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Projects/ 4-channel UDDAS/ Fieldwork

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The three musketeersIn collaboration with Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project (WDP), the 4-channel UDDAS has been used to study wild Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in The Bahamas.  Dr. Herzing has studied this pod of dolphins since 1985 using underwater video, and has identified over 200 individual dolphins which can be recognized from their specific patterns of body spots.  WDP’s knowledge of the individual spotted and bottlenosed dolphins in its catalog acquired over 25 years of fieldwork is unique in the world, and presents an ideal setting to employ a system such as the 4-channel UDDAS, which focuses on getting recordings from individual dolphins.  After all, if the life history and family relationships of a particular dolphin are well known, it puts the high frequency sounds recorded from that dolphin into a meaningful perspective.

Recording dusky dolphin in New ZealandThe 4-channel UDDAS has so far been employed during three different field trips with WDP in The Bahamas.  High frequency sounds were successfully recorded from both spotted and bottlenosed dolphins, engaged in a variety of different behaviors such as crater feeding on the sand, night feeding, courtship, aggression, and play.  Analyzing these recordings, which is ongoing, involves localizing the sounds and attributing them to specific individuals visible on the simultaneous video.  It is our hope that this information will shed new light on how communication sounds are exchanged within a dolphin group, how echolocation clicks might be adapted by dolphins in different situations, and whether specific sounds are indicative of specific behaviors.