Effects of Illness, Associated Medicines, age and Time of Day on Diurnal and Nocturnal Behavior of Captive Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
IAAAM Archive
Rachel Thames1; Jennifer Woodford1; Rhonda Patterson1; Frank Moore1; Stan Kuczaj2; M.A. Solangi3
1Department of Biological Sciences; 2Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS; 3Marine Life Oceanarium, Gulfport, MS


Behavioral observations were taken from nine captive bottlenose dolphins over an 8-week period to estimate their activity budgets over a 24-hour day. Instantaneous samples on individual dolphins were taken every five minutes throughout the course of a day. Time of day, age, illness and associated medicines were expected to influence behavior. Observed behaviors were placed into one of five categories: swim high, swim low, play high, play low and rest. Preliminary data analyses suggest that dolphin behavior is influenced by age and time of day. Effects of illness and associated medicines are currently being analyzed to determine possible relations between medication and behavior.

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Rachel Thames

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