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Whistle Characteristics of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the Fremantle Inner Harbour, Western Australia

Abstract

Bottlenose dolphins use whistles to communicate with their conspecifics and maintain group cohesion. We recorded 477 whistles of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the Fremantle Inner Harbour, Western Australia, on nine occasions over a six-week period during May/June 2013. Over half (57 %) of the whistles had complex contours exhibiting at least one local extremum, while 32 % were straight upsweeps, 5 % downsweeps and 6 % constant-frequency. About 60 % of whistles occurred in trains. Fundamental frequency ranged from 1.1 to 18.4 kHz and whistle duration from 0.05 to 1.15 s. The maximum numbers of local extrema and inflection points were 7 and 9, respectively. Whistle parameters compared well to those of measurements made from other T. aduncus populations around Australia. Observed differences might be due to ambient noise rather than geographic separation.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Centre of Marine Science and Technology (Curtin University), in particular to Malcolm Perry and Frank Thomas for providing field support and assistance. We thank Fremantle Ports for granting us access into the Port to carry out data collection.

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Correspondence to Rhianne Ward.

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Ward, R., Parnum, I., Erbe, C. et al. Whistle Characteristics of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the Fremantle Inner Harbour, Western Australia. Acoust Aust 44, 159–169 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40857-015-0041-4

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Keywords

  • Whistle characteristics
  • Bottlenose dolphin
  • Tursiops aduncus
  • Fremantle Inner Harbour