Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Bottlenose Dolphins Retain Individual Vocal Labels in Multi-level Alliances


King, Stephanie L; Friedman, Whitney R; Allen, Simon J; Gerber, Livia; Jensen, Frants H; Wittwer, Samuel; Connor, Richard C; Krützen, Michael (2018). Bottlenose Dolphins Retain Individual Vocal Labels in Multi-level Alliances. Current Biology, 28(12):1993-1999.e3.

Abstract

Cooperation between allied individuals and groups is ubiquitous in human societies, and vocal communication is known to play a key role in facilitating such complex human behaviors [1, 2]. In fact, complex communication may be a feature of the kind of social cognition required for the formation of social alliances, facilitating both partner choice and the execution of coordinated behaviors [3]. As such, a compelling avenue for investigation is what role flexible communication systems play in the formation and maintenance of cooperative partnerships in other alliance-forming animals. Male bottlenose dolphins in some populations form complex multi-level alliances, where individuals cooperate in the pursuit and defense of an important resource: access to females [4]. These strong relationships can last for decades and are critical to each male's reproductive success [4]. Convergent vocal accommodation is used to signal social proximity to a partner or social group in many taxa [5, 6], and it has long been thought that allied male dolphins also converge onto a shared signal to broadcast alliance identity [5-8]. Here, we combine a decade of data on social interactions with dyadic relatedness estimates to show that male dolphins that form multi-level alliances in an open social network retain individual vocal labels that are distinct from those of their allies. Our results differ from earlier reports of signature whistle convergence among males that form stable alliance pairs. Instead, they suggest that individual vocal labels play a central role in the maintenance of differentiated relationships within complex nested alliances.

Abstract

Cooperation between allied individuals and groups is ubiquitous in human societies, and vocal communication is known to play a key role in facilitating such complex human behaviors [1, 2]. In fact, complex communication may be a feature of the kind of social cognition required for the formation of social alliances, facilitating both partner choice and the execution of coordinated behaviors [3]. As such, a compelling avenue for investigation is what role flexible communication systems play in the formation and maintenance of cooperative partnerships in other alliance-forming animals. Male bottlenose dolphins in some populations form complex multi-level alliances, where individuals cooperate in the pursuit and defense of an important resource: access to females [4]. These strong relationships can last for decades and are critical to each male's reproductive success [4]. Convergent vocal accommodation is used to signal social proximity to a partner or social group in many taxa [5, 6], and it has long been thought that allied male dolphins also converge onto a shared signal to broadcast alliance identity [5-8]. Here, we combine a decade of data on social interactions with dyadic relatedness estimates to show that male dolphins that form multi-level alliances in an open social network retain individual vocal labels that are distinct from those of their allies. Our results differ from earlier reports of signature whistle convergence among males that form stable alliance pairs. Instead, they suggest that individual vocal labels play a central role in the maintenance of differentiated relationships within complex nested alliances.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
7 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

2 downloads since deposited on 19 Jul 2018
1 download since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:19 Jul 2018 09:13
Last Modified:08 Apr 2020 23:46
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0960-9822
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.013
PubMed ID:29887310
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_149956
  • : Project TitleMale career moves - the genomics of cooperative behaviour and alliance formation in male bottlenose dolphins
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID609033
  • : Project TitleAIAS - Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies

Download

Closed Access: Download allowed only for UZH members