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In male dolphin alliances, 'everybody knows your name'
It's not uncommon in dolphin society for males to form long-lasting alliances with other males, sometimes for decades. Now, after studying bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia, for more than 30 years, researchers reporting in Current Biology on June 7 find that these males retain individual vocal labels rather than sharing a common call with their cooperative partners. (2018-06-07)

Site of human-dolphin partnership becomes protected area
The government of Myanmar has established a protected area for, of all things, a partnership between fishermen and a small, gray beakless dolphin with a knack for herding fish into nets, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). (2006-06-22)

Dolphins learn foraging skills from peers
Dolphins can learn new skills from their fellow dolphins. That's the conclusion of a new study reported in the journal Current Biology on June 25. The findings are the first to show that dolphins are not only capable of learning new ways to catch prey, but they are also motivated to learn from peers, not just from their mothers, the researchers say. (2020-06-25)

Tourism poses a threat to dolphins in the Balearic Islands
The rise in tourism, fishing and sea transport between the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands is compromising the wellbeing of a small population of common bottlenose dolphins living in coastal waters off the Pityusic Islands. This is the conclusion of a study led by the University of Barcelona, which has, for the first time, counted these mammals in summer and spring, which are crucial seasons for them. (2014-12-11)

Name that tune
The same algorithm used to find tunes in music retrieval systems has been successfully applied in identifying the signature whistles of dolphins, affording a new time-saving device for research into the world of dolphin communication. (2013-10-23)

Study by NOAA and partners shows some Gulf dolphins severely ill
Bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, are showing signs of severe ill health, according to NOAA marine mammal biologists and their local, state, federal and other research partners. Barataria Bay, located in the northern Gulf of Mexico, received heavy and prolonged exposure to oil during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (2012-03-26)

Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins: UBC research
In the marine world, high-energy prey make for high-energy predators. And to survive, such marine predators need to sustain the right kind of high-energy diet. Not just any prey will do, suggests a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia and University of La Rochelle, in France. (2012-11-21)

Dolphins keep lifelong social memories, longest in a non-human species
Dolphins can recognize their old tank mates' whistles after being separated for more than 20 years -- the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human species. (2013-08-06)

Human language and dolphin movement patterns show similarities in brevity
Two researchers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom have shown for the first time that the law of brevity in human language, according to which the most frequently used words tend to be the shortest, also extends to other animal species. The scientists have shown that dolphins are more likely to make simpler movements at the water surface. (2009-07-30)

Healthcare for the US Navy's animal warriors could help people stay healthier
Military patrol dogs with your keen sense of smell, step aside. The US Navy has enlisted the biological sonar and other abilities of bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions to protect harbors from enemy swimmers, detect explosives on the seafloor and perform other tasks. An article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News focuses on the Navy's health program for marine mammals and how it may also help keep people healthy. (2012-05-09)

A dolphin diet
The health of dolphin populations worldwide depends on sustained access to robust food sources. (2017-08-02)

River dolphins are declining steeply in the Amazon basin
Populations of freshwater dolphins in the Amazon basin are in steep decline, dropping by half about every decade at current rates, according to a study published May 2, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Vera da Silva from Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazĂ´nia, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil, and colleagues. (2018-05-02)

Research with dolphins provides hope for prevention of diabetes in humans
Can butter help prevent diabetes? By comparing 55 fatty acids in blood levels of dolphins and their diets, scientists at the National Marine Mammal Foundation have discovered a specific dietary saturated fat, called heptadecanoic acid, that may help alleviate what's known as 'pre-diabetes' in humans. This new study supports a growing body of nutritional science showing that perhaps not all dietary saturated fats are bad, and -- in fact -- that some may be good. (2015-07-22)

Dolphins use extra energy to communicate in noisy waters
Dolphins that raise their voices to be heard in noisy environments expend extra energy in doing so, according to new research that for the first time measures the biological costs to marine mammals of trying to communicate over the sounds of ship traffic or other sources. (2015-04-23)

