acta ethologica

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 113–117 | Cite as

Play it again: the use of video records in behavioural studies with small cetaceans

  • Caio Noritake Louzada
  • Ana Paula de Souza Maistro
  • Emygdio Leite de Araujo Monteiro-Filho
Short Communication


Some difficulties arise in studying the behaviour of marine mammals at their natural habitat mainly because they spend most of their time underwater and have complex behaviours. Therefore, many protocols and sample methods are available to better assess the behavioural ecology of this animals. Here, we compared two behavioural recording methods. The first one was the direct visual observation. The second one was recording using a digital video recorder. We hypothesise that the possibility of watching recorded videos repeatedly leads to a higher quantification of behaviours compared with the direct observation method. We found a slight variation in the frequency of behaviours according to the method used. Furthermore, we found that the video recordings should not be used as a replacement for the direct observation method. Finally, we highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of both methods. We recommend that in behavioural research, the use of video recording should be careful; it is preferable that an experienced researcher uses the direct observation method, while it is best for a person with low know–how to the use the video recording method.


Records methods Sotalia guianensis Estuarine dolphin Fishing behaviour Dolphin behaviour Behavioural sampling method 



We thank to the Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia (IPeC), which provided the logistical support and to PETROBRAS (Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.), for the financial support through Programa Petrobras Ambiental (Petrobras Environmental Program). We are grateful to Reinaldo R. Ribeiro by conducting the boat in fieldworks and Eric Medeiros by providing language help. Comments from Bernd Würsig and an anonymous reviewer significantly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10211_2013_164_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (176 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 176 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ISPA 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caio Noritake Louzada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana Paula de Souza Maistro
    • 1
  • Emygdio Leite de Araujo Monteiro-Filho
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de PesquisasCananéiaBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e ConservaçãoUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil

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