Whistle characteristics and daytime dive behavior in pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) in Hawai‘i measured using digitial acoustic recording tags (DTAGs)

Citation

Silva, T.L., T.A. Mooney, L.S. Sayigh, P.L. Tyack, R.W. Baird and J.N. Oswald. 2016. Whistle characteristics and daytime dive behavior in pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) in Hawai‘i measured using digitial acoustic recording tags (DTAGs). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 140: in press.

Abstract

This study characterizes daytime acoustic and dive behavior of pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) in Hawai'i using 14.58 h of data collected from five deployments of digital acoustic recording tags (DTAG3) in 2013. For each tagged animal, the number of whistles, foraging buzzes, dive profiles, and dive statistics were calculated. Start, end, minimum, and maximum frequencies, number of inflection points and duration were measured from 746 whistles. Whistles ranged in frequency from 9.7 ± 2.8 to 19.8 ± 4.2 kHz, had a mean duration of 0.7 ± 0.5 s and a mean of 1.2 ± 1.2 inflection points. Thirteen foraging buzzes were recorded across all tags. Mean dive depth and duration were 16 ± 9 m and 1.9 ± 1.0 min, respectively. Tagged animals spent the majority of time in the upper 10 m (76.9% ± 16.1%) of the water column. Both whistle frequency characteristics and dive statistics measured here were similar to previously reported values for spotted dolphins in Hawai'i. Shallow, short dive profiles combined with few foraging buzzes provide evidence that little spotted dolphin feeding behavior occurs during daytime hours. This work represents one of the first successful DTAG3 studies of small pelagic delphinids, providing rare insights into baseline bioacoustics and dive behavior.

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