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Sample records for beluga whale delphinapterus

  1. Passive acoustic monitoring of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lammers, Marc O; Castellote, Manuel; Small, Robert J; Atkinson, Shannon; Jenniges, Justin; Rosinski, Anne; Oswald, Julie N; Garner, Chris

    2013-09-01

    The endangered beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) population in Cook Inlet, AK faces threats from a variety of anthropogenic factors, including coastal development, oil and gas exploration, vessel traffic, and military activities. To address existing gaps in understanding about the occurrence of belugas in Cook Inlet, a project was developed to use passive acoustic monitoring to document the year-round distribution of belugas, as well as killer whales (Orcinus orca), which prey on belugas. Beginning in June 2009, ten moorings were deployed throughout the Inlet and refurbished every two to eight months. Despite challenging conditions consisting of strong tidal currents carrying debris and seasonal ice cover, 83% of mooring deployments were successfully recovered. Noise from water flow, vessel traffic, and/or industrial activities was present at several sites, potentially masking some signals. However, belugas were successfully detected at multiple locations. Detections were relatively common in the upper inlet and less common or absent at middle and lower inlet locations. Killer whale signals were also recorded. Some seasonal variability in the occurrence of both belugas and killer whales was evident.

  2. True hermaphroditism in a St. Lawrence beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Guise, S; Lagacé, A; Béland, P

    1994-04-01

    A hermaphrodite beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) was found in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Québec, Canada. This animal had two testicles, two separate ovaries, and the complete ducts of each sex; cervix, vagina and vulva were absent. Mature spermatozoa were found in the lumen of seminiferous tubules in the testicles, and numerous involuted corpora lutea were recognized in the ovaries. This represents the first case of true hermaphroditism in a cetacean, and is the fourth hermaphrodite mammal with two testicles and two separate ovaries.

  3. Tumors in St. Lawrence beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Guise, S; Lagacé, A; Béland, P

    1994-07-01

    A population of 450-500 belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) resides in the polluted estuary of the St. Lawrence River. Stranded carcasses of this endangered population were recovered and necropsied. High concentrations of organochlorines, heavy metals, and benzo-a-pyrene exposure were demonstrated in tissues of these whales. Between 1988 and 1990, 21 tumors were found in 12 out of 24 carcasses. Among these tumors, six were malignant and 15 were benign. The animals were between 1.5 and > 29 years of age, and the ages of animals with and without tumors did not differ when two juvenile animals (1.5 and 3.5 years of age) were excluded. Seven other neoplasms had been reported previously in six out of 21 well-preserved carcasses examined in the same laboratory between 1982 and 1987. Overall, 28 of the 75 confirmed tumors reported so far in cetaceans (37%) were from this small population of beluga whales in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Such a high prevalence of tumors would suggest an influence of contaminants through a direct carcinogenic effect and/or a decreased resistance to the development of tumors in this population.

  4. Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) vocalizations and call classification from the eastern Beaufort Sea population

    OpenAIRE

    2015-01-01

    Funding was provided by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management under InterAgency Agreement M09PG00016. E.C.G. was supported by a National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) Postdoctoral Fellowship. Beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, have a graded call system; call types exist on a continuum making classification challenging. A description of vocalizations from the eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population during its spring migration are presented here, using both a non-parametr...

  5. Possible mechanisms of action of environmental contaminants on St. Lawrence beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    OpenAIRE

    de Guise, S.; Martineau, D.; Béland, P; Fournier, M.

    1995-01-01

    A small isolated population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) that are highly contaminated by pollutants, mostly of industrial origin, resides in the St. Lawrence estuary, Québec, Canada. Overhunting in the first half of the century was the probable cause for this population to dwindle from several thousand animals to the current estimate of 500. The failure of the population to recover might be due to contamination by organochlorine compounds, which are known to lead to reproductive f...

  6. Dermatophilus-like infection in beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, from the St. Lawrence estuary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikaelian, I; Lapointe, J M; Labelle, P; Higgins, R; Paradis, M; Martineau, D

    2001-02-01

    Six beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) found dead on the shores of the St. Lawrence estuary had multiple slightly depressed greyish round areas randomly distributed over the whole body. Histologically, the surface of these areas was covered with a thick layer of Dermatophilus-like organisms which invaded the stratum corneum. The underlying stratum spinosum had marked spongiosis and vacuolar degeneration. Minimal neutrophilic infiltration was present within the underlying dermal papillae. To the authors' knowledge, dermatophilosis in cetaceans has not been reported previously.

  7. Matriarchal genetic population structure of North American beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas (Cetacea: Monodontidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown Gladden, J G; Ferguson, M M; Clayton, J W

    1997-11-01

    The North American beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas population has been divided into a number of putative geographical stocks based upon migration routes and areas of summer concentration. Nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region were used to assess whether these geographical stocks are genetically distinct. Beluga whale samples from 25 sites were collected primarily from aboriginal subsistence hunts across North America from 1984 to 1994. Thirty-nine mtDNA haplotypes were identified in 628 beluga samples. No differences were found in the distribution of haplotypes between male and female beluga whales at any sampling site. These haplotypes segregated into two distinct assemblages in both a haplotype network and a neighbour-joining tree. The haplotype assemblages and a geographically disjunct distribution that suggests postglacial recolonization of the North American Arctic from two different refugia. An analysis of molecular variance based on haplotype relationships and frequency indicated genetic heterogeneity among beluga whale summering groups (P St Lawrence River and the western or central Arctic. The results of this study show a high degree of philopatry to specific summering areas by this highly mobile animal.

  8. Possible mechanisms of action of environmental contaminants on St. Lawrence beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Guise, S; Martineau, D; Béland, P; Fournier, M

    1995-05-01

    A small isolated population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) that are highly contaminated by pollutants, mostly of industrial origin, resides in the St. Lawrence estuary, Québec, Canada. Overhunting in the first half of the century was the probable cause for this population to dwindle from several thousand animals to the current estimate of 500. The failure of the population to recover might be due to contamination by organochlorine compounds, which are known to lead to reproductive failure and immunosuppression in domestic and laboratory animals and seals. Functional and morphological changes have been demonstrated in thyroid gland and adrenal cortex in many species exposed to organochlorinated compounds, including seals. Morphological lesions, although different, were also found in belugas. Functional evaluation of thyroid and adrenal glands of contaminated (St. Lawrence) versus much less contaminated (Arctic) belugas is currently under way. Necropsy of St. Lawrence belugas showed numerous severe and disseminated infections with rather mildly pathogenic bacteria, which suggests immunosuppression. Organochlorine compounds and other contaminants found in beluga whales cause immunosuppression in a variety of animal species including seals. Thirty-seven percent of all the tumors reported in cetaceans were observed in St. Lawrence beluga whales. This could be explained by two different mechanisms: high exposure to environmental carcinogens and suppression of immunosurveillance against tumors. Overall, St. Lawrence belugas might well represent the risk associated with long-term exposure to pollutants present in their environment and might be a good model to predict health problems that could emerge in highly exposed human populations over time.

