Date: February 21, 2017
Source: University of Sydney
A world-first study testing new underwater cameras on wild dolphins has given researchers the best view yet into their hidden marine world.
A research team including experts from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and the University of Alaska Southeast trialled the custom-made non-invasive cameras to capture and analyse more than 535 minutes of such rarely-seen activities as mother-calf interaction, playing with kelp, and intimate social behaviours like flipper-rubbing. The results are published in the latest Marine Biology.
"For the first time, these cameras have given us the opportunity to see what dolphins do on their own terms," said Dr Gabriel Machovsky-Capuska from the University of Sydney's School of Veterinary Science and Charles Perkins Centre.
"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 behaviour, which will ultimately help us to not only advance conservation efforts but also come closer to understanding wild predators' and human nutrition too."