Dolphin Dialects of New Zealand

Latest update December 5, 2018 Started on October 29, 2018
sea

Dolphins are highly vocal animals and depend on sound to communicate, navigate and find food. Dialects are well known in birds but appear to be quite rare among marine mammals, so far have only been described in two marine mammal species: killer whales and sperm whales. In this project, I want to confirm the presence of dialects in New Zealand bottlenose dolphins across three populations of this species with varying levels of genetic and geographic isolation, and try to elucidate if there is a relationship between social associations and dolphins sound. The information from this project will contribute to fill the gaps on the vocal behaviour in bottlenose dolphins in NZ.

October 29, 2018
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Preparation

(English version)


Introducing Emma.

Hi! I am still writing from my office in Auckland. The wind has been very strong lately making impossible to go out and search for dolphins. So, while I am waiting for the wind gods to give me a hand, I will continue introducing you to the people helping me on my Expedition. This time the turn is for Emma Betty. Emma was born and raised in New Zealand. Currently, she is a researcher and technical officer in marine ecology at my University (Massey Uni). She is an experienced scientific diver and boat skipper; our safety is on her hands, so she has the last word on the field trips. In addition, Emma is currently completing her PhD (part-time). Emma's research background is in the ecology and conservation of marine mammals in New Zealand waters. Her interests include investigations on stranded cetaceans; particularly regarding the life history and feeding ecology of deep-diving species. Her current research is focused on strandings, life history and conservation of pilot whales in New Zealand waters. It is nice to have Emma on board, let me tell you that I have learnt a lot from her about boats, safety, post-mortem, dogs, kiwi life and I am very grateful for that…

Finally, I have a very exciting news to share with you. My Expedition was selected to receive an ROV Trident underwater drone! I am very happy about this and hope to start collecting more data using my Trident. Thank you to S.E.E. Initiative, National Geographic and all the followers that make this possible.

Stay tuned…

(Versión en Español)

Presentando a Emma.

¡Hola! Todavía estoy escribiendo desde mi oficina en Auckland. El viento ha estado bastante fuerte últimamente, lo que ha hecho imposible salir a buscar delfines. Entonces, mientras espero a que los dioses del viento me echen una mano, continuaré presentándoles a las personas que me están ayudando con mi Expedición. Esta vez el turno es para Emma Betty. Emma nació y creció en Nueva Zelanda y actualmente es una investigadora y oficial técnica en ecología marina en mi universidad (Massey University). Emma es una buzo experimentada y conductora de embarcaciones (¡básicamente ella es mi capitana!). Por ende, nuestra seguridad está en sus manos y tiene la última palabra en las salidas de campo. Emma también está finalizando su doctorado (medio tiempo). Emma tiene experiencia en ecología y conservación de mamíferos marinos en aguas de Nueva Zelanda. Mas específicamente varamientos de cetáceos; ella está particularmente interesada en la historia de la vida y la ecología alimentaria de las especies de buceo profundo. Su investigación actual se centra en varamientos, historia de vida y conservación de ballenas piloto en aguas de Nueva Zelanda. Es bueno tener a Emma a bordo, déjenme decirles que he aprendido mucho de ella sobre botes, seguridad, autopsias, perros, estilo de vida kiwi (kiwi es como se les conoce a las personas nacidas en Nueva Zelanda) y estoy muy agradecido por eso.

Finalmente, tengo una noticia muy emocionante para compartir con ustedes. ¡Mi expedición fue seleccionada para recibir un dron submarino! Estoy muy feliz por esto y espero comenzar a recopilar más datos con mi Trident. Gracias a S.E.E. Initiative, National Geographic y todos los seguidores que hicieron esto posible.

Estén pendientes…

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Congrats on the Trident Jessica !!

Auckland, New Zealand.


