Current research

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SOUND CHARACTERIZATION PROJECT

The elusive nature of river dolphins makes them difficult to study visually. However, acoustic observations can complement visual observations. Most cetacean species (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) produce sounds that are generally categorized as echolocation clicks and communication signals. These sounds are produced by cetaceans for a variety of purposes, such as to orientate themselves, to locate food, and to communicate with conspecifics.

The aim of the current work is to describe these sounds, which is a topic thus far unstudied. In order to do so, we use SoundTrap underwater sound recorders (made available by Ocean Instruments). Apart from the fact that studying these sounds will provide information about sound structure and repertoire, it will also help to better understand their behaviour, and to draw a comparison between the sound characteristics of Bolivian river dolphins and other species of river dolphins. Furthermore, acoustic monitoring is useful for complementing future visual surveys, which are used to estimate abundance and distribution and to assess temporal and spatial changes.