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UABCS Marine Sciences explains how dolphins communicate

La Paz, Baja California Sur. Dolphins, like other animals, use sound as their main form of communication, since their vision is very limited in the water. Generally, they have the ability to produce two types of sound: clicking and whistling.

According to Mario Marquez Segovia, a master’s student in marine and coastal sciences at the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, the first pulses are pulses of short duration and high frequencies (up to 130 kHz) that we humans cannot perceive. They use echolocation to detect their surroundings and search for food.

When a dolphin peck, it travels through the water until it bounces off some object and is greeted by the dolphin again. The sound passes through the ear and then reaches the brain where the signal is interpreted, allowing it to learn different aspects of the subject of interest, such as its distance and its size.

On the other hand, the university student points out that whistles are sounds mainly used by dolphins when they communicate with each other; They also coordinate hunting movements and facilitate group cohesion.

“They are more complex than clicks, because they can last several seconds and present a modulated frequency. To human ears, this connection sounds like a person’s whistle, which is why it has that name.”

He noted that there is a type of whistle known as a “signature whistle” which serves as a name for these beings, as each individual has a different name and helps them identify themselves among the rest of the group.

Although it is not known if all dolphin species have this type of whistling, he noted that, at least, bottlenose dolphins and bottlenose dolphins are known to have this characteristic.

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Finally, Marquis of Segovia pointed out that since dolphins spend most of their time underwater, using acoustics as a tool to study them allows us to discover ecological and behavioral aspects that we cannot study from the surface, and from which to make proposals for the management and conservation of these animals.