Media Releases and Opportunities» Go to news main
Media opportunity: How do whales and dolphins make decisions? Do they follow a leader or decide as a group? Dalhousie University researcher looks into it and finds unexpected results
Many species of whales and dolphins live in pods, with some groups frequently reaching more than 50 members. It's thought they form large schools for protection, to better hunt for food and find mates, and to socialize and share knowledge.
But how do these species make decisions with so many members? Do they follow a leader or decide as a group?
Researchers at Dalhousie University examined the scientific literature on how both terrestrial and aquatic mammals make decisions and came up with some surprising findings.
Knowing that whales and dolphins live in ocean environments where food is patchy and unpredictable, and where there is little evidence of territoriality as with many land mammals, they expected to find a lot of shared decision-making. Studies show, however, that decisions are often made by leaders in whale and dolphin pods.
Elizabeth Zwamborn, a marine mammal scientist at Dalhousie, led the review that suggests pod members may value the knowledge of older individuals, particularly females, and follow their lead.
Zwamborn is available to discuss the findings and why there is a need for more research on decision-making among whales and dolphins to better understand such things as mass stranding events.
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
- Media opportunity: Majority of people in seven countries believe income differences are too large, that CEOs make outsized salaries compared to unskilled workers: research study
- Media opportunity: Microplastics scooped up from the ocean and transported through the atmosphere to a rural area in Newfoundland during hurricane Larry: international research study
- Media Release‑ Dalhousie helping students become more food secure on Giving Tuesday
- Media opportunity: Researchers find that people who smoke both cigarettes and marijuana are 12 times more likely to have emphysema than non‑smokers
- Media Release ‑ Faculty of Science student Diana Adamo named Dalhousie University’s 94th Rhodes Scholar
- Media Release ‑ Fondation Monbourquette donates $2M to the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security
- Media opportunity: Researchers help wild Atlantic salmon cool off during lengthy river migration by creating custom thermal refuges, as waters warm and populations decline
- Media opportunity: Simple sampling method used by Dalhousie University researchers detects host of viruses lurking in recreational lake, offering an affordable way to monitor for influenza, SARS‑CoV‑2 and other pathogens in freshwater
comments powered by Disqus