Joana Augusto

I’m Joana Augusto, and I’m a PhD student at Dalhousie University with Dr. Hal WhiteheadJoana photo. I’m studying social structure in the long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) that summer off Cape Breton, Canada. Studying social structure basically means studying the relationships of individuals in a population and how they evolve with time and other relationships. Pilot whales form units of, on average, 12 individuals that spend years together. These are thought to be family units, so I’m determining how individuals are related and their sexes. These kinds of units in other species are usually only comprised of females, with males leaving when they reach maturity, but there is some evidence that both female and male pilot whales are staying together in the same units. That would make pilot whale social structure very uncommon.