Dolphin Ecology

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Dolphin Ecology

October 13, 2011 - 23:23

When you are on the way back to the harbor after the afternoon dive, wild dolphins often swim in front and along the dive boat. They seem to love following boats. Sometimes they then perform for us, in form of huge jumps out of the water and “tail shows”, keeping the tail up for minutes remaining still in the water.

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Tags & Taxonomy

My biggest surprise was to see how fast these beautiful animals actually swim underwater. One of these young dolphins tried to teach me her kind of swimming, but quickly gave up on such a clumsy student. This recent first encounter made me think about how much – or how little - do we actually know about dolphins: their biology, ecology and behavior?

In captivity

Much of what we knew was about dolphins was, until quite recently, entirely based on studies of animals in captivity and only from the species of bottlenose dolphin, i.e. “Flipper”, Tursiops spp, and the orca or killer whale Orcinus orca.

From these studies we know they talk, i.e. they have a language and there are even different dialects among some groups of orca, that they have complicated
relationships and they have a culture. The latter is currently the subject of a lot attention and debate among scientists as it is argued that animals with a culture should have this quality included as regards to conservation issues.

Fortunately, in recent years field based studies have been on the increase which have provided us with many new insights into the fascinating lives of dolphins. We will present some of the known facts as well as some of the many newest findings.

Dolphin Sonar

Dolphins contain a unique sensory organ which is used for hunting and communication: the (...)

Originally published

on page 52

X-Ray Mag #8

November 22, 2005 - 12:26

South Africa theme: Up and down the coast. Sardine Run - Seal heaven - White Sharks - Tiger sharks - Safaris & Photography. Profile of Andre Hartman, the sharkman. Ecology - the life of Dolphins. Using Surface Marker Bouys. After the Tsunami. Photography: Let there be light. Polluce wreck