  9. PCBs are associated with altered gene transcript profiles in arctic Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noël, Marie; Loseto, Lisa L; Helbing, Caren C; Veldhoen, Nik; Dangerfield, Neil J; Ross, Peter S

    2014-01-01

    High trophic level arctic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are exposed to persistent organic pollutants (POP) originating primarily from southern latitudes. We collected samples from 43 male beluga harvested by Inuvialuit hunters (2008-2010) in the Beaufort Sea to evaluate the effects of POPs on the levels of 13 health-related gene transcripts using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Consistent with their role in detoxification, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) (r(2) = 0.18, p = 0.045 for 2008 and 2009) and cytochrome P450 1A1 (Cyp1a1) (r(2) = 0.20, p development. Factor 1 explained 56% of gene profiles, with these latter 11 gene transcripts displaying greater abundance in years coinciding with periods of low sea ice extent (2008 and 2010). δ(13)C results suggested a shift in feeding ecology and/or change in condition of these ice edge-associated beluga whales during these two years. While this provides insight into the legacy of PCBs in a remote environment, the possible impacts of a changing ice climate on the health of beluga underscores the need for long-term studies.

  10. Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) vocalizations and call classification from the eastern Beaufort Sea population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garland, Ellen C; Castellote, Manuel; Berchok, Catherine L

    2015-06-01

    Beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, have a graded call system; call types exist on a continuum making classification challenging. A description of vocalizations from the eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population during its spring migration are presented here, using both a non-parametric classification tree analysis (CART), and a Random Forest analysis. Twelve frequency and duration measurements were made on 1019 calls recorded over 14 days off Icy Cape, Alaska, resulting in 34 identifiable call types with 83% agreement in classification for both CART and Random Forest analyses. This high level of agreement in classification, with an initial subjective classification of calls into 36 categories, demonstrates that the methods applied here provide a quantitative analysis of a graded call dataset. Further, as calls cannot be attributed to individuals using single sensor passive acoustic monitoring efforts, these methods provide a comprehensive analysis of data where the influence of pseudo-replication of calls from individuals is unknown. This study is the first to describe the vocal repertoire of a beluga population using a robust and repeatable methodology. A baseline eastern Beaufort Sea beluga population repertoire is presented here, against which the call repertoire of other seasonally sympatric Alaskan beluga populations can be compared.

  11. Acoustic development of a neonatal beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) at the John G. Shedd Aquarium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carneiro, Brooke Elizabeth

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were one of the first marine mammals to be in captivity and currently, nine zoological institutions in North America house belugas (Robeck et al., 2005). Despite their accessibility within these facilities, very little research has been done on the beluga whale that is related to their acoustic development or communication sounds. A male beluga calf named "Nunavik" was born at the John G. Shedd Aquarium on 14 December 2009, which provided an opportunity to examine the ontogeny of underwater sounds by a neonatal beluga from the birth throughout the first year of life. The objectives of the study were to: 1) collect underwater sound recordings of the beluga pod prior to the birth of the calf, 2) collect underwater sound recordings of the neonate during the first year of life, 3) document when and what types of sounds were produced by the calf, 4) compare sounds produced by the calf during agonistic and non-agonistic interactions, and 5) compare the acoustic features of sounds produced by the calf to sounds from the mother, a male beluga calf born at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2002, and other belugas at the John G. Shedd Aquarium. The first recordings of the beluga calf took place six hours following the birth for a two hour period. Subsequent recordings were made daily for one hour for the first two weeks of the calf's life and then twice per week until the calf was about six months of age. Later recordings were done less frequently; about once every other week, with no recordings during a 2-month period due to equipment failure. In total, sixty hours of underwater recordings of the belugas were collected from 26 September 2009 to 27 December 2010. Sounds were audibly and visually examined using Raven Pro version 1.4, a real-time sound analysis software application (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology), and categorized into three categories (tones, noise, and noise with tones) based on the characteristics of underwater sounds from

  12. Sequence variation at the major histocompatibility complex locus DQ beta in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, B W; Malik, S; White, B N

    1995-07-01

    Genetic variation at the Major Histocompatibility Complex locus DQ beta was analyzed in 233 beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from seven populations: St. Lawrence Estuary, eastern Beaufort Sea, eastern Chukchi Sea, western Hudson Bay, eastern Hudson Bay, southeastern Baffin Island, and High Arctic and in 12 narwhals (Monodon monoceros) sympatric with the High Arctic beluga population. Variation was assessed by amplification of the exon coding for the peptide binding region via the polymerase chain reaction, followed by either cloning and DNA sequencing or single-stranded conformation polymorphism analysis. Five alleles were found across the beluga populations and one in the narwhal. Pairwise comparisons of these alleles showed a 5:1 ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions per site leading to eight amino acid differences, five of which were nonconservative substitutions, centered around positions previously shown to be important for peptide binding. Although the amount of allelic variation is low when compared with terrestrial mammals, the nature of the substitutions in the peptide binding sites indicates an important role for the DQ beta locus in the cellular immune response of beluga whales. Comparisons of allele frequencies among populations show the High Arctic population to be different (P < or = .005) from the other beluga populations surveyed. In these other populations an allele, Dele-DQ beta*0101-2, was found in 98% of the animals, while in the High Arctic it was found in only 52% of the animals. Two other alleles were found at high frequencies in the High Arctic population, one being very similar to the single allele found in narwhal.

  13. Organohalogen contaminants and metabolites in beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) liver from two Canadian populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A; De Guise, Sylvain; Martineau, Daniel; Béland, Pierre; Lebeuf, Michel; Letcher, Robert J

    2006-05-01

    Contaminants described as organochlorines (OCs; e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs]) are present in tissues of marine mammals, including beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), but the complexity of contaminant exposure often is not fully known. The PCBs, OC pesticides, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants, methylsulfonyl (MeSO2)- and hydroxy (OH)-PCB metabolites, and OH-PBDEs and methoxylated (MeO)-PBDEs were determined in the liver of beluga whales from two Canadian populations: the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLB; n=6), and western Hudson Bay in the Canadian Arctic (CAB; n=11). The sigmaPCB, sigmaDDT, and sigmaPBDE concentrations were higher (p < 0.05) in SLB versus CAB. Of 18 detectable OH-PCBs in SLB (mainly 4-OH-CB107, 4-OH-CB112, and 4'-OH-CB120), only 4'-OH-CB120 was found in CAB. The sigmaOH-PCB concentrations were less than 0.2% of the sigmaPCBs in both populations but were higher (p < 0.05) in SLB (65 +/- 22 ng/g lipid wt) than in CAB (3.1 +/- 0.5 ng/g lipid wt). The sigmaMeSO2-PCB concentrations were higher in SLB (3801 +/- 1322 ng/g lipid wt) relative to CAB (77 +/- 23 ng/g lipid wt) and were 11 and 4%, respectively, of the sigmaPCB concentrations. Of the 15 OH-PBDEs, only two congeners were detectable, but not quantifiable (notably 2'-OH-BDE 68 and 6-OH-BDE 47), in animals from both populations. Of the 15 MeO-PBDEs, 4'-MeO-BDE 17 and 6-MeO-BDE 47 in the SLB (n=2) and 2'-MeO-BDE 68 and 6-MeO-BDE 47 in the CAB (n=2) had concentrations from 20 to 100 ng/g lipid weight. The OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs most likely are of natural origin and accumulated in beluga whales, whereas the OH-PCBs and MeSO2-PCBs are metabolites derived from accumulated PCBs. Canadian beluga whale liver contains previously unidentified organohalogen contaminants and metabolites and, thus, a complexity of contaminant exposure that may be impacting the health of Canadian beluga whale populations.

