Information on MASTS Webinars
Members of the marine science community are invited to watch MASTS webinars to learn about the latest breakthroughs, new technologies, and ground-breaking research in a broad variety of fields.
During these live programs, our expert speakers explain their top quality research to you, and answer questions submitted by viewers. The idea is to share innovations and ideas on a regular basis, support our work, and spark our imaginations.
All events are available to view free of charge (registration may be required) and can take place from the comfort of your own desk and PC. Participants will be emailed the participation link.
Anyone interested in presenting a webinar on their area of research should contact Dr Emma Defew Read the article "The 7 biggest mistakes you can make in web conferences".
Join us for a webinar on: Tuesday 9 May 2017 - Stop Copying Me! How Male Bottlenose Dolphins Communicate
Brittany Jones (St Andrews University)
Bottlenose dolphins use tonal whistles to communicate their identity, location, group membership, and behavioral context to conspecifics. The steady increase of marine sound pollution in the world’s oceans can result in these whistles being masked by noise, thus interfering with marine mammal communication. A dolphin whistle has many characteristics such as, the amplitude (loudness), frequency (pitch), and duration (length) of the call. Dolphins can manipulate these different aspects of their whistle in order to communicate important information. For example, they increase the loudness and repetition rate of whistles when they are in distress. In order to better understand how dolphins change their whistles in response to sounds in their environment, we are studying whether they change these subtle call parameters in response to another dolphin’s whistles, similar to humans that spontaneously copy aspects of a foreign accent while traveling. This question is explored by looking at whistles that immediately precede a dolphin’s response. We also assess these changes over long periods of exposure by looking at whistles of animals that spend a lot of time together and how the pair’s whistles change across multiple years. It is interesting that dolphins can modify their whistles over time to be more similar to a close associate’s (i.e., convergence). Whistle convergence is likely a friendly signal that allows animals to communicate that they are part of the same pair or group. While we know male “allied” dolphins converge on a shared whistle shape, it is still unclear which parameters are manipulated, how long the process of convergence takes, and what characteristics remain unique to each individual. Finding the limits of this flexibility and identifying what whistle characteristics remain stable, regardless of social and environmental changes, will allow us to better predict the effects of noise on communication efficiency in bottlenose dolphins.
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