Field Research Courses in Marine Mammals Science.
FIELD RESEARCH COURSE 1002: Social relationships and communication in a fission-fusion society
This advanced course provides an in-depth, hands-on immersion into the field and laboratory methods for behavioural ecology and communication of bottlenose dolphins. This training course aims to provide specialization in behavioural methods, focusing in particular on bottlenose dolphin social behaviour and communication, achieving an integrated approach to the understanding of the behavioural complexity of this species.
This course contains two modules. The first module will introduce students to the main type of field and analytical methods concerning social relationships and communication of wild bottlenose dolphins. In the second module, course attendants will apply all methods on case studies, and perform analyses of example data. The first module contains various hands on boat based and computer exercises.
As a result of successful completion of this specialization course, attendants will gain a deeper insight into behavioural research concepts and methodology, underlying social dynamics and communication. By the end of the course, students will be able to design a simple project to assess the social organization of a bottlenose dolphin population. In addition, course attendants will get experience in using bioacoustical methods via computer practical sessions involving classification and analyses of bottlenose dolphin vocalizations.
Lecture Topics Include: Review of bottlenose dolphin field studies, Anatomy & Physiology, Life history & Reproduction, Population dynamics, Closed Mark-recapture methods, Photo-identification, Association patterns, Hinde's framework, Bioacoustic methods, Vocal production & repertoire, Whistle acoustic features, Signature whistles, BDRI’s Current Research, Statistical analysis, computer orientation (use of fin-recognition software packages for photo-identification, SOCPROG, Spectrograms and databases).
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