Faculty & Staff

Laela S. Sayigh, Research Associate Professor

Ph.D., Biological Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, 1992
B.A., Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1985

My research interests are in animal communication, behavior and ecology. My research has focused primarily on the development and functions of signature whistles in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus. Much of this work is carried out in Sarasota, Florida, as part of an ongoing long-term study of a resident community of free-ranging dolphins. Work in my lab also focuses on the bottlenose dolphins in our local waters. Boat-based photo-identification surveys have been carried out one or more times per week since 1995, primarily by UNCW graduate and undergraduate students. These data are now being used to answer questions regarding movement patterns, residency, habitat use and social structure of dolphins in the Wilmington area. This work contributes to a larger scale effort to understand stock structure of bottlenose dolphins along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Jones, G., and L. Sayigh. 2002. Geographic variation in rates of vocal production of free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. Marine Mammal Science. 18: 374-393.

Sayigh, L. S. 2002. Signature whistles. In Encyclopedia of marine mammals, ed. B. Wursig and W. Perrin. Academic Press: San Diego, pp. 1081-1083.

Allen, M., A. Read, J. Gaudet, and L. Sayigh. 2001. Fine scale habitat selection of foraging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) near Clearwater, Florida. Marine Ecology Progress Series 222: 253-264.

Sayigh, L. S., P. L. Tyack, R. S. Wells, A. Solow, M. Scott, and A. B. Irvine. 1999. Individual recognition in wild bottlenose dolphins: a field test using playback experiments. Animal Behavior 57:41-50.

Tyack, P. L. and L. S. Sayigh. 1997. Vocal learning in cetaceans. In Social Influences on Vocal Development, ed. C. Snowdon and M. Hausberger, pp.208-233. Cambridge University Press.

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