Behaviour 2019
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Investigating individual variation in bottlenose dolphin maternal style in Shark Bay, Western Australia
Ellen Jacobs1, Taylor Evans1, Vivienne Foroughirad1, Quincy Gibson2, Caitlin Karniski1, Ewa Krzyszczyk1, Janet Mann1. 1Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., , United States; 2University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, United States

Variation in individual maternal style has been established in many primate species but rarely in cetaceans. As a social species with a long period of calf dependence, bottlenose dolphins are an excellent system in which to investigate whether mothers show variation in maternal style. We leverage 30+ years of study of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in Shark Bay, Western Australia to uncover whether individual differences in maternal style are consistent over multiple calves. Using population survey data (n=19587 groups) and focal follow data (n=343 follows) to extract behavioral observations, we examine maternal characteristics (network position, activity budget, maternal care) for 16 mothers of 47 calves < 2 years old. Using GLMMs, we show that individual maternal identity has a significant impact on all measures across multiple calves. We use PCA to explore the correlation structure of measures contributing to maternal style. Our approach indicates that maternal style is an individually consistent multidimensional trait and suggests diverse styles can achieve similar fitness outcomes, providing vital insight into processes shaping early calf development.