New Mother-Calf Paper

DCP is pleased to announce our latest paper, this time with one of our students as lead author! Congratulations to Savanna on her hard work. We’re excited to see where the rest of your studies take you. And of course, well done to co-authors Manon, Amy, and Kathleen!

Savanna shared the following with the peer-reviewed journal, Aquatic Mammals: “The bottlenose dolphin society is comprised of many kinds of relationships that come and go. Perhaps the most formative relationship among dolphins is that between a mother and her calf. While fully dependent on mom the calf develops in several ways, including motor control, personality, and social skills, that may impact interactions between mother and calf. This study examined the mom-calf relationship in a group of dolphins at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences by analyzing physical contacts as the calf aged. Though a small sample size, the results showed calves initiated more contact events than mom, mainly in a non-aggressive manner. Individual preference in both dolphins and pair swim position seem to influence which body part is used to start tactile exchanges. This study will be used to guide on-going research aiming for a deeper understanding of the mother-calf relationship.”

In this photo, Calf Sandy swimming below her mother, Tilly, in the infant position, with Tilly’s sister Maury swimming below Sandy.

Savanna M. Duda, Manon Themelin, Amy C. Hirons, and Kathleen M. Dudzinski. (2024). Contact Exchanges in Bottlenose Dolphin Mother–Calf Pairs. Aquatic Mammals, 50(1), 19-29. or Contact DCP (info{at}dcpmail{dot}org) to request a PDF.