SEMINAR: To copy or not to copy; why do bottlenose dolphins imitate each other’s vocal signature?
|To copy or not to copy; why do bottlenose dolphins imitate each other’s vocal signature? : School of Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology Seminar Series
The Seminar: Bottlenose dolphins are one of very few species that use vocal learning to develop their own unique vocal signature early in life. Many animals may encode identity in a signal through general voice features, but each bottlenose dolphin produces one stereotyped whistle type, called a signature whistle, which encodes its individual identity information independently of such voice features.
Interestingly, as each individual's signature whistle forms a major part of only one animals’ repertoire, it allows the signature whistle to act as a label for that particular individual when copied. The idea that signature whistles may be used as descriptive labels either to address individuals or to refer to them has long been an intriguing hypothesis. However, which members of the community produced these copies and in which contexts they occurred was not known. I will discuss signature whistle copying in bottlenose dolphins, and my use of sound playback experiments to show how signature whistle copying facilitates the labelling and addressing of social companions in the bottlenose dolphin communication system.
I will also introduce you to my new research, which involves a long-term study of the male alliances found in the world-famous Shark Bay dolphin population. I currently use aerial video and underwater microphone arrays to document the behaviour of these males, with the aim of understanding how vocal communication strategies may have evolved to facilitate male cooperation.
The Speaker: Dr King is an early career research fellow with a primary focus on animal communication systems, and how these systems have evolved to help mediate complex social behaviours. She has an Honours degree from the University of Leeds, and a Masters and PhD from the University of St Andrews. After completing her PhD in 2012, she worked as a Principal Research Scientist for an environmental consultancy owned by the University of St Andrews, which focused on the impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine mammal populations. Since 2014, she has been conducting post-doctoral research at the Dolphin Research Centre, USA, and, in 2015, was the recipient of a prestigious five-year Swiss grant - ‘Society in Science – Branco Weiss Fellowship’ - to continue her work on bottlenose dolphin communication.
Dr Stephanie King, Branco Weiss Research Fellow, School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia
Room 1.81, Anatomy building (north), The University of Western Australia
: 6488 3313
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 13:00
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:00
Deborah Hull <[email protected]>
Mon, 14 Nov 2016 11:45
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