Breathing synchrony in franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) and Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) in Southern Brazil

Pamela Soledad Actis, Daniel Danilewicz, Marta J. Cremer, Guilherme A. Bortolotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Synchronous breathing may be a useful proxy for studying other, and perhaps more complex, aspects of cetacean behavior. Here we describe a study conducted in Babitonga Bay, southern Brazil, where we investigated the synchrony of breathing in two small populations of franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) and Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis). The bay is affected by different sources of anthropogenic disturbances, such as boat activity and point-source pollution. We assumed breathing synchrony to be the inverse of the time between breathing surfacing displays of dolphins within a swimming pair, which we refer to as lag. The relationship between lag and anthropogenic and animal-related variables was evaluated with generalized additive models. For franciscana dolphins, breathing synchrony was only positively related to the proximity between animals. Breathing synchrony in Guiana dolphins was positively related to both the proximity between animals and to group size, and varied significantly depending on the research boat used. Proximal characteristics (i.e., of individuals or of the group) of these dolphin species seem to be more related to the synchronization in breathing than are the environmental variables assessed here. Results presented expand the current knowledge of these two dolphin species and provide general insights into the breathing synchrony for cetaceans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-789
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Issue number3
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Brazil
  • Behavior
  • Breathing synchrony
  • Dolphin proximity
  • Pantoporia blainvillei
  • Sotalia guianensis


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