  14. Beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, vocalizations and their relation to behaviour in the Churchill River, Manitoba, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chmelnitsky, Elly Golda

    The investigation of a species' repertoire and the contexts in which different calls are used is central to understanding vocal communication among animals. Beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, calls were classified and described in association with behaviours, from recordings collected in the Churchill River, Manitoba, during the summers of 2006-2008. Calls were subjectively classified based on sound and visual analysis into whistles (64.2% of total calls; 22 call types), pulsed or noisy calls (25.9%; 15 call types), and combined calls (9.9%; seven types). A hierarchical cluster analysis, using six call measurements as variables, separated whistles into 12 groups and results were compared to subjective classification. Beluga calls associated with social interactions, travelling, feeding, and interactions with the boat were described. Call type percentages, relative proportions of different whistle contours (shapes), average frequency, and call duration varied with behaviour. Generally, higher percentages of whistles, more broadband pulsed and noisy calls, and shorter calls (<0.49s) were produced during behaviours associated with higher levels of activity and/or apparent arousal. Information on call types, call characteristics, and behavioural context of calls can be used for automated detection and classification methods and in future studies on call meaning and function.

  15. The effect of sea-ice loss on beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heide-Jørgensen, M.P.; Laidre, K.L.; Simon, Malene Juul

    2009-01-01

    An aerial survey was conducted to estimate the abundance of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) on their wintering ground in West Greenland in March-April 2006 and 2008. The survey was conducted as a double platform aerial line transect survey, and sampled approximately 17% of the total survey area o...

  16. Relative quantity judgments in the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abramson, José Z; Hernández-Lloreda, Victoria; Call, Josep; Colmenares, Fernando

    2013-06-01

    Numerous studies have documented the ability of many species to make relative quantity judgments using an analogue magnitude system. We investigated whether one beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, and three bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, were capable of selecting the larger of two sets of quantities, and analyzed if their performance matched predictions from the object file model versus the analog accumulator model. In Experiment 1, the two sets were presented simultaneously, under water, and they were visually (condition 1) or echoically (condition 2) available at the time of choice. In experiment 2, the two sets were presented above the water, successively (condition 1) or sequentially, item-by-item (condition 2), so that they were not visually available at the time of choice (condition 1) or at any time throughout the experiment (condition 2). We analyzed the effect of the ratio between quantities, the difference between quantities, and the total number of items presented on the subjects' choices. All subjects selected the larger of the two sets of quantities above chance levels in all conditions. However, unlike most previous studies, the subjects' choices did not match the predictions from the accumulator model. Whether these findings reflect interspecies differences in the mechanisms which underpin relative quantity judgments remains to be determined.

  17. Immune functions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas): Evaluation of natural killer cell activity.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    S. De Guise (Sylvain); P.S. Ross (Peter); A.D.M.E. Osterhaus (Albert); D. Martineau (Daniel); P. Beland; M. Fournier (Michel)

    1997-01-01

    textabstractNatural killer (NK) activity, an important non-specific defense mechanism against viral infections and tumors, was demonstrated in beluga whales using two different methods: 51Cr release and flow cytometry. Using the 51Cr release assay, NK activity in belugas was shown to be higher again

  18. Mercury distribution and speciation in different brain regions of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ostertag, Sonja K., E-mail: ostertag@unbc.ca [Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia, V2N 4Z9 (Canada); Stern, Gary A., E-mail: Gary.Stern@dfo-mpo.gc.ca [Freshwater Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N6 (Canada); Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2 (Canada); Wang, Feiyue, E-mail: feiyue.wang@ad.umanitoba.ca [Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2 (Canada); Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2 (Canada); Lemes, Marcos, E-mail: Marcos.lemes@ad.umanitoba.ca [Centre for Earth Observation Science, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2 (Canada); Chan, Hing Man, E-mail: laurie.chan@uottawa.ca [Center for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, 1N 6N5 (Canada)

    2013-07-01

    The toxicokinetics of mercury (Hg) in key species of Arctic ecosystem are poorly understood. We sampled five brain regions (frontal lobe, temporal lobe, cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord) from beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) harvested in 2006, 2008, and 2010 from the eastern Beaufort Sea, Canada, and measured total Hg (HgT) and total selenium (SeT) by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), mercury analyzer or cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry, and the chemical forms using a high performance liquid chromatography ICP-MS. At least 14% of the beluga whales had HgT concentrations higher than the levels of observable adverse effect (6.0 mg kg{sup −1} wet weight (ww)) in primates. The concentrations of HgT differed between brain regions; median concentrations (mg kg{sup −1} ww) were 2.34 (0.06 to 22.6, 81) (range, n) in temporal lobe, 1.84 (0.12 to 21.9, 77) in frontal lobe, 1.84 (0.05 to 16.9, 83) in cerebellum, 1.25 (0.02 to 11.1, 77) in spinal cord and 1.32 (0.13 to 15.2, 39) in brain stem. Total Hg concentrations in the cerebellum increased with age (p < 0.05). Between 35 and 45% of HgT was water-soluble, of which, 32 to 41% was methyl mercury (MeHg) and 59 to 68% was labile inorganic Hg. The concentration of MeHg (range: 0.03 to 1.05 mg kg{sup −1} ww) was positively associated with HgT concentration, and the percent MeHg (4 to 109%) decreased exponentially with increasing HgT concentration in the spinal cord, cerebellum, frontal lobe and temporal lobe. There was a positive association between SeT and HgT in all brain regions (p < 0.05) suggesting that Se may play a role in the detoxification of Hg in the brain. The concentration of HgT in the cerebellum was significantly associated with HgT in other organs. Therefore, HgT concentrations in organs that are frequently sampled in bio-monitoring studies could be used to estimate HgT concentrations in the cerebellum, which is the target organ of MeHg toxicity. - Highlights:

  19. Immune functions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas): Evaluation of natural killer cell activity.

    OpenAIRE

    Guise, Sylvain De; Ross, Peter; Osterhaus, Albert; Martineau, Daniel; Beland, P; Fournier, Michel

    1997-01-01

    textabstractNatural killer (NK) activity, an important non-specific defense mechanism against viral infections and tumors, was demonstrated in beluga whales using two different methods: 51Cr release and flow cytometry. Using the 51Cr release assay, NK activity in belugas was shown to be higher against K-562 than against YAC-1 cell lines. Moreover, it was enhanced by the addition of human recombinant interleukin-2 with both cell lines. NK activity evaluated by flow cytometry in the peripheral ...

