Kathryn Holmes, MRes
Although much has been learned about the alliances between sexually mature males in the Shark Bay population, we do not know how social development during the juvenile period (between the ages of weaning and early adulthood) shapes the formation of these alliances and affects the future social roles and fitness of individual males.
For her PhD project, Katy will use acoustic, behavioural and genetic data to investigate the ontogeny of alliance formation, focusing on the development of vocal and physical behaviours that mediate social bonds, or become instrumental in adult consortships. She will also examine juvenile male social networks and specific dyadic associations, and further investigate the factors that contribute to alliance partner choice and male fitness.
Bronte completed her undergraduate degree at UWA, studying a Marine Science and Geology double major. She has since returned to the university to further her study in the field of Marine Biology, with a specific interest in the vocal behaviour of the Shark Bay dolphin population.
Her Master’s thesis will focus on synchronous vocal displays in allied male dolphins, and exploring whether these displays are indicative of the strength of male relationships.