Feature Paper: Fighting Dolphin

Never really thought about different species of dolphin fighting each other,
but this paper indeed suggests that is the case.  Another cool contribution
from the Wild Dolphin project.  Denise Herzing is well known for dolphin
research, in fact just saw her quoted regarding this incredible footage of 
dolphin “super pods”.  After the jump, the main findings of the study.

These results demonstrate that aggression between bottlenose and spotted dolphins was bidirectional over the long term, with adult groups of both species successfully dominating multiple encounters. During a single aggressive encounter dominance, the direction of aggression, and the dynamic of aggression were most strongly impacted by the synchronous behaviour of spotted groups and not the spotted dolphin group size or the species of the participants. This study is the first to quantify the dynamic of aggression for this population and, to our knowledge, the first to reveal clear, long-term bidirectional interspecific aggression and dynamic reversals in delphinids using underwater observations of behaviours. This study provides an important marine example of the benefits of group behaviour during interspecific aggression and more importantly the importance of synchronous groups vs. coordinated groups or inactive groups. This marine example is very similar to avian mobbing behaviour and is comparable to the coordinated group behaviour observed during many interspecific and intergroup conflicts between varieties of terrestrial taxa. This study demonstrates the complexity of aggressive interactions, the need to examine the influence of multiple contextual factors, and the importance of examining the way these factors interact and change over time to quantify the dynamic of aggression.

By | 2014-08-15T22:03:34-05:00 March 13th, 2014|Categories: Marine Mammals|0 Comments

About the Author:

Craig Layman
My lab’s interdisciplinary pursuits provide for a multi-faceted understanding of environmental change in the coastal realm. We are ecologists, asking questions that span population, community, ecosystem and evolutionary sub-disciplines. We often use a food web based perspective, exploring top-down (e.g., predation) and bottom-up (e.g., nutrient excretion) mechanisms by which animals affect ecosystem processes. All of our efforts are framed within a broader outreach framework, directly integrating science and education, using approaches such as this website.

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