We've had a great first two months of the 2016 field season - although things were slow to start with all the wind, the weather soon turned in our favour and we managed to rack up a lot of time on the water with our focal male alliances.
In June we saw quite a few newborn calves, and given that the gestation period for bottlenose dolphins is 12 months, these new mothers would have conceived in June last year. This certainly makes sense given that we saw a lot of alliance action in June; trios of males consorting females, allied males attempting to steal females from competing alliances, and big fights between males over females. Needless to say we recorded a lot of interesting sounds; stereotyped whistles and pops, and a diverse array of burst-pulsed calls. The hydrophone array and overhead video will help us interpret signal function and identify which sounds play a key role in both consortships and fights. The aim of this study is also to understand how male alliances encode identity and how they negotiate these complex relationships with one another.
The team are taking July off but will be heading up to Monkey Mia on the 1st August for the second stint of fieldwork...