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  • The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    Dominica Sperm Whale Project Study Communicate Conserve Study Study About our Research SCROLL DOWN Study Study About our Research Communicate Communicate Learn More About Whales SCROLL DOWN Communicate Communicate Learn More About Whales Conserve CONSERVE Help Change the World SCROLL

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/ (2016-04-30)
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  • About US — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    at his personal website Peter Madsen Peter Madsen Co Investigator SCROLL DOWN Peter Madsen Peter Madsen Co Investigator Peter studies the sensory physiology and behavioral ecology of marine animals with special focus on how they use and produce sound to navigate find food avoid predators and communicate Primary areas of investigation include biosonar and sound production in toothed whales kinematics of feeding and locomotion in cetaceans and underwater communication and sound propagation in cetaceans with implications for effects of man made noise and passive acoustic monitoring He is currently working with Shane on aspects of coda communication and co supervising both Pernille Tønnesen and Anne Bøttcher for their masters projects Peter s Marine Bioacoustics Lab at Aarhus University pursue an integrative biology approach to experiments at an organismal level with emphasis on how animals work in an evolutionary context Hal Whitehead Hal Whitehead Founder Co Investigator SCROLL DOWN Hal Whitehead Hal Whitehead Founder Co Investigator Hal s work is principally on the behaviour social structure population biology and conservation of sperm whales techniques of studying social structure and more general questions about social structure in mammals and cultural evolution His Cetacean Research Group at Dalhousie University conducts research on the culture behavioural ecology social organisation ranging behaviour distribution population biology acoustic behaviour and conservation of several cetacean species particularly the sperm whale northern bottlenose whale and the long finned pilot whale Hal is currently supervising Christine Konrad and Wilfried Beslin during their masters research Tim Frasier Tim Frasier Co investigator SCROLL DOWN Tim Frasier Tim Frasier Co investigator Tim applies genetic analyses to the study of wildlife populations to better understand their biology Most of his work is on endangered marine mammal species and therefore our work often involves using genetic analyses to aid management and or conservation initiatives to

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/about/ (2016-04-30)
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  • Study — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    across behavioural and social contexts in their ordering during vocal exchanges and based on the identity of the the signaler and receiver Using multiple animal borne Dtags deployed on well known individuals we can for the first time address these questions Kinship Sperm whale skin preserved for analysis Sperm whale units are generally matrilineal which suggests kin selection may contribute to the formation and maintenance of their long term social units However the long term social datasets matched with comprehensive genetic sampling are rare among marine mammals By pairing our detailed social history of the individuals we study and skin sampling from across the last decade Christine Konrad has a unique opportunity to examine kin selection s role in sperm whale societies and to ultimately better understand the selective pressures driving sperm whales multi levelled social structure Active Acoustic Space for Coda Communication Codas are thought to function in reinforcing social bonds between whales as they are often produced in duet like exchanges which involve overlapping and matching calls among animals in close proximity Using synchronous Dtag deployments Anne B ø ttcher intends on testing this hypotheses by estimating distances between interacting whales by localizing both the caller and the respondent while also quantifying the source and received levels of codas produced during exchanges to improve our understanding of the distances over which codas can be heard Laius right and Oedipus left of Jocasta s Unit fluke up to start deep foraging dives Foraging Ecology Sperm whale mothers make deep foraging dives during which their dependent calves do not follow them to depth Mothers face a tradeoff of needing to dive to meet the increased energetic demands of milk production and the increased need to spend time at the surface with their calf Using Dtags deployed synchronously on mother calf

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/research/ (2016-04-30)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Communicate — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    longest intestine and can be found in every ocean and most coastal seas and gulfs on the planet so as a result they are an ecologically significant species in the ocean Worldwide they eat as much squid in a year as all of the biomass removed from the oceans by all of the modern human fisheries combined The also have a complex social structure and a diverse communication system which are the focus of most of our research Learn more about details about sperm whales on their Wikipedia Page or scroll down to lean about the sperm whale families in Dominica Whale Families Whale Families SCROLL DOWN Whale Families Whale Families Three members of Unit R courtesy of Amanda Cotton Sperm whales are animals that form lifelong relationships that babysit for each other that have family traditions passed on by grandmothers that learn a communal dialect and have different ways of life that resemble our various cultures some of which coexist in in multicultural societies They live rich complex and interesting lives that many of us would be surprise to learn about The sperm whales off Dominica are predominantly groups of females and their dependent calves living together in units In the Caribbean these units are small about 7 animals and appear to be matrilineal meaning its a female line of grandmothers mothers and their calves so we often refer to them as families Young males leave their families in their early teens to roam the open ocean mostly alone and may never see their families again Units of females and their young regularly travel across ranges spanning several islands in the Antilles but they appear to remain in the Caribbean as these families have never be identified in the neighbouring waters in the Gulf of Mexico or the Sargasso Sea where there is also active research on sperm whales We have identified over 20 different whale families which use the waters off Dominica but there are about 10 that we see very regularly We know they have been using these waters since at least 1984 based on our pictures but likely much longer based on their life history Sperm whales can live to be older then 70 years Living that long means that you meet a lot of other whales over your lifetime and it turns out that families have preferences with each other These social preferences endure across decades suggesting that individuals can remember each other across long separations We think this social recognition is mediated by distinct dialects of Morse code like social calls termed codas Each family has a slightly different coda repertoire but also share coda types with the other units in the Caribbean Shared repertoires delineate socially segregated vocal clans collections of units that share a similar coda dialect Units which share the same dialect associate and spend time together and units that have different repertoires never gather together In the Caribbean the 1 1 3 coda type which sounds like Click pause Click

