Echolocation parameters of Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the wild

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    Abstract

    Echolocation is a key sensory modality for toothed whale orientation, navigation, and foraging. However, a more comparative understanding of the biosonar properties of toothed whales is necessary to understand behavioral and evolutionary adaptions. To address this, two free-ranging sympatric delphinid species, Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), were studied. Biosonar clicks from both species were recorded within the same stretch of coastal habitat in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, using a vertical seven element hydrophone array. S. sahulensis used biosonar clicks with a mean source level of 199?±?3?dB re 1?μPa peak-peak (pp), mean centroid frequency of 106?±?11 kHz, and emitted at interclick intervals (ICIs) of 79?±?33?ms. These parameters were similar to click parameters of sympatric T. aduncus, characterized by mean source levels of 204?±?4?dB re 1?μPa pp, centroid frequency of 112?±?9 kHz, and ICIs of 73?±?29?ms. These properties are comparable to those of other similar sized delphinids and suggest that biosonar parameters are independent of sympatric delphinids and possibly driven by body size. The dynamic biosonar behavior of these delphinids may have, consequently, allowed for adaptations to local environments through high levels of control over sonar beam properties.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWhales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide
    PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
    Pages3033-3041
    Number of pages9
    Volume137
    Edition6
    ISBN (Print)9780226183190
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

    Publication series

    NameJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    PublisherAcoustical Society of America
    ISSN (Print)0001-4966

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