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Effects of anthropogenic noise on the acoustic behaviour of Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden, 1864) in Pipa, North-eastern Brazil

  • Dalila T. Leão Martins (a1), Marcos R. Rossi-Santos (a1) (a2) and Flávio José De Lima Silva (a1) (a3)


This study investigated the emission of subaquatic noise from recreational tourism motorboats, schooners and a sea-bottom mounted water pump. Analyses demonstrated alterations in several whistle (IF: t = 2.42, P = 0.015; FF: t = −2.22, P = 0.025) and calls patterns (MIF: t = −3.13, P = 0.001; MAF: t = −3.49, P = 0.0005; FD: t = −2.21, P = 0.027; D: t = 2.89, P = 0.004), caused primarily by motorboats. Duration of clicks was also modified (D: t = −3.85, P = 0.0001), mainly by the water pump. The frequency range of all noises (0.43–35.8 kHz) overlaps that used by dolphins (1–48 kHz), causing sound emissions changes, with a considerable increase in number of whistles and a reduction in clicks trains. These changes may be a strategy developed by these dolphins to overcome the noise band. Mitigation measures, such as boating regulations and environmental education for the local community, boaters and tourists are needed to conserve the species. The Guiana dolphin population is apparently already suffering, evidenced by diminished residence time and reduced number of individuals entering the inlet during the presence of pleasure craft.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: D.T. Leão Martins, Programa de Pós Graduação em Psicobiologia, Departamento de Fisiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Campus Universitário Lagoa Nova, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil email:


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Effects of anthropogenic noise on the acoustic behaviour of Sotalia guianensis (Van Bénéden, 1864) in Pipa, North-eastern Brazil

  • Dalila T. Leão Martins (a1), Marcos R. Rossi-Santos (a1) (a2) and Flávio José De Lima Silva (a1) (a3)


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