If you’re trying to talk to your friend at a loud concert, your first instinct might be to raise your voice.
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Dolphins do something similar: When swimming in loud environments, they whistle louder and more frequently to communicate with their peers, according to a new study.
Human activities like drilling and shipping can cause a significant amount of noise pollution in wild dolphin habitats.
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Dolphins are social creatures that hunt and swim in groups and use their calls to communicate.
Even in captivity, whistling across the water can help them carry out cooperative tasks.
For the study, researchers trained two captive dolphins, Delta and Reese, to press buttons on opposite sides of a lagoon at the same time.
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During trials with no added background noise, Delta and Reese were able to complete the task 85 percent of the time.
Sorensen et. al, Current Biology
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But loud levels of noise still proved hard to cut through, demonstrating that disruptive, human-made sounds could have a detrimental effect on animal communication and cooperation.