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Dolphin changes in whistle structure with watercraft activity depends on their behavioral state
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Dolphins rely on whistles to identify each other and to receive and convey information about their environment. Although capable of adjusting these signals with changing environments, there is little information on how dolphins acoustically respond to different watercraft activities and if this response depends on dolphin behavioral state. Bottlenose dolphin whistles were recorded in the presence of research and dolphin-watching boats. Dolphins emitted lower frequency and longer whistles when interacting with dolphin-watching boats, particularly during foraging activities. This study suggests that dolphin-watching boat traffic significantly hinders dolphin communication during important behavioral states.
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