Bottlenose dolphins

Pilot whales

Research Interests

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at Georgetown University. I am generally interested in how ecology and evolution shape social behavior in marine mammals. My dissertation research examined how genetic and environmental factors interact to produce complex social behavior in bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia. I am a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and collaborate with the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia on the genetics project through the NSF GROW program. I am additionally involved in research on sociogenetic structure in pilot whales in North Carolina.

Before my PhD at Duke I received a B.Sc. degree in Biology at Georgetown University, completing a thesis investigating the factors that contribute to variation in maternal care in bottlenose dolphins. I subsequently worked as a Research Associate for the Shark Bay Dolphin Project, conducting field work and maintaining the project’s shared database.

Georgetown Alumni - Bottle-nose Dolphin Research


Foroughirad, V., Levengood, A.L., Mann, J., Frere, C.H. (2019). Quality and quantity of genetic relatedness data affect the analysis of social structure. Molecular Ecology Resources. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.13028

Miketa, M., Patterson, EM., Krzyszczyk, E., Foroughirad, V., Mann, J. 2018. Calf age and sex affects maternal diving behavior in Shark Bay bottlenose dolphins. Animal Behaviour. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.12.023

Strickland, K., Levengood, A., Foroughirad, V., Mann, J., Krzyszczyk, E., Frere. CH. 2017. A framework for the identification of long-term social avoidance in longitudinal datasets. Royal Society Open Science. 4(8) doi: 10.1098/rsos.170641

Karniski, C.B., Patterson, E.M., Kryzyszcyk, E., Foroughirad, V., Stanton, M.A. & J. Mann. 2014. A comparison of survey and focal follow methods for estimating individual activity budgets of cetaceans. Marine Mammal Science. doi: 10.1111/mms.12198

Foroughirad, V. & J. Mann. 2013. Long-term impacts of fish provisioning on the behavior and survival of wild bottlenose dolphins. Biological Conservation 160, 242-249. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.01.001