  20. Selection of reference genes for RT-qPCR studies in blood of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    I-Hua Chen

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR is used for research in gene expression, and it is vital to choose appropriate housekeeping genes (HKGs as reference genes to obtain correct results. The purpose of this study is to determine stably expressed HKGs in blood of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas that can be the appropriate reference genes in relative quantification in gene expression research. Sixty blood samples were taken from four beluga whales. Thirteen candidate HKGs (ACTB, B2M, GAPDH, HPRT1, LDHB, PGK1, RPL4, RPL8, RPL18, RPS9, RPS18, TFRC, YWHAZ were tested using RT-qPCR. The stability values of the HKGs were determined by four different algorithms. Comprehensive analysis of the results revealed that RPL4, PGK1 and ACTB are strongly recommended for use in future RT-qPCR studies in beluga blood samples. This research provides recommendation of reference gene selection, which may contribute to further mRNA relative quantification research in the peripheral blood leukocytes in captive cetaceans. The gene expression assessment of the immune components in blood have the potential to serve as an important approach to evaluating cetacean health influenced by environmental insults.

  1. Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder in a Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martineau, D; Lagacé, A; Massé, R; Morin, M; Béland, P

    1985-10-01

    A transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder was found in a beluga whale stranded in the St. Lawrence middle estuary. Various organs of this animal were submitted to high resolution gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry analysis. High frequency of urinary bladder cancer in the human population of the same area and the presence of carcinogenic compounds in the marine environment of this animal are discussed.Concurrent isolation of Edwardsiella tarda from various organs of this whale is also reported.

  2. Adenomatous hyperplasia of the thyroid gland in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary and Hudson Bay, Quebec, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikaelian, I; Labelle, P; Kopal, M; De Guise, S; Martineau, D

    2003-11-01

    We evaluated thyroid gland lesions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary (n = 16) and Hudson Bay (n = 14). Follicular cysts and nodules of adenomatous hyperplasia of the thyroid gland were found in eight and nine adults from the St. Lawrence Estuary (n = 10), respectively, and in four and six adults from Hudson Bay (n = 14), respectively. The total volume of the lesions of thyroid adenomatous hyperplasia was positively correlated with age in both populations. Comparison between populations could not be performed because of differences in age structures of sample groups. Beluga whales from both populations have unique thyroid lesions among marine mammals.

  3. Immune functions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas): evaluation of natural killer cell activity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Guise, S; Ross, P S; Osterhaus, A D; Martineau, D; Béland, P; Fournier, M

    1997-09-19

    Natural killer (NK) activity, an important non-specific defense mechanism against viral infections and tumors, was demonstrated in beluga whales using two different methods: 51Cr release and flow cytometry. Using the 51Cr release assay, NK activity in belugas was shown to be higher against K-562 than against YAC-1 cell lines. Moreover, it was enhanced by the addition of human recombinant interleukin-2 with both cell lines. NK activity evaluated by flow cytometry in the peripheral blood of eight belugas increased when the effector:target cell (E:T) ratio increased, and averaged 13.9% +/- 3.8% (range 9.9% to 17.8%) at an E:T ratio of 100:1. While NK activity could be readily detected using both methods, the lack of radio-isotopes and related laboratory room make the flow cytometric method a viable and safe alternative. The evaluation of this function in cetaceans could lead to a better understanding of the early events that lead to viral epizootics in populations of marine mammals in different parts of the world, as well as to the high prevalence of neoplasms in St. Lawrence beluga whales.

  4. Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder in a Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

    OpenAIRE

    Martineau, D.; Lagacé, A.; Massé, R; Morin, M.; Béland, P

    1985-01-01

    A transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder was found in a beluga whale stranded in the St. Lawrence middle estuary. Various organs of this animal were submitted to high resolution gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry analysis. High frequency of urinary bladder cancer in the human population of the same area and the presence of carcinogenic compounds in the marine environment of this animal are discussed.

  5. Population structure of North American beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) based on nuclear DNA microsatellite variation and contrasted with the population structure revealed by mitochondrial DNA variation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gladden; Ferguson; Friesen; Clayton

    1999-03-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in North American waters migrate seasonally between wintering areas in broken pack ice and summering locations in estuaries and other open water areas in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Results from our previous investigation of beluga whale mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) revealed genetic heterogeneity among beluga from different summering locations that was interpreted as representing a high degree of summering site philopatry. However, mtDNA is maternally inherited and does not reflect mating that may occur among beluga from different summering locations in wintering areas or during annual migrations. To test the possibility that breeding occurs among beluga from different summering locations, genetic variability at five nuclear DNA (nDNA) microsatellite loci was examined in the same animals tested in the mtDNA study. Beluga samples (n = 640) were collected between 1984 and 1994 from 24 sites across North America, mostly during the summer. Whales from the various sites were categorized into eight summering locations as identified by mtDNA analysis, as well as four hypothesized wintering areas: Bering Sea, Hudson Strait (Hudson Strait, Labrador Sea, southwest Davis Strait), Baffin Bay (North Water, east Davis Strait), and St Lawrence River. Microsatellite allele frequencies indicated genetic homogeneity among animals from summering sites believed to winter together but differentiation among whales from some of the wintering areas. In particular, beluga from western North America (Bering Sea) were clearly distinguished from beluga from eastern North America (Hudson Strait, Baffin Bay, and St Lawrence River). Based upon the combined data set, the population of North American beluga whales was divided into two evolutionarily significant units. However, the population may be further subdivided into management units to reflect distinct groups of beluga at summering locations.

  6. Vitamin A and E profiles as biomarkers of PCB exposure in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the western Canadian Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Desforges, Jean-Pierre W. [University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, Canada V8P 5C2 (Canada); Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Road, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2 (Canada); Ross, Peter S., E-mail: peter.s.ross@dfo-mpo.gc.ca [University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, Canada V8P 5C2 (Canada); Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Road, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2 (Canada); Dangerfield, Neil [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Road, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2 (Canada); Palace, Vince P. [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Freshwater Institute, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N6 (Canada); Whiticar, Michael [University of Victoria, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, Canada V8P 5C2 (Canada); Loseto, Lisa L. [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Freshwater Institute, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N6 (Canada)

