Recent News

Australian Premiere

The Dolphins of Shark Bay premiered to Australian audiences on Sunday, June 26th, 2011! If you missed the premiere you can watch online at ABC1!

2011 Field Season

The 2011 field season has begun! Researchers Eric Patterson, Kipp Searles, and Jenny Smith are currently in Shark Bay and will be joined by Janet Mann in late June. Look for updates from the field soon!


Eight students and researchers from Georgetown University presented at the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium in Conway, South Carolina from April 1st-3rd. Undergraduate Psychology Honors student Kristen Hovis received an award for Best Student Poster for her work entitled, "Quantifying the Rate of Fission-Fusion."

The titles and authors on the other presentations are listed below. * denotes oral presentation.

*Snapshot or movie: How sampling methods bias dolphin social network metrics.
Stanton, M., Mann, J., Gibson, Q., Sargeant, B., Bejder, L. & Singh, L.

Predation risk and birth seasonality in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.
Cotter, A. & Mann, J.

A comparison of observational sampling methods for measuring activity budgets of wild dolphins.
Gallagher, L., Mann, J., Foroughirad, V. & Waston-Capps, J.

Does provisioning affect calf mortality and activity budgets in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in Shark Bay, Australia?
Foroughirad, V. & Mann, J.

Going with the flow?: The relationship between sponge foraging dolphins (Tursiops sp.) and tidal current.
Barnao, J., Patterson, E., Sargeant, B. & Mann, J.

*The Lipid and Fatty Acid Composition of Cetacean Blow.
Patterson, E., Teter, B., Krzyszczyk, E., Hunter, S., Ginsburg, A. & Mann, J.

Synchrony and Development in Bottlenose Dolphins.
Sidhu, N. & Mann, J.

Quantifying the Rate of Fission-Fusion.
Hovis, K., Stanton, M., Mann, J. & Ryan, R.

Best Undergraduate Poster Award Winner Kristen Hovis

"Dolphins of Shark Bay" Documentary to Premiere in the USA!

The Dolphins of Shark Bay will premiere to American audiences on Sunday, April 10th at 7pm ET/PT on Animal Planet as part of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Welcome Sonic!

Give a warm welcome to our newest arrival- Sonic! Sonic was born on November 17th, 2010 and is Surprise's sixth calf. Sonic is named after a new acoustic research project in which the new calf will hopefully help us learn how young dolphins learn to echolocate- stay tuned!

Film Premiere!

The new BBC film "The Dolphins of Shark Bay" is scheduled to air in the UK on November 3 at 8pm on BBC Two! Rupert Penry-Jones, star of the show 'Spooks,' is the narrator. The film will then air around the globe throughout 2011 and is expected to air in the US in late 2011. The documentary includes unusual footage of a newborn dolphin's life including Samu's early attempts at catching fish. The intricacies and challenges of dolphin family life are highlighted in this beautifully shot film.

New PNAS Paper

A new study by Shark Bay researchers, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that female calving success is better explained by their social bonds than their genes. The study also looks at the interaction between social and genetic factors and finds that the interaction of the two is the most powerful way to explain why some dolphin females are successful at raising calves and why others are not. Who your friends or associates are matters, but it matters even more between non-relatives than relatives. This is the first animal study to examine the interaction of genetic and social impacts on reproduction in a wild population. Click here to see the full study:

September 2010 Updates


Ewa Krzyszczyk and her team have now arrived in Monkey Mia to finish out the year.

The BBC was successful in getting excellent footage of Puck’s growing family, so look for the film to come out in November!


Puck's new calf, Samu, is still doing well, but Kiya's new calf, Khamun, suddenly disappeared in mid-August. Kiya became very popular with the males a month afterwards. She will likely become pregnant and calve in 2011. Surprise is still looking heavily pregnant and should be due soon!


Ewa, Janet Mann, and Celine Frère are presenting their latest research at the 13th International Behavioral Ecology Congress in Perth, Australia, at the end of September.

Visit Our Store!

Our online store is officially open, where you can buy t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc. and all proceeds go to support our long-term research!

August 2010 Updates


The 2010 field season began in March when Janet Mann and Eric Patterson arrived in Monkey Mia. They met the Big Wave film crew there to finish filming for the upcoming BBC Natural World documentary on the Dolphins of Shark Bay.

Filming finished in May and Janet returned to DC. Eric stayed in Shark Bay through August collecting more data for his PhD project on the social transmission of foraging behaviors. Ewa Krzyszczyk and her team will arrive in Monkey Mia in September to finish out the year.


During the filming, we spent a lot of time with the Puck family and are happy to report that everyone is doing well.

Puck's new calf, Samu, is male and Kiya's new calf, Khamun, is female! They are both healthy and are becoming excellent hunters.

We are expecting the beachies' numbers to continue to grow as both Surprise and her daughter, Shock, appear to be pregnant and due sometime in the austral spring!


Janet Mann and Maggie Stanton returned from Riva del Garda, Italy where they presented at Sunbelt XXX, a Social Network Analysis conference (June-July).

Maggie and Janet presented papers on calf social networks and the development of tool-use in dolphins at the annual Animal Behavior Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia (August).

Celine Frère, Janet, Ewa, and Eric are excited about the new paper featuring their blow sampling technique that was just published in PloS ONE!