Short-beaked common dolphins of Dilek Peninsula National Park, South Aegean Sea: Preliminary results on group structure, spatial distribution, behavioural patterns, whistle characteristics and behavioural context

Aylin Akkaya, Tim Awbery, Patrick Lyne, Hannah Research Association, Antalya, Turkey, Kayla Nease, Caroline Haas, Anne Le henaff, Beth Murray, Laura Rudd, Belen Yıldırım, Ayşe Oruç

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Abstract

Basic knowledge about populations of short‐beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea is still lacking. Classified as ‘Endangered’ in an IUCN assessment released in 2022, it is necessary to gain baseline knowledge to understand the species’ population status and develop impactful conservation measures. The current study conducted boat surveys, employing visual and acoustic techniques between January 2019 and July 2022 in the Dilek Peninsula National Park, central Aegean Sea. Results revealed the continuous coastal presence of common dolphins, with subadults recorded during every sighting in low group sizes. Travelling‐related activities made up 58% of observed behaviour while resting comprised just 1%. Whistles were produced in the range of 1.83–48kHz with a peak frequency of 10.4kHz and median duration of 0.54s. Concave whistles were the most frequently recorded whistle type. Whistles were found to be generated when dolphins were interacting with boats and diving/travelling fast, forming 53% and 31% of whistle production respectively. The continuous presence of common dolphins, particularly subadults, emphasises the importance of the Dilek Peninsula. Whistle parameters show similarities with other common dolphin populations of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, albeit with shorter durations. The high whistle presence during boat interactions requires investigation to assess whether whistles carry avoidance or predatory messages, or whether there are potential consequences for the species’ energy budget. The current study presents preliminary information on the behavioural context of acoustic patterns. Further research is essential to understand the click and whistle characteristics within the biological, environmental and anthropogenic variables of their surroundings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cetacean Research and Management
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Common Dolphin
  • Aegean Sea
  • Acoustics
  • Behaviour
  • Distribution
  • Mediterranean
  • Vocalisation
  • Photo-id

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