Background & Aims

Echolocation is an active sensory system found in dolphins and bats. It gives an acoustic representation of the surroundings by the animal emitting clicks, detecting and analyzing echoes. By adjusting the properties of the emitted sounds, the animal can alter the type of obtained information.

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are the most well-studied odontocete species concerning all aspects of sound production, reception, and biosonar performance in stationary setups.

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Studying how animals exploit and experience the environment and soundscape while in motion with a simplified echolocation task, allows a full understanding of the processes behind target discrimination capabilities. To understand the physiological mechanisms behind odontocete sonar, we need to study their hearing, sound production and behavior during realistic target detection trials for potential applications.

Our approach is to study freely moving animals that can use their dynamic sound production and hearing abilities, along with head and body movements, to detect and classify objects.

Also to compare the differences and similarities between porpoises and dolphins in their biosonar behaviour, showing that dolphins as broadband echolocators have an active and acute control over their sonar signals.