Biology and Ecology of Dolphins

Prepare and submit a term paper on Biology and Ecology of Dolphins. Your paper should be a minimum of 1500 words in length. Dolphins face a multitude of threats in the wild. These threats are both natural as well as those relating to man. Of all threats to dolphins, the largest percentage of these threats is directly related to humans and their activities in the oceans. Human activity in oceans has contributed to the extinction of quite a number of dolphin species (Allison & Cross, 2006). Research suggests that human activity is responsible for up to 95% of all dolphin deaths with natural treats contributing to only 5%. The demand from people wanting to see dolphins causes a lot more dolphin captures leading to higher and higher numbers of dolphins in captivity that is in itself a threat to dolphin numbers in the wild.Conservation of dolphins like any other animal is very significant for their overall survival. It is only fitting that humans being the number one threat to dolphins be saddled with the largest responsibility for conservation. There is a maximum hope for a total change in a large number of deaths of dolphins through the various conservation efforts in place. Dolphin numbers are beginning to see an increase as a result of these efforts (Carwardine, 2002).According to King, J. (2001). Dolphins are highly social animals having a basic social unit called a pod. They manipulate their social environment by cooperating and forming alliances. Dolphins are dependent upon one another when defending themselves, hunting, and even in mating. These pods are not constant however since dolphins will join pods leave and often rejoin in differing combinations (Taylor, & Dunstone, 1996). Sometimes pods will join other pods to form larger pods called herds. Pods size is often determined by openness and depth as well as food availability. There have been reported cases of instances in deep water with high food availability where super pods have been witnessed reaching up to 1000 dolphins and stretching over a mile in length. Shallower areas witness smaller pod formations of up to 20 dolphins. Pod composition is highly based on&nbsp.age, sex, and reproductive status.There are various types of pods. One type of pod consists of mother dolphins and calves, such maternity pads are referred to as nurseries. They may include a number of elderly dolphins in protection within the pods. Babysitting within these pods is not uncommon and may in some instances members from a different species. Juvenile pods will often consist of female and males that have left the nurseries but are yet to achieve sexual maturity (Claybourne, 2013). It is here that they learn acceptable dolphin behavior. Upon maturity, females will typically go back to their mother pods to raise their own offspring. Male that have acquired sexual maturity will form pair-bonds and go off in search of mates. These pair-bonds are often lifelong. Adult males will rarely associate with juveniles.

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