Renewed dolphin slaughter prompts new campaign
As the annual dolphin drive hunts begin in the Japanese villages of Taiji and Futo, a consortium of scientists and zoo and aquarium professionals has launched a campaign to end the practices through public awareness and by appealing to the government of Japan to put an end to the hunts. (2006-09-20)

Births down and deaths up in Gulf dolphins
A NOAA-led team of scientists is reporting a high rate of reproductive failure in dolphins exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The team has monitored these bottlenose dolphins in heavily oiled Barataria Bay for five years following the spill. Their findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society today, suggest that the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be long-lasting. (2015-11-03)

Study discovers natural hybridization produced dolphin species
A newly published study on the clymene dolphin, a small and sleek marine mammal living in the Atlantic Ocean, shows that this species arose through natural hybridization between two closely related dolphins species, according to authors from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History's Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, the University of Lisbon, and other contributing groups. (2014-01-08)

Toxic flame retardant accumulates in dolphins
A team led by Dutch researcher Jan Boon from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) has discovered that one isomer of the toxic substance HBCD accumulates in dolphins and porpoises. The animals metabolise the other two isomers. HBCD has partially replaced other flame retardants already banned in Europe. However, according to the researchers it is still questionable whether HBCD is also less environmentally harmful. The results have just been published in the scientific journal 'Environmental Science & Technology' (1 April 2005 issue). (2005-04-14)

Scientists name new species of cetacean: The Australian humpback dolphin
Scientists examining a taxonomically confused group of marine mammals have officially named a species new to science: the Australian humpback dolphin, Sousa sahulensis, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and Clymene Enterprises. (2014-08-01)

Genetic study reveals vulnerability of northwest dolphins
A new study estimating population genetic structure of little-known dolphins inhabiting Western Australia's north coast highlights vulnerability. (2014-07-02)

Emory scientist finds different paths lead to similar cognitive abilities
Despite the divergent evolutionary paths of dolphins and primates -- and their vastly different brains -- both have developed similar high-level cognitive abilities, says Emory University neuroscientist and behavioral biologist Lori Marino. (2005-04-05)

Whales get the bends
Underwater explosions and sonar tests may be giving whales and dolphins decompression sickness. A study by American biologists may explain why diving whales and dolphins seem to beach themselves more often than other species in areas with high levels of naval activity. (2001-12-12)

Growing noise in the ocean can cause dolphins to change their calls
Noise levels in the world's oceans are on the rise, but little is known about its impact on marine mammals like dolphins that rely on sound for communication. Researchers from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science have found that dolphins are simplifying their calls to be heard over noise from recreational boats and other vessels in nearby shipping lanes. (2018-10-24)

Deepwater Horizon NRDA study shows possible oil impact on dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins in Louisiana's Barataria Bay have lung damage and adrenal hormone abnormalities not previously seen in other dolphin populations, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Dec. 18, 2013 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. (2013-12-19)

Dolphins gather in female family groups
Social clusters including mothers' groups play an important role in the life of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins, a new study shows. Like giraffes, lions, hyenas and grey kangaroos, bottlenose dolphins appear to form social bonds with kin and other females in similar reproductive condition, while maintaining moderate and loose social bonds with some same-sex individuals. (2020-02-10)

Fossil specimen reveals a new species of ancient river dolphin to Smithsonian scientists
The careful examination of fossil fragments from Panama has led Smithsonian scientists and colleagues to the discovery of a new genus and species of river dolphin that has been long extinct. The team named it Isthminia panamensis. The specimen not only revealed a new species to science, but also shed new light onto the evolution of today's freshwater river dolphin species. The team's research was published Sept. 1 in the scientific journal PeerJ. (2015-09-01)

Study links fetal and newborn dolphin deaths to Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Scientists have finalized a study of newborn and fetal dolphins found stranded on beaches in the northern Gulf of Mexico between 2010 and 2013. The study team identified substantial differences between fetal and newborn dolphins found stranded inside and outside the areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (2016-04-12)