    2013-10-15

    Highlights: •We examine the influence of biology, ecology and contaminant exposure on vitamin A and E profiles in Arctic beluga whales. •PCBs altered vitamin profiles after accounting for sex, age, condition and feeding ecology. •We propose a toxicity reference value for the disruption of vitamin A and E profiles in beluga of 1.6 mg/kg PCBs. •The use of vitamins as biomarkers of contaminant effects is contingent upon an understanding of wildlife biology. -- Abstract: We evaluated the utility of vitamin A and E profiles as biomarkers of contaminant exposure in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas; n = 66) harvested by the Inuvialuit in the Beaufort Sea. Blubber was an important repository for these vitamins, accounting for 76.8 ± 2.6% of the total body store of vitamin A, and 98.5 ± 0.4% of total vitamin E. While the free alcohol form of vitamin A (retinol) appeared highly regulated, the vitamin A esters were influenced by several biological factors including age, body condition and length. Vitamin E concentrations in liver and blubber were related to age, condition, length and feeding ecology, as described δ{sup 15}N and δ{sup 13}C. Despite the influence of these factors, collective results from univariate statistics, best fit multiple regressions, and principal component analysis (PCA) identified polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as important determinants of vitamin concentrations and profiles in beluga tissues. Blubber PCB concentrations best explained variation of the first principal component in a PCA of hepatic vitamins (r{sup 2} = 0.13, p = 0.014), and regression models found that vitamin A concentrations were negatively correlated with PCB levels in liver (esters: r{sup 2} = 0.19, p = 0.001), but positively in plasma (retinol: r{sup 2} = 0.20, p = 0.06) and blubber (retinol: r{sup 2} = 0.22, p = 0.001, esters: r{sup 2} = 0.43, p < 0.001). Our analyses provide a basis to propose an integrated toxicity reference value for disruption of vitamin A and

  7. Immune functions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas): evaluation of phagocytosis and respiratory burst with peripheral blood leukocytes using flow cytometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Guise, S; Flipo, D; Boehm, J R; Martineau, D; Béland, P; Fournier, M

    1995-08-01

    Flow cytometric assays using peripheral blood were developed to study phagocytosis and respiratory burst, the two major functions of neutrophils and among the most important non-specific defense mechanisms, in beluga whales. The use of flow cytometry avoids the problems associated with the isolation and purification of different cell types, and allows the measurement of a large number of cells (10,000) in a very short period of time. The methods described will be used to compare these functions in blood samples from highly contaminated beluga whales from the St. Lawrence and from relatively clean arctic beluga whales.

  8. Persistent organochlorines in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St Lawrence River estuary--II. Temporal trends, 1982-1994.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muir, D C; Koczanski, K; Rosenberg, B; Béland, P

    1996-01-01

    Blubber samples from 16 dead beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) collected during 1993-1994 in the St Lawrence River estuary were analysed for PCB congeners and other persistent organochlorines (DDT-group, chlorinated bornanes (toxaphene, CHB), chlordane SigmaCHL), hexachloro-cyclohexanes (SigmaHCH), chlorobenzenes (SigmaCBz), tris(p-chlorophenyl methane (TPMe) and mirex). Concentrations and relative proportions of major individual organochlorine components were within the same range as previous results for this population. Temporal trends were studied by combining the results with data from the analysis of 44 samples (1986-1990) and (for DDT and Aroclor PCBs only) with 20 samples (1982-1985) reported by Martineau et al., 1987. Results were lipid normalized and then age-adjusted by an ANCOVA model. Significant relationships between age and concentrations of most organochlorine groups were found for females but not for males. Significant declines were observed in SigmaDDT, and Aroclor PCBs (1.5- and 1.9-fold, respectively) in males between the 1982-1985 and 1993-1994 collection periods. Significant declines were also observed for SigmaHCH and SigmaCBz in males between 1986-1988 and 1993-1994. Mean concentrations of CHBs were significantly higher in 1993-1994 than in earlier years while dieldrin, SigmaCHL, mirex, and TPMe showed no trend. Declines in concentrations of major organochlorine groups were not observed in females possibly because of higher year to year, and within year, variation. The temporal trend in DDT and PCB concentrations in male beluga blubber paralleled trends in seals, eels, and seabirds in the St Lawrence estuary observed during the 1980s.

  9. Investigation into the response of the auditory and acoustic communications systems in the Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) of the St. Lawrence River Estuary to noise, using vocal classification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheifele, Peter Martin

    2003-06-01

    Noise pollution has only recently become recognized as a potential danger to marine mammals in general, and to the Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) in particular. These small gregarious Odontocetes make extensive use of sound for social communication and pod cohesion. The St. Lawrence River Estuary is habitat to a small, critically endangered population of about 700 Beluga whales who congregate in four different sites in its upper estuary. The population is believed to be threatened by the stress of high-intensity, low frequency noise. One way to determine whether noise is having an effect on an animal's auditory ability might be to observe a natural and repeatable response of the auditory and vocal systems to varying noise levels. This can be accomplished by observing changes in animal vocalizations in response to auditory feedback. A response such as this observed in humans and some animals is known as the Lombard Vocal Response, which represents a reaction of the auditory system directly manifested by changes in vocalization level. In this research this population of Beluga Whales was tested to determine whether a vocalization-as-a-function-of-noise phenomenon existed by using Hidden Markhov "classified" vocalizations as targets for acoustical analyses. Correlation and regression analyses indicated that the phenomenon does exist and results of a human subjects experiment along with results from other animal species known to exhibit the response strongly implicate the Lombard Vocal Response in the Beluga.

  10. PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in blubber biopsies from free-ranging St. Lawrence River Estuary beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), 1994-1998

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hobbs, K.E.; Muir, D.C.G.; Michaud, Robert; Beland, Pierre; Letcher, R.J.; Norstrom, R.J

    2003-04-01

    Measuring contaminants only in stranded whales may result in overestimation of organochlorines. - For the first time, organochlorine (OC) contaminants were measured in blubber biopsies from free-ranging St. Lawrence River Estuary beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), to compare contaminant levels to those previously measured in dead stranded belugas. PCBs, DDTs, toxaphene and chlordane-related compounds were the major OC contaminants detected in 44 belugas biopsied in 1994-1998. {sigma}PCB (the sum of 104 congeners) ranged from 2080 to 128,000 ng/g lipid in males (n=34; minimum estimated ages 8-22 years), and from 148 to 44,100 ng/g lipid in females (n=10; minimum estimated ages 7-22 years). The concentrations of PCBs and OC pesticides in the blubber of these whales overlapped those observed in stranded belugas from an earlier study, and demonstrated comparable age and sex-related trends. However, lower proportions of mirex, HCB, DDTs, and many of the highly chlorinated PCBs occurred in the biopsy samples compared to results for blubber from stranded carcasses. Most major OC compounds were present at lower concentrations in the biopsies, but this does not appear to be solely related to age differences between the two groups, or to emaciation in the stranded whales. Nor does it appear to be associated with the use of superficial biopsies, and the possible stratification of lipids and OCs in the blubber layer. Nevertheless, given these possible confounding factors, and the uncertainty in age estimates for the biopsied whales, the results point to the need for careful interpretation of biopsy results when comparing with data taken from the full depth of the blubber mantle in stranded whales. Taken together, results from both biopsied whales and previously studied stranded belugas indicate that PCB and OC pesticide contamination of St. Lawrence beluga whales may occur across a broader range of levels than previously thought, at least for males which formed the largest

