Capstone Title

Social Interactions Between Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) in Belize

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Caryn Self-Sullivan

Second Advisor

James Thomas

Third Advisor

Nicholas Funicelli


Interspecific interactions are among the most common relationships organisms will experience in a lifetime. Social interspecific interactions are investigated less frequently, especially in aquatic habitats. This research provides examples of interspecific interactions across a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic organisms with focus on social interspecific interactions within marine mammal taxa. This research will also emphasize social interspecific interaction between bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Antillean manatee (Trichachus manatus manatus). Published studies between these two species are scarce, but studies on similar taxa suggest that interactions between delphinids and sirenians are incidental, or even agonistic. Anecdotal research suggests that Antillean manatee have been observed occasionally interacting socially with coastal bottlenose dolphin in the Drowned Cayes. The review documents social behavior observed between manatees and dolphins in the Drowned Cayes, additionally it should serve as the first to document altruistic behavior between the two species.

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