Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Signature Whistles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The signature whistle is defined as the most common whistle type that an individual uses when in isolation. Signature whistles have now been documented in more than 300 individual bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in a variety of locations, both captive and wild, and there is evidence for them in four other delphinid species. Melba and David Caldwell in the 1960s first described signature whistles for several species of captive delphinids. They found that individual dolphins, while isolated for medical attention, produced primarily one stereotyped individually distinctive whistle contour. Signature whistles function both in individual recognition and in maintaining group cohesion. In playback experiments conducted during brief capture-release events in Sarasota Bay, FL, dolphins responded more strongly to whistles of related than non-related individuals. In addition to discovering signature whistles, Caldwell and Caldwell were the first researchers to investigate vocal development in bottlenose dolphins. They found that young dolphins produce tremulous, quavery whistles, and then gradually converge on a stereotyped whistle contour during their first year of life. However, little is known about what factors govern the "choice" of whistle contours by calves. Again, studies that utilize acoustic localization with concurrent behavioral observations promise to shed light on this interesting question. Signature whistles are an important class of vocalizations produced by bottlenose dolphins. Much work remains to be done in order to learn how these whistles develop and how they are used in the natural communication system of dolphins. © 2009

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Marine Mammals
PublisherACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Pages1014-1016
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9780123735539
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Conditioned variation in heart rate during static breath-holds in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

    Fahlman, A., Cozzi, B., Manley, M., Jabas, S., Malik, M., Blawas, A. & Janik, V. M., 24 Nov 2020, In: Frontiers in Physiology. 11, 604018.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. The startle reflex in echolocating odontocetes: basic physiology and practical implications

    Götz, T., Pacini, A. F., Nachtigall, P. & Janik, V. M., 12 Mar 2020, In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 223, 12 p., jeb208470.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Repeated downsweep vocalizations of the Araguaian river dolphin, Inia araguaiaensis

    Melo-Santos, G., Walmsley, S. F., Marmontel, M., Oliveira-da-Costa, M. & Janik, V. M., Feb 2020, In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, p. 748-756

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Bottlenose dolphin calves have multi-year elevations of plasma oxytocin compared to all other age classes

    Robinson, K. J., Ternes, K., Hazon, N., Wells, R. & Janik, V. M., 15 Jan 2020, In: General and Comparative Endocrinology. 286, 113323.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Signal-specific amplitude adjustment to noise in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

    Kragh, I. M., McHugh, K., Wells, R. S., Sayigh, L. S., Janik, V. M., Tyack, P. L. & Jensen, F. H., 3 Dec 2019, In: Journal of Experimental Biology. 222, 23, 11 p., jeb216606.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 255452433

Top