Title

Geographic variations in the whistles of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) along the east and west coasts of Australia

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Hawkins, E 2010, 'Geographic variations in the whistles of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) along the east and west coasts of Australia', Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 128, no. 2, pp. 924-935.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3459837

Abstract

Macrogeographic variations in the structure and repertoire of whistles from four geographically separated bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) populations from the east and west coasts of Australia were investigated. Microgeographic variations were examined from two adjacent social groups from the same east coast population. Whistles were divided into five different tonal classes; sine, rise, down-sweep, flat and concave. The acoustic parameters of whistles; start, end, low, high and carrier frequencies and the number of inflection points and harmonics were measured and compared. These features were used to identify and define distinct whistle types. Differences in acoustic parameters of whistles between populations varied with the tonal class and the acoustic parameter being tested and were likely to be driven by localized environmental conditions. There were few differences in the acoustic parameters of whistles between social groups which was likely a result of vocal learning and mimicry from intermixing of individuals. There were small percentages of distinct whistle types that were shared between the both intermixing social groups and geographically separated populations, however, the majority of the whistle repertoires were unique. The development of the unique whistle repertoires may be primarily driven by the complex social organization of the bottlenose dolphin.