  11. PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in blubber biopsies from free-ranging St. Lawrence River Estuary beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), 1994-1998.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hobbs, Karen E; Muir, Derek C G; Michaud, Robert; Béland, Pierre; Letcher, Robert J; Norstrom, Ross J

    2003-01-01

    For the first time, organochlorine (OC) contaminants were measured in blubber biopsies from free-ranging St. Lawrence River Estuary beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), to compare contaminant levels to those previously measured in dead stranded belugas. PCBs, DDTs, toxaphene and chlordane-related compounds were the major OC contaminants detected in 44 belugas biopsied in 1994-1998. SigmaPCB (the sum of 104 congeners) ranged from 2080 to 128,000 ng/g lipid in males (n=34; minimum estimated ages 8-22 years), and from 148 to 44,100 ng/g lipid in females (n=10; minimum estimated ages 7-22 years). The concentrations of PCBs and OC pesticides in the blubber of these whales overlapped those observed in stranded belugas from an earlier study, and demonstrated comparable age and sex-related trends. However, lower proportions of mirex, HCB, DDTs, and many of the highly chlorinated PCBs occurred in the biopsy samples compared to results for blubber from stranded carcasses. Most major OC compounds were present at lower concentrations in the biopsies, but this does not appear to be solely related to age differences between the two groups, or to emaciation in the stranded whales. Nor does it appear to be associated with the use of superficial biopsies, and the possible stratification of lipids and OCs in the blubber layer. Nevertheless, given these possible confounding factors, and the uncertainty in age estimates for the biopsied whales, the results point to the need for careful interpretation of biopsy results when comparing with data taken from the full depth of the blubber mantle in stranded whales. Taken together, results from both biopsied whales and previously studied stranded belugas indicate that PCB and OC pesticide contamination of St. Lawrence beluga whales may occur across a broader range of levels than previously thought, at least for males which formed the largest group in this study, possibly due to different degrees of dietary exposure. It also appears that

  12. Toxoplasmosis in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St Lawrence estuary: two case reports and a serological survey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikaelian, I; Boisclair, J; Dubey, J P; Kennedy, S; Martineau, D

    2000-01-01

    Toxoplasmosis was diagnosed in two free-ranging beluga whales from the St Lawrence estuary, Quebec, Canada, in 1988 and 1998. Histologically, tachyzoites and bradyzoites were present in the brain, spleen, lymph nodes, adrenals and lungs of both animals, and in the thymus of one. These organisms were readily labelled by an indirect immunohistochemical method for Toxoplasma gondii antigens. In the lymph nodes, spleen and lungs the organisms were associated with histiocytic infiltration. In the brain of one animal they were associated with mild multifocal gliosis and haemorrhages. There was no evidence of concomitant morbillivirus infection. Serum samples were collected from 22 beluga whales stranded between 1995 and 1998 on the shores of the St Lawrence Estuary and examined for antibodies to T. gondii by the modified agglutination test. Antibody titres of s25 were found in six (27%) of the animals. This is the first confirmed report of toxoplasmosis in beluga whales.

  13. Temporal trends (1987-2002) of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebeuf, Michel; Noël, Michelle; Trottier, Steve; Measures, Lena

    2007-09-20

    Temporal trends of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) chemicals were examined in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE), Canada. Blubber samples of 86 adult belugas were collected from animals stranded on the shore of the SLE between 1987 and 2002 and analyzed for several regulated PBTs, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites, chlordane (CHL) and related compounds, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers, hexachlorobenzene (HCB) and Mirex. In addition, time trends of tris(4-chlorophenyl)methane (TCPMe) and tris(4-chlorophenyl)methanol (TCPMOH), two compounds that may origin from DDT formulations, were also examined. Concentrations of most of the PBTs examined had exponentially decreased by at least a factor of two (half-life time (t(1/2))<15 years) in beluga between 1987 and 2002 while no increasing trends were observed for any of the PBTs measured. The decreasing trends of PBT concentrations in SLE beluga may be due to a decline in contamination of its diet following North American and international regulations on the use and production of these compounds or by a change in its diet itself or by a combination of both. Some PBTs did not exhibit any significant trends in beluga possibly because the most intense elimination phase subsequent to legislative regulations occurred prior to the 1987-2002 time period. Other chemicals, such gamma-HCH, did not significantly decrease likely because they are still currently used in some restricted applications. Conversely, alpha-HCH showed a significant decreasing trend indicating that SigmaHCHs is not representative of all HCHs. Both TCPMe and TCPMOH exhibited no trends in beluga during the time period examined. The metabolic capacity of SLE beluga has apparently accelerated the depletion of at least one PBT, namely CB-28/31. A significant relationship between the half-life of PBTs in beluga and log Kow was observed for

  14. Pathology of stranded beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Québec, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martineau, D; Lagacé, A; Béland, P; Higgins, R; Armstrong, D; Shugart, L R

    1988-04-01

    From June 1983 to May 1986, thirteen carcasses of stranded beluga whales from a polluted area of the St. Lawrence River, Canada were necropsied. High performance liquid chromatography was performed on the brains of three other animals to determine concentrations of benzo a pyrene (BaP). Two juvenile animals had severe multisystemic lesions one of which, a severe necrotizing dermatitis, was associated with a Herpesvirus-like particle. Four adults had five varieties of tumours. An adult had a systemic nocardiosis and a juvenile was affected ty a non 0:1 Vibrio cholerae septicemia. High concentrations of BaP adducts were found in the brains which were analyzed. Occurrence of BaP adducts in the brain of three whales of this population coincides with the high incidence of tumours. This and the previous finding of high concentrations of organochlorine in the tissues of these animals suggest an important role of industrial contaminants in the recent decrease of this population.

  15. Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas of the Barents, Kara and Laptev seas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrei N Boltunov

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper reviews published information on the white whale or beluga (Delphinapterus leucas inhabiting the Barents, Kara and Laptev seas. Some data obtained during multi-year aerial reconnaissance of sea ice in the Russian Arctic are also included. Ice conditions, considered one of the major factors affecting distribution of belugas, are described. The number of belugas inhabiting the Russian Arctic is unknown. Based on analysis of published and unpublished information we believe that the primary summer habitats of belugas in the Western Russian Arctic lie in the area of Frants-Josef Land, in the Kara Sea and in the western Laptev Sea. Apparently most belugas winter in the Barents Sea. Although it has been suggested that a considerable number of animals winter in the Kara Sea, there is no direct evidence for this. Apparent migrations of animals are regularly observed at several sites: the straits of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, the waters north of the archipelago, and Vilkitskiy Strait between the Kara and Laptev seas. Calving and mating take place in summer, and the beluga mother feeds a calf for at least a year. Females mature earlier than males, and about 30% of mature females in a population are barren. Sex ratio is apparently close to 1:1. The diet of the beluga in the region includes fish and crustaceans and shows considerable spatial and temporal variations. However, polar cod (Boreogadus saida is the main prey most of the year, and whitefish (Coregonidae contribute in coastal waters in summer. Usually belugas form groups of up to 10 related individuals of different ages, while large aggregations are common during seasonal migrations or in areas with abundant and easily available food. Beluga whaling in Russia has a history of several centuries. The highest catches were taken in the 1950s and 1960s, when about 1,500 animals were caught annually in the Western Russian Arctic. In the 1990s, few belugas were