Rare research into false killer whales reveals anti-predator partnerships
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are one of the least studied species of ocean dolphin, but new light has been cast on their behavior by a team of marine scientists from New Zealand. The research, published in Marine Mammal Science, reveals how a population off the coast of New Zealand has developed a relationship with bottlenose dolphins to defend themselves from predation. (2013-10-03)

Pregnancy is a drag for bottlenose dolphins
Every mum knows pregnancy is a drag, but how much harder is it for pregnant dolphins pulling themselves through water? This is the question that puzzled Shawn Noren from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Filming and analyzing the movements of pregnant dolphins before and after delivery, Noren discovered that pregnant dolphins experience 51 percent more drag than after delivery and even change swimming style (gait) to overcome the inconvenience of swimming with a bump. (2011-11-24)

Mercury in dolphins: Study compares toxin levels in captive and wild sea mammals
A small pilot study found higher levels of toxic mercury in dolphins downwind of power plants than in captive dolphins. (2012-05-21)

New protected areas for dolphins declared
The Government of Bangladesh recently declared three new wildlife sanctuaries for endangered freshwater dolphins in the world's largest mangrove ecosystem - the Sundarbans, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society whose conservation work helped pinpoint the locations of the protected areas. (2012-02-16)

Call of the wild: Individual dolphin calls used to estimate population size and movement
A new study has shown for the first time that acoustic monitoring can be used in place of photographs to generate abundance estimates of dolphin populations. (2020-08-27)

Lights on fishing nets save turtles and dolphins
Placing lights on fishing nets reduces the chances of sea turtles and dolphins being caught by accident, new research shows. (2019-12-05)

Men, mammals, and machines
Now here was an awesome alliance: in March, when supply and hospital ships were on their way into Iraq's port of Umm Qasr, and the sea channels had to be cleared of the mines the Iraqis had planted, a group of Marine Corps reconnaissance swimmers, Navy SEALS, Explosive Ordnance divers, dolphins, and underwater drones joined forces. (2003-06-30)

Dolphin ancestor's hearing was more like hoofed mammals than today's sea creatures
The CT scan revealed cochlear coiling with more turns than in animals with echolocation, indicating hearing more similar to the cloven-hoofed, terrestrial mammals dolphins came from than the sleek sea creatures they are today. (2019-05-14)

Were Panamanian islanders dolphin hunters?
Dolphins played an important part in the diet of inhabitants of Panama's Pedro Gonzalez Island 6000 years ago. Did they hunt dolphins from dugout canoes or use another technique to capture them? (2016-01-06)

Tracking humanity's latest toxins in stranded whales and dolphins
As humanity develops new types of plastics and chemicals, researchers are constantly trying to keep up with understanding how these contaminants affect the environment and wildlife. A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of these pollutants in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern United States. (2020-08-05)

Diving dolphins are exhalation champions
How diving marine mammals escape the damaging effects of high pressure is something of a mystery. However, Andreas Fahlman from Texas A&M University and collaborators working at Dolphin Quest Oahu have discovered that the mammals have extremely compressible lungs that protect them from damage by collapsing when diving. The animals also have one of the highest ever recorded exhalation rates at 137.6 l/s, 2-3 times higher than the terrestrial champion, the horse. (2015-07-08)

'Gray's Paradox' solved: Researchers discover secret of speedy dolphins
In 1936, zoologist Sir James Gray observed dolphins swimming faster than 20 mph, but his studies had concluded that the muscles of dolphins simply weren't strong enough to support that speed. The conundrum came to be known as (2008-11-24)

Dolphins and whales experience pleasure
Whales and dolphins squeal when they receive a reward, but do they squeal to inform nearby members of the pod that they have found food, or are the squeals expressions of delight? Sam Ridgway analyzed the time delay between dolphins and whales receiving a reward and their squeals and realized that the delay is the same as the delay between a pleasant experience and dopamine release in the brain, suggesting that the animals experience pleasure. (2014-08-13)

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