Odontocete Social Strategies and Tactics Along and Inshore

  • Katherine McHughEmail author
Part of the Ethology and Behavioral Ecology of Marine Mammals book series (EBEMM)


Odontocetes are social animals, and long-term studies of nearshore species have documented high levels of social complexity, cultural innovation, cooperation, and social bonding within populations. While odontocete social lives may ultimately owe their existence to the predator protection benefits of grouping, it is becoming clear that there is great variability in the nature of social relationships and fitness consequences of social behavior for whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Although much of what we know still comes from limited longitudinal studies of identified individuals from a handful of species at multiple sites, information from new populations and species highlights the flexibility and vulnerability of odontocete societies in close proximity to humans and the need for robust conservation and management plans that account for social and cultural processes.


Social complexity Culture Social learning Behavioral flexibility Cooperation Fission–fusion dynamics Social vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Programc/o Mote Marine LaboratorySarasotaUSA

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