Meet the Dolphin Society

Acrobatic bottlenose dolphin in the waters of Santa Monica Bay, California. Photograph courtesy of Maddalena Bearzi.

A Glance Into the Lives of our Ocean Friends

All around me I see dolphins. I feel as though I could be part of a family, somehow different from my terrestrial one. At the bow of my boat, there’s a group of exuberant bottlenose teenagers playing amongst themselves. Some bear strings of kelp on the end of their snouts while others frolic with small pieces of plastic or jellyfish. We are all following one of those “freeways” called fronts, which form when water masses of different temperature meet in the ocean.

Most dolphins are social animals and, like great apes and humans, derive more advantages than disadvantages from living in a group. In schools, a dolphin can attain protection from predators, ease of finding food and a convenient place to meet fertile sexual partners.

Bottlenose dolphins are the most well-known and studied cetaceans. They spend their lives in what are known as fission-fusion societies. “Fission” means that the members of the local breeding population are continually splitting up and going their separate ways. And “fusion” means they always come back. A fission-fusion society may consist of several to many schools, the composition of which may be constantly changing on a daily or even —> Read More Here


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