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"Part review, part testament to extraordinary dedication, and part call to get involved, Cetacean Societies highlights the achievements of behavioral ecologists inspired by the challenges of cetaceans and committed to the exploration of a new world."—from the preface by Richard Wrangham Long-lived, slow to reproduce, and often hidden beneath the water's surface, whales and dolphins (cetaceans) have remained elusive subjects for scientific study even though they have fascinated humans for centuries. Until recently, much of what we knew about cetaceans came from commercial sources such as whalers and trainers for dolphin acts. Innovative research methods and persistent efforts, however, have begun to penetrate the depths to reveal tantalizing glimpses of the lives of these mammals in their natural habitats. Cetacean Societies presents the first comprehensive synthesis and review of these new studies. Groups of chapters focus on the history of cetacean behavioral research and methodology; state-of-the-art reviews of information on four of the most-studied species: bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales; and summaries of major topics, including group living, male and female reproductive strategies, communication, and conservation drawn from comparative research on a wide range of species. Written by some of the world's leading cetacean scientists, this landmark volume will benefit not just students of cetology but also researchers in other areas of behavioral and conservation ecology as well as anyone with a serious interest in the world of whales and dolphins. Contributors are Robin Baird, Phillip Clapham, Jenny Christal, Richard Connor, Janet Mann, Andrew Read, Randall Reeves, Amy Samuels, Peter Tyack, Linda Weilgart, Hal Whitehead, Randall S. Wells, and Richard Wrangham.
In this book, the editors present a view of the socioecology of primates and cetaceans in a comparative perspective to elucidate the social evolution of highly intellectual mammals in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Despite obvious differences in morphology and eco-physiology, there are many cases of comparable, sometimes strikingly similar patterns of sociobehavioral complexity. A number of long-term field studies have accumulated a substantial amount of data on the life history of various taxa, foraging ecology, social and sexual relationships, demography, and various patterns of behavior: from dynamic fission–fusion to long-term stable societies; from male-bonded to bisexually bonded to matrilineal groups. Primatologists and cetologists have come together to provide four evolutionary themes: (1) social complexity and behavioral plasticity, (2) life history strategies and social evolution, (3) the interface between behavior, demography, and conservation, and (4) selected topics in comparative behavior. These comparisons of taxa that are evolutionarily distant but live in comparable complex sociocognitive environments boost our appreciation of their sophisticated mammalian societies and can advance our understanding of the ecological factors that have shaped their social evolution. This knowledge also facilitates a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges these animals face in the human-dominated world and may improve the capacity and effectiveness of our conservation efforts.
Drawing on their own research as well as scientific literature including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology and neuroscience, two cetacean biologists submerge themselves in the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live.
Wild dolphins are an elusive subject for behavioral studies: How can you "do a Jane Goodall" on animals usually visible only as a glimpse of rolling dorsal fins heading for the horizon? In this unusual book, two of the best-known scientists in the marine-mammal field have assembled an astonishing variety of discoveries about dolphins. The contributions range from a graduate student's first paper to senior scientists summarizing a lifetime of research. The dolphins they have studied range from tiny spinners to majestic pilot whales, from killer whales to the familiar bottle-nosed dolphin. The research tactics vary just as widely: the researchers have followed dolphins in boats, tracked them from shore, dived among hundreds of them (plus a few sharks) in tuna fishing nets. They have used computers and airplanes, genetic analysis and artificial language, and learned to read the life history of a dolphin from the cross-section of a single tooth. Pryor and Norris are successful writers as well as scientists; the book is peppered with entertaining essays, by one or both editors, on the intriguing history of dolphin research. Dolphin Societies not only surveys the most interesting recent research on dolphin behavior but also gives lay readers a fascinating look at the scientific mind at work.
Famed in story as "the great leviathans," sperm whales are truly creatures of extremes. Giants among all whales, they also have the largest brains of any creature on Earth. Males can reach a length of sixty-two feet and can weigh upwards of fifty tons. With this book, Hal Whitehead gives us a clearer picture of the ecology and social life of sperm whales than we have ever had before. Based on almost two decades of field research, Whitehead describes their biology, behavior, and habitat; how they organize their societies; and how their complex lifestyles may have evolved in this unique environment. Among the many fascinating topics he explores is the crucial role that culture plays in the life of the sperm whale, and he traces the consequences of this argument for both evolution and conservation. Finally, drawing on these findings, Whitehead builds a general model of how the ocean environment influences social behavior and cultural evolution among mammals as well as other animals. The definitive portrait of a provocative creature, Sperm Whales will interest animal behaviorists, conservationists, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists as well as marine mammalogists.
The Game of Conservation is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable examination of nature protection around the world. Twentieth-century nature conservation treaties often originated as attempts to regulate the pace of killing rather than as attempts to protect animal habitat. Some were prompted by major breakthroughs in firearm techniques, such as the invention of the elephant gun and grenade harpoons, but agricultural development was at least as important as hunting regulations in determining the fate of migratory species. The treaties had many defects, yet they also served the goal of conservation to good effect, often saving key species from complete extermination and sometimes keeping the population numbers at viable levels. It is because of these treaties that Africa is dotted with large national parks, that North America has an extensive network of bird refuges, and that there are any whales left in the oceans. All of these treaties are still in effect today, and all continue to influence nature-protection efforts around the globe. Drawing on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, Mark Cioc shows that a handful of treaties—all designed to protect the world’s most commercially important migratory species—have largely shaped the contours of global nature conservation over the past century. The scope of the book ranges from the African savannahs and the skies of North America to the frigid waters of the Antarctic.

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