  16. Non-neoplastic lesions in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and other marine mammals from the St Lawrence Estuary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Guise, S; Lagacé, A; Béland, P; Girard, C; Higgins, R

    1995-04-01

    In a 3-year (1988-1990) pathological study, 24 carcasses of beluga whales from the St Lawrence Estuary, Québec, Canada, showed numerous severe lesions, many of which had never been reported in cetaceans. The most common lesions were found in the digestive tract (21 animals) and consisted mainly of periodontitis and of erosions and ulcers in the oesophagus and the first two gastric compartments. Pneumonia, usually of parasitic origin, was also a common finding (12 animals). The adrenal glands often contained nodules (five animals) or cysts (seven animals), and mastitis was observed in five females. Overall, the incidence of degenerative, infectious, hyperplastic or necrotic lesions, in addition to numerous neoplasms described in another paper, was considerably higher than that found in marine mammals elsewhere or in other species of marine mammal from the same waters.

  17. Bone fluoride concentrations in beluga whales from Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mikaelian, I; Qualls, C W; De Guise, S; Whaley, M W; Martineau, D

    1999-04-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary have been reported to have dental and bone abnormalities. To determine whether these lesions could be caused by high exposure to fluorides, we measured bone fluoride levels in eight beluga whales stranded on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary (Quebec, Canada), and in nine beluga whales killed by Inuit hunters in the Hudson Bay (North Western Territories, Canada). In both groups, fluoride concentrations were higher than those found in terrestrial mammals intoxicated by fluorides. Unexpectedly, fluoride concentration was significantly higher in beluga whales from the Hudson Bay (mean +/- SD: 10.365 +/- 1.098 ppm) than in beluga whales from the St. Lawrence Estuary (4.539 +/- 875 ppm) and was positively correlated with age in the latter population. Differences in diet might explain the differences in fluoride concentrations found between these two populations.

  18. The limits of applicability of the sound exposure level (SEL) metric to temporal threshold shifts (TTS) in beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popov, Vladimir V; Supin, Alexander Ya; Rozhnov, Viatcheslav V; Nechaev, Dmitry I; Sysueva, Evgenia V

    2014-05-15

    The influence of fatiguing sound level and duration on post-exposure temporary threshold shift (TTS) was investigated in two beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). The fatiguing sound was half-octave noise with a center frequency of 22.5 kHz. TTS was measured at a test frequency of 32 kHz. Thresholds were measured by recording rhythmic evoked potentials (the envelope following response) to a test series of short (eight cycles) tone pips with a pip rate of 1000 s(-1). TTS increased approximately proportionally to the dB measure of both sound pressure (sound pressure level, SPL) and duration of the fatiguing noise, as a product of these two variables. In particular, when the noise parameters varied in a manner that maintained the product of squared sound pressure and time (sound exposure level, SEL, which is equivalent to the overall noise energy) at a constant level, TTS was not constant. Keeping SEL constant, the highest TTS appeared at an intermediate ratio of SPL to sound duration and decreased at both higher and lower ratios. Multiplication (SPL multiplied by log duration) better described the experimental data than an equal-energy (equal SEL) model. The use of SEL as a sole universal metric may result in an implausible assessment of the impact of a fatiguing sound on hearing thresholds in odontocetes, including under-evaluation of potential risks.

  19. AFSC/NMML: Beluga whale aerial survey in Cook Inlet, Alaska, 1993-2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has conducted aerial counts of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from 1993 to 2014 (excluding 2013)....

  20. Immune functions in the Fisher rat fed beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) blubber from the contaminated St. Lawrence estuary

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lapierre, P.; Guise, S. De [Univ. du Quebec, Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Dept. des Sciences Biologiques; Muir, D.C.G. [Freshwater Inst., Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada); Norstrom, R. [Environment Canada, Hull, Quebec (Canada); Beland, P. [St. Lawrence National Inst. of Ecotoxicology, Montreal, Quebec (Canada); Fournier, M. [Univ. du Quebec, Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Dept. des Sciences Biologiques]|[INRS-Sante, Pointe-Claire, Quebec (Canada)]|[IML, Mont Joli, Quebec (Canada). Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans

    1999-02-01

    In order to assess the immunotoxic potential of food naturally contaminated with PCBs and other organohalogens, Fisher rats were fed a diet in which the lipids originated from the blubber of either a highly polluted St. Lawrence beluga or a relatively uncontaminated Arctic beluga. After a period of 2 months, different immune functions were evaluated, including lymphoblastic transformation, natural killer cell activity, plaque-forming cells, phagocytosis, oxidative burst, and immunophenotyping. For all assays, rats fed at St. Lawrence beluga blubber diet or a mixture of Arctic and St. Lawrence beluga blubber diet were not different from control rats fed a diet containing Arctic beluga blubber. These results are inconsistent with the well-known immunosuppressive effects of organochlorines in numerous species and with the lesions suggestive of organochlorine-related immunosuppression that are observed in St. Lawrence belugas. The lack of observable immunotoxic effects in rats fed contaminated beluga blubber might be explained by antagonistic effects in the organohalogen mixture, by a response specific to the rat, by a strain-related lack of sensitivity to organochlorines, or by insufficient dose due to the shortness of the exposure period or the route of exposure.

  1. Concentrations and chromatographic profile of DDT metabolites and polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) residues in stranded Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Masse, R.; Martineau, D.; Tremblay, L.; Beland, P.

    1986-09-01

    The concentrations and high resolution gas chromatographic profiles of DDT metabolites and polychlorobiphenyl (PCB) congeners were determined in blubber, liver, kidney and lung tissue and milk samples of stranded beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) collected at localities along the coasts of the Saint Lawrence Estuary, Canada from November 1983 through December 1984. The analyses indicate that the major PCB components of the tissues were 2,2',5,5'-tetra-, 2,2',4,4',5-penta-, 2,2',3,4,4',5'-hexa-, 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexa-, 2,2',3,3',4,5-hexa-, 2,3,3',5,5',6-hexa-, 2,2',3,4,5,5',6-hepta- and 2,2',3,4,4',5,5'-heptachlorobiphenyls. Although the highest organochlorine chemical concentrations were found primarily in the blubber, concentrations of 1.72 ..mu..g/g for PCB and 2.04 ..mu..g/g for ..sigma..DDT were determined in one milk sample. No correlation was established between PCB, p,p-DDE and ..sigma..DDT concentrations and the fat content of the kidney, liver and lung tissues. The chromatographic patterns of the PCB congeners were similar from one tissue to another with the exception of the kidney; the profile indicates the retention of PCB congeners which are minor components in the other tissues. Relations of residue concentrations between tissue are described and the significance of congener-specific PCB analysis is discussed in terms of the structure-activity effects on PCB persistence and toxicity.