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/communicate-1/ (2016-04-30)
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  • Conserve — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    that management should be made on the regional scale rather than across broad arbitrary oceanic stocks as they are currently The community using the waters in the eastern Caribbean has been estimated to be fewer than 300 whales While globally it is estimated that there are around 360 000 sperm whales down from about 1 1 Million prior to ancient and modern mechanized whaling which only stopped in the late 1980 s not so long ago Conservation Issues While whaling of sperm whales has largely stopped humans are still the sources of the major threats to sperm whales Chemical and heavy metals are being found in the tissues of animals from around the world including those as far away as Antarctica Animals can become entangled in fishing gear including longline gill nets and FADs and ship strikes are a concern for sperm whales particularly in island areas like the Caribbean where everything is imported and fast ferries transit between islands But ocean noise is increasingly being seen as a major threat to cetaceans around the world Sperm whales are listed or protected under a number of legal frameworks The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the sperm whale as being Vulnerable The United States Endangered Species Act list sperm whales as Endangered Listed under Appendix I and Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals CMS as sperm whales have been categorized as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant proportion of their range Appendix I and they have an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international co operation organised by tailored agreements Appendix II Sperm whales are covered by the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife SPAW Protocols in the Wider Caribbean Currently there are no legal protections

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/conserve-1/ (2016-04-30)
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  • Contact — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    US Study Communicate Conserve Contact Contact Contact Photograph courtesy of Marina Milligan Email Us Top ABOUT US The DSWP Team Students STUDY Research Overview Ongoing Work Publications CONSERVE Threats Flukebook

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/contact/ (2016-04-30)
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  • Study — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    across behavioural and social contexts in their ordering during vocal exchanges and based on the identity of the the signaler and receiver Using multiple animal borne Dtags deployed on well known individuals we can for the first time address these questions Kinship Sperm whale skin preserved for analysis Sperm whale units are generally matrilineal which suggests kin selection may contribute to the formation and maintenance of their long term social units However the long term social datasets matched with comprehensive genetic sampling are rare among marine mammals By pairing our detailed social history of the individuals we study and skin sampling from across the last decade Christine Konrad has a unique opportunity to examine kin selection s role in sperm whale societies and to ultimately better understand the selective pressures driving sperm whales multi levelled social structure Active Acoustic Space for Coda Communication Codas are thought to function in reinforcing social bonds between whales as they are often produced in duet like exchanges which involve overlapping and matching calls among animals in close proximity Using synchronous Dtag deployments Anne B ø ttcher intends on testing this hypotheses by estimating distances between interacting whales by localizing both the caller and the respondent while also quantifying the source and received levels of codas produced during exchanges to improve our understanding of the distances over which codas can be heard Laius right and Oedipus left of Jocasta s Unit fluke up to start deep foraging dives Foraging Ecology Sperm whale mothers make deep foraging dives during which their dependent calves do not follow them to depth Mothers face a tradeoff of needing to dive to meet the increased energetic demands of milk production and the increased need to spend time at the surface with their calf Using Dtags deployed synchronously on mother calf

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/research (2016-04-30)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Communicate — The Dominica Sperm Whale Project
    longest intestine and can be found in every ocean and most coastal seas and gulfs on the planet so as a result they are an ecologically significant species in the ocean Worldwide they eat as much squid in a year as all of the biomass removed from the oceans by all of the modern human fisheries combined The also have a complex social structure and a diverse communication system which are the focus of most of our research Learn more about details about sperm whales on their Wikipedia Page or scroll down to lean about the sperm whale families in Dominica Whale Families Whale Families SCROLL DOWN Whale Families Whale Families Three members of Unit R courtesy of Amanda Cotton Sperm whales are animals that form lifelong relationships that babysit for each other that have family traditions passed on by grandmothers that learn a communal dialect and have different ways of life that resemble our various cultures some of which coexist in in multicultural societies They live rich complex and interesting lives that many of us would be surprise to learn about The sperm whales off Dominica are predominantly groups of females and their dependent calves living together in units In the Caribbean these units are small about 7 animals and appear to be matrilineal meaning its a female line of grandmothers mothers and their calves so we often refer to them as families Young males leave their families in their early teens to roam the open ocean mostly alone and may never see their families again Units of females and their young regularly travel across ranges spanning several islands in the Antilles but they appear to remain in the Caribbean as these families have never be identified in the neighbouring waters in the Gulf of Mexico or the Sargasso Sea where there is also active research on sperm whales We have identified over 20 different whale families which use the waters off Dominica but there are about 10 that we see very regularly We know they have been using these waters since at least 1984 based on our pictures but likely much longer based on their life history Sperm whales can live to be older then 70 years Living that long means that you meet a lot of other whales over your lifetime and it turns out that families have preferences with each other These social preferences endure across decades suggesting that individuals can remember each other across long separations We think this social recognition is mediated by distinct dialects of Morse code like social calls termed codas Each family has a slightly different coda repertoire but also share coda types with the other units in the Caribbean Shared repertoires delineate socially segregated vocal clans collections of units that share a similar coda dialect Units which share the same dialect associate and spend time together and units that have different repertoires never gather together In the Caribbean the 1 1 3 coda type which sounds like Click pause Click

    Original URL path: http://www.thespermwhaleproject.org/communicate-1 (2016-04-30)
    Open archived version from archive



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