It was a quick trip back to Perth for me this week as I was presenting at the UWA Faculty of Science Rising Star Awards 2016 - where ten early career researchers (each nominated by their school) present their research in 3 minutes. It was a fantastic evening - showcasing the breadth of research across the faculty - and I was very happy to be representing the School of Animal Biology.
The team returned to the field on the 1st August, this time they are based at Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort where the Dolphin Alliance Project has been running for nearly 35 years!
We were lucky to start the month with a week of glorious weather and lots of time on the water with some of the Red Cliff Bay alliances – including the 8 member second-order alliance the ‘Kroker Spaniels’. We are already documenting consortships, with males using a low frequency pulsed sound, termed ‘pops’, as a threat vocalisation towards females. These are fascinating sounds and we are collecting a lot more information on how these males are using them to coerce females. We are also recording lots of other vocalisations, including likely signature whistles, and a diverse array of burst-pulsed sounds. The overhead video collection is going well and will enable us to better assess the location of vocalising animals with respect to the towed hydrophone array. These stills were taken during an exciting follow on the Kroker Spaniels, who were consorting two females, and also giving a young alliance, the Spark Plugs, a good telling off.
Fieldwork here in MM will continue until the end of September so keep checking for more updates!