to dolphin’ population segregation in Portugal. This project will also provide the first signature whistle characterization of common and bottlenose dolphins from the Algarve!
The main objectives are:
- To characterize the sound emissions of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in different behavioral contexts to investigate the social communication of groups in the region.
- To describe the environmental factors that could influence the variation in the acoustic repertoires of common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins from the Algarve.
- To assess interspecific variation in the acoustic repertoires of two sympatric species inhabiting the Algarve region.
- To identify regional intraspecific variations in the acoustic repertoires of bottlenose dolphins from two areas of the Portuguese coast (Sado estuary and Algarve region).
- To identify regional intraspecific variations in the acoustic repertoires of common dolphins from two areas of the Portuguese coast (Tejo River and Algarve region).
- To assess the potential impact of dolphin-watching activities on the acoustic behavior of common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins.
In summary, the general objective of this study will be to investigate the acoustic repertoires of Tursiops truncatus and Delphinus delphis through a detailed analysis of the vocal behavior of each species. The types of sound signals will be described in different behaviors, combining the analysis of published and unpublished data, collected data, observational studies, and statistical modeling. This study will evaluate the effects of noise caused by dolphin-watching activity on the species’ communication in the Algarve.
Additionally, our inputs will raise awareness among the local authorities focused on protecting cetaceans and those involved in regional dolphin-watching operations. It will also help future conservation management of the populations in the study area.