With the use of new non-invasive, underwater cameras, dolphins have been recorded doing rarely-seen activities such as mother-calf interaction, playing with kelp, and intimate social behaviors like flipper-rubbing. By observing their behaviors, researchers are able to learn about how these animals act in their natural environment without any influence on their behavior, as well as seeing things from their perspective and the challenges they face in their habitat.
Dolphins are intelligent marine mammals and are known for their playfulness. Many leap out, spy-hop (rise vertically out of the water) and follow boats and ships (they conserve energy by ‘bow-riding’). You’ve probably seen a lot of synchronized movements with each another. They’re immensely social, living in groups big and small. Isn’t it fascinating to be able to see what these incredible mammals do when no one’s watching?
The cameras were attached via suction cups to eight dolphins, and footage was captured off the coast of New Zealand from December 2015 to January 2016. A research team of experts from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and the University of Alaska Southeast analyzed more than 535 minutes of footage. Dr Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska from the University of Sydney’s School of Veterinary Science and Charles Perkins Centre explained that “there were no wildlife crews, no invasive underwater housings — and the dolphins remained largely unaffected by our cameras. This research opens up a whole new approach for capturing wild animal behavior, which will ultimately help us to not only advance conservation efforts but also come closer to understanding wild predators’ and human nutrition too.”
Dolphin specialist Heidi Pearson, Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Southeast, has explained that, “…In marine areas subjected to high degrees of human disturbance such as shipping or coastal development, the ability to collect data from the animal’s perspective will be critical in understanding how and to what extent these stressors affect an animal’s ability to feed, mate, and raise young.”
The success of the non-invasive camera could open new doors to filming sea creatures, aiding conservation and rehabilitation efforts and giving researchers unprecedented insight into wild dolphins’ prey and habitats. Could this be the key to unlocking the mysterious marine world?
You can watch the video here. Video Credit: The University of Sydney
Source: Science Daily