While I am waiting for my next field trip (lately, it has been very windy here in Auckland), I will tell you about my experience of studying dolphin vocalizations. In the next posts, I will introduce you the people who are helping me accomplish this Expedition. Although a PhD project can be quite lonely, I have found some awesome people willing to help me out. But first, I should start by introducing myself. Hi, again! I am Jessica Patiño-Pérez, and I am a biologist from Colombia. I grew up surrounded by the beautiful mountains of my city, Medellín. Although my city was located very far from the sea, I somehow fell in love with the ocean and its creatures. My first experience studying dolphins was during an internship in Brazil, where I learnt the principles of dolphin behaviour. Then, I fell in love with Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis); these beautiful little grey dolphins endemic to Latin America. After I returned to Colombia, I started working on my thesis in a marvellous place called Urabá (where bananas grow abundantly, hence the environmental problems as well, however that is another problem), that aimed to describe the behaviour and habitat use of the Guiana dolphin. Once I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I returned to Brazil to participate in “Projeto Boto”, where I had the privilege of living in the Amazon rainforest for 9 months, in a floating house, studying pink river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis) and Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis). There, the crocodiles, giant fish and dolphins share the same river! It was the most amazing experience of my life. Next, to diversify my expertise a little, I decided to work in consultancy, but this was definitely not my thing. Yet, it took me like three years to realise this. In 2014, I decided to take a big step. I moved to New Zealand to do my Masters in Conservation Biology. During my Masters, I did an analysis of the impacts of noise on marine mammals and looked at the policies in New Zealand around this topic. Immediately, after I finished my Master's degree, I was already enrolled in my PhD! Three years later, I am already in my final year and a lot of data to collect still… As you may know, studying dolphins can be quite challenging and the weather conditions in Auckland are very particular. But hopefully, this last year is going to be a blast. I will keep you updated…

Español: Mientras espero mi próximo viaje (últimamente ha habido mucho viento aquí en Auckland), les contaré acerca de mi experiencia estudiando vocalizaciones de delfines. En los próximos posts, les presentaré a la gente que me está ayudando a llevar a cabo esta Expedición. Aunque un doctorado puede ser bastante solitario, he encontrado algunas personas increíbles que están dispuestas a ayudarme. Pero primero, debería comenzar presentándome. ¡Hola! Soy Jessica Patiño-Pérez, y soy una bióloga de Colombia. Crecí rodeada por las hermosas montañas de mi ciudad, Medellín, muy lejos del mar, pero de alguna manera me enamoré del océano y sus criaturas. Tuve mi primera experiencia estudiando delfines durante una pasantía en Brasil, donde aprendí los principios del comportamiento de los delfines. Además, me enamoré de los delfines de Guayana (Sotalia guianensis), un pequeño delfín gris, endémico de Latinoamérica. Después de regresar a Colombia, comencé a trabajar en mi tesis de grado la cual buscaba describir el comportamiento y uso del hábitat del delfín de Guyana, pero esta vez en Colombia, en un lugar maravilloso llamado Urabá, donde los bananos crecen abundantemente, y, por ende, los problemas ambientales también, pero esa es otra historia. Después de terminar mi pregrado, volví a Brasil para participar en "Projeto Boto", donde tuve el privilegio de vivir en la Amazonía durante 9 meses estudiando delfines rosados (Inia geoffrensis) y Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis). ¡Allí, los cocodrilos, los peces gigantes y los delfines comparten el mismo río! Fue la experiencia más increíble de mi vida. Después de esto, para obtener más experiencia en otros campos, comencé a trabajar en consultoría, pero definitivamente eso no era lo mío, aunque me tomó tres años darme cuenta. En 2014, me mudé a Nueva Zelanda para hacer mi maestría en biología de la conservación. Durante mi maestría hice un análisis de los impactos del ruido en los mamíferos marinos y las políticas que tiene Nueva Zelanda sobre este tema. Inmediatamente terminé mi maestría, ¡ya estaba inscrita en mi doctorado! Ahora, tres años después, estoy empezando el último año de mi doctorado con muchos datos aún por recopilar... Como sabrán, el estudio de los delfines puede ser bastante desafiante y las condiciones climáticas en Auckland son muy particulares, así que espero que este último año sea muy bueno. Los mantendré informados…

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Expedition Background

Welcome to my Expedition! My name is Jessica Patiño-Pérez and I am a PhD student, originally from Colombia, studying dolphins’ sounds in New Zealand. For the past couple of years, I have been studying bottlenose dolphin’s social networks and acoustic behaviour. Here, I will be talking about dolphin sounds!


Dolphins are highly vocal animals and depend on sound to communicate, navigate and find food. Although, researchers have been studying dolphin vocal communication for a number of years, the complex system of dolphin vocal communication and drivers of vocal diversity remain uncertain.

Currently, I am recording dolphins’ vocalisation around New Zealand trying to find out the differences in bottlenose dolphin vocalisations among populations and the causes of these differences.

I will be sharing all the details of my expedition here, just stay tuned!

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Really cool project Jessica! Looking forward to read your updates. My project is also using passive acoustic monitoring, but on fish (https://openexplorer.nationalgeographic.com/expedition/fishsounds/).

Awesome, thanks for following my Expedition! I will keep on eye on yours as well. Good luck!

Es excelente tu trabajo, felicitaciones.

Gracias por seguir mi expedición! Los próximos post estarán en español también!

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