Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Stanley Kuczaj

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

David Echevarria

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research


Whistle use pre- and post-partum in an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) mother-calf dyad has rarely been studied. The current study is the first to investigate signature whistle production by the mother pre- and post-partum, as well as whistle use by other members of the social group during calf development, and how exposure to these whistles may affect the calf’s vocal repertoire. Findings showed that the mother increased her rates both pre- and post-delivery, while other group members produced their whistles at decreased rates until the calf’s second week of life. After the calf’s second week, whistle rates of the other members began to increase, while the mother’s production began to decrease. A discriminate analysis was used to determine the presence of adult contours in the calf’s repertoire. While adult contour imitation occurred in the calf’s whistle use, no favored whistle type appeared. In addition to adult contour imitations, the calf produced several other whistle types.