Behaviour 2019
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Can human activities change the acoustic behavior of the Guiana dolphin?
Teresa N. Belderrain1, 2, Rodrigo Tardin2, 3, 4, Maria Alice S. Alves3, Israel Maciel2, 5. 1Departamento de Ciências Ambientais, Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Seropédica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 2Laboratório de Bioacústica e Ecologia de Cetáceos, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 3Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 4Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 5Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Evolução, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Noise can cause permanent or temporary changes in marine mammals’ behavior, physiology, and ecology. Sepetiba Bay (SEP), in Southeastern Brazil, suffers an increase in anthropization, which consequently generate an increase in underwater noise. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of anthropization on the acoustic parameters of Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) in SEP. We used 4x4km grids to measure the number of human activities in each area. The acoustic parameters tested – duration (s), minimum frequency (kHz), maximum frequency (kHz), delta frequency (kHz), and presence of whistles (0 or 1) – were considered as response variables and the number of human activities as explanatory variable. A total of five models was run. No significant relation between number of anthropic activities and variation in acoustic parameters was found. It is possible that the individuals are using all areas of the SEP region to foraging, because food  may be a higher priority than avoiding noise stress. As such, their communication can be impaired, and the health and welfare of the Guiana dolphin may be impacted by exposure to noise pollution in SEP.