Dolphin – a highly Social Animal

According to a recent study,they may not be on Facebook or Twitter, but like humans dolphins do, in fact, form highly complex and dynamic networks of friends. Dolphins are  highly social animals, and biologists took a closer look at the interactions between bottle nose dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon and discovered how they mingle and with whom  they spend their time.

Research Highlights:

Through intensive photo-ID surveys conducted along the IRL, which were carried out over a six- and-a-half year period, the researchers were able to learn about the association patterns as well as movement behavior and habitat preferences of some 200 individual dolphins.

Recently, team found that individual dolphins exhibited both preference and avoidance behavior — so just like humans, they have dolphins they like and associate with and ones they avoid. The study also found that IRL dolphins clustered into groups of associated animals, or “communities,” that tended to occupy discrete core areas along the north-south axis of the lagoon system.

One of the more unique aspects of our study was the discovery that the physical dimensions of the habitat, the long, narrow lagoon system itself, influenced the spatial and temporal dynamics of dolphin association patterns.

Interesting Findings:

This novel study delivers important insight and knowledge on how dolphins establish themselves, who they interact with and who they avoid, as well as when and where. It also gives scientists and resource managers the road map needed to understand how dolphin populations perceive and use their environment, and how social networks will influence information transfer and potentially breeding behavior and disease transmission.

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