Navigation Links
Successful mothers get help from their friends: Dolphin study
Date:11/1/2010

Female dolphins who have help from their female friends are far more successful as mothers than those without such help, according to a landmark new study.

Previous research into reproductive success in animal populations has had mixed findings: some studies point to the benefits of inherited genetic characteristics, while others show the benefits of social effects, such as having an honorary aunt or uncle or other unrelated helpers.

The new study is the first to look at the effects of these factors together in a wild animal population and has shown that social and genetic effects are both important for reproduction.

The finding, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was only possible thanks to 25 years of field observations by an international team of behavioural researchers on the dolphin population at Shark Bay, in Western Australia, plus more than a decade of genetic samples taken by a team led by Dr Bill Sherwin of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Dr Michael Kruetzen of the University of Zurich.

"Surprisingly, the genetic and social effects on reproduction have never been studied together in natural populations," says Dr Sherwin. "One of my doctoral students, Celine Frere, who led the latest study, realised that we could do so by using the long-term observations about which females were associating with each other, and putting that together with what we knew about their genetic relationships."

Dr Frere found that a female's calving success is boosted either by social association with other females that had high calving success, or by the female having relatives who are good at calving.

"Not only that, but the social and genetic effects interact in an intriguing way," says Dr Sherwin. "Having successful sisters, aunts and mothers around certainly boosts a female's calving success. But the benefits of social associates were more important for female pairs who were less genetically related."

Dr Frere, who is now at the University of Queensland, says it is still unclear why female dolphins need such help to be more successful mothers: "Dolphins in this population are attacked by sharks, so protection by other females may help reproduction," she says. "But the females may need protection against their own species as well, especially when they are younger."

In another study published earlier this year, the team showed that younger females are susceptible to inbred matings, which reduce their reproductive output because such calves are slower to wean.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bob Beale
bbeale@unsw.edu.au
61-411-705-435
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Salk researchers successfully reprogram keratinocytes attached to a single hair
2. In troubled economic times, BioSquare 2009 successfully serves as business and innovation starter
3. Funxional successfully completes initial clinical trial of FX125L, an anti-inflammatory drug with a novel mechanism of action
4. McGill/JGH researchers successfully reverse multiple sclerosis in animals
5. UOG scientists successfully compete for research grants
6. InVitria Successfully Completes Beta Testing and Announces Commercial Launch of Optiferrin for Mammalian Cell Culture
7. Rare genetic disease successfully reversed using stem cell transplantation
8. New stroke therapy successful in rats
9. MSU researcher: Obesity significantly cuts odds of successful pregnancy
10. Successful stem cell therapy for treatment of eye disease
11. Pathological gambling may be successfully treated with medications for substance addiction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/12/2016)... May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , a ... the overview results from the Q1 wave of its ... wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where they ... a health insurance company. "We were surprised ... says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , ... the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was ... 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings ... flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... PHILADELPHIA , June 27, 2016  Liquid ... today announced the funding of a Sponsored Research ... study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  ... changes in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes ... therapies. These data will then be employed to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TOKYO , June 24, 2016  Regular discussions on ... to take place between the two entities said Poloz. ... in Ottawa , he pointed to the ... and the federal government. ... Poloz said, "Both institutions have common economic goals, why not ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the ... such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that ... the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced ... this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: