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New study published on Shannon Dolphin social structure

A new study has recently been published on the social structure of the Shannon dolphins.

The study, led by Aoife Foley used four years of photo-identification data (2005 to 2009) were used to construct sociograms that complement a cluster analysis of individually marked dolphins and their associates.

The results found little evidence of social stability or group fidelity for this study’s dolphin population. Analysis of dol-phins observed in consecutive years shwed that the probability of group members encountering an individual dolphin in the second year did not depart from a random model.

The social parameters for this resident population seem to be typical for this species. Bottlenose dolphins are found to exhibit a highly fluid, dynamic social structure within which individuals change their composition and associates regularly. These dolphins in the Shannon Estuary appear to live in a fission-fusion based society.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from Download document


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