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Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

Dolphin social networks are unusually open

In March 2012 the New Scientist reported on research in Shark Bay Western Australia which shows that male bottlenose dolphins in this area cooperate in groups of two or three. These smaller groups also link with others to form ‘gangs’ of up to 14 males and these ‘gangs’ can sometimes also coalesce to form even larger groupings.

With some exceptions, terrestrial mammals tend to live in more closed social groupings that occasionally accept new members emigrating in from other coalitions. What is curious about this research is that usually such complex alliances are believed to enable males to control particular territory or mates. However, Richard Connor and colleagues tracked 120 male bottlenose dolphins and found no evidence that these groups were formed for these reasons. Connor concludes that these findings suggest that the social networks of these dolphins  is ‘unusually open’ and may be related to the relatively low energy costs associated with travel for these dolphins.

The abstract for the original research can be downloaded here.