  2. Bowhead (Balaena mysticetus) and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) whales in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Annual report

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — Reproductive activity in the bowhead whale was observed in early May near Pt. Barrow Alaska, indicating that this species may calf and breed during the northward...

  3. Lactational Transfer of Polychlorinated-Biphenyls (PCBs) and Other Organochlorines in St. Lawrence Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cadieux, Marc A; Muir, Derek C G; Béland, Pierre; Hickie, Brendan E

    2016-01-01

    This study uses an individual-based contaminant bioaccumulation model for marine mammals to explore factors controlling the transfer of PCBs from mother to calf via nursing in beluga from the St. Lawrence Estuary. Beluga blubber samples (n = 46), along with four matched milk samples from stranded animals over the 1986-1994 period were used for comparison with modelled results. Based on 68 POPs, including 48 PCBs and 20 other organochlorine compounds, milk:blubber ratios were 0.65 between log K OW 3-6.5, then decreased to 0.1 at log K OW 8. Model simulations based on this relationship indicated females were transferring PCBs that were relatively very hydrophobic and highly chlorinated less readily than their lower chlorinated counterparts, resulting in an enriched concentration of very hydrophobic congeners in nursing females relative to adult males. There was very good agreement between observed and modelled male:female PCB concentration ratios. Four females within our dataset (15 %) had male-like ΣPCB concentrations as well as male-like congener profiles, suggesting that these individuals may have had a reduced or limited nursing history.

  4. A modelling-based perspective on the past, present, and future polychlorinated biphenyl contamination of the St. Lawrence beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) population

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Hickie, B. E.; Mackay, D. [Trent Univ., Environmental Modelling Centre, Peterborough, ON (Canada); Kingsley, M. C. S. [Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Mont Joli, PQ (Canada); Hodson, P. V. [Queen' s Univ., School of Environmental Studies, Kingston, ON (Canada); Muir, D. C. G. [Environment Canada, National Water Resesarch Institute, Burlington, ON (Canada); Beland, P. [St. Lawrence National Inst of Exotoxicology, Montreal, PQ (Canada)

    2000-07-01

    Two models showing the accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) by the St. Lawrence beluga whale population from 1950 to the present are described. The study also aimed at predicting future trends based on likely contaminant loading scenarios. The individual-based model (IB) calculates the accumulation of PCBs over the life time of an individual, taking into account the animal's complete life history, including growth, body composition, energetics, diet, gestation, birth and lactation. The population-based (PB) model is based on energy and contaminant flux budgets summarized from the IB model; it quantifies the changes in contaminant levels throughout the population over several generations. The study also includes consideration of the hypothesis that migrating American eels from Lake Ontario are a significant dietary source of contaminants for the beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River. Results showed that eels may have contributed as much as 45 per cent of the total PCB burden in the population in the mid-1980s. With migrating eels included as part of the beluga diet, PCB concentrations in the population peaked between 1965 and 1975, and have been gradually declining since then. Future declines in PCB levels in the beluga are predicted in proportion with changes in the PCB levels of their prey. This and similar studies are also considered useful in identifying tolerable concentrations of PCBs and other contaminants, information that could be used as tools in aquatic ecosystem management. 52 refs., 8 figs.

  5. Characterization and profiling of hepatic cytochromes P450 and phase II xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence River Estuary and the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A; Arukwe, Augustine; De Guise, Sylvain; Martineau, Daniel; Béland, Pierre; Dallaire, André; Lair, Stéphane; Lebeuf, Michel; Letcher, Robert J

    2004-07-30

    Cytochromes P450 (CYP, phase I) and conjugating (phase II) enzymes can be induced by and influence the toxicokinetics (metabolism) and toxicity of xenobiotic contaminants in exposed organisms. Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) from the endangered St. Lawrence (SL) River Estuary population exhibit deleterious health effects and various severe pathologies that have been associated with contaminant exposure. In contrast, such effects (e.g. reproductive and immunological impairment) are generally less frequent in less exposed populations in the Canadian Arctic (CA). In the present study, opportunistic sampling resulted in the collection immediately after death of liver tissue from a single female neonate SL beluga (SL6) and male and female CA beluga (n=10) from the Arviat region of western Hudson Bay, in addition to sampling of stranded carcasses of male and female SL beluga (n=5) at least 12 h postmortem. We immunologically characterized cross-reactive proteins of hepatic microsomal CYP1A, CYP2B, CYP3A, CYP2E, epoxide hydrolase (EH) and uridine diphosphoglucuronosyl transferase (UDPGT) isozymes. Cross-reactive proteins were found in all SL and CA beluga using anti-rat CYP1A1, anti-rainbow trout CYP3A, anti-human CYP2E1, anti-rabbit EH and anti-human UDPGT1A1 polyclonal antibodies (Abs), whereas faintly cross-reactive CYP2B proteins were only found in SL6 and the CA samples using an anti-rabbit CYP2B1 Ab. In corresponding catalytic activity assessments, only SL6 and all CA beluga microsomal samples exhibited CYP1A-mediated 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) activity (51-260 pmol/mg/min), CYP3A-mediated activity (113-899 pmol/mg/min) based on the formation of 6beta-hydroxytestosterone using a testosterone hydroxylase assay, and UDPGT activity (830-4956 pmol/mg/min) based on 1-naphthylglucuronide formation. The marginal cross-reactivity with the anti-CYP2B1 Ab and lack of catalytically measurable hydroxytestosterone isomers associated with CYP2B-type activity in

  6. Occurrence of chlorinated paraffins in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence River and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and carp (Cyprinus carpio) from Lake Ontario

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bennie, D. T.; Sullivan, C. A.; Maguire, R. J. [Envirronment Canada, National Water Research Institute, Burlington, ON (Canada)

    2000-07-01

    Samples of 25 dead beluga whales from the St. Lawrence River estuary, as well as samples of 10 rainbow trout and three carps caught in western Lake Ontario were analyzed for total short and medium chain chlorinated paraffins using gas chromatography-low resolution negative chemical ionization spectroscopy. Both short and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins were quantitatively identified in all samples using two commercial preparations. Beluga results were found to be higher than concentrations reported for marine mammals in Europe, but comparable to total PCB and total DDT results for the same population of beluga whales. Results for freshwater species are comparable to those reported for fish sampled from other industrially impacted waterways in North America, but elevated compared to marine species from European studies. Comparisons of the results with gas chromatography-negative ion mass spectroscopy analysis from another study indicated that the two analytical techniques are not congruent. The differences may be accounted for by different effects of interfering organochlorine substances on the analysis of chlorinated paraffins. 22 refs., 5 tabs., 1 fig.

  7. Persistent organochlorines in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St Lawrence River estuary--I. Concentrations and patterns of specific PCBs, chlorinated pesticides and polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muir, D C; Ford, C A; Rosenberg, B; Norstrom, R J; Simon, M; Béland, P

    1996-01-01

    Blubber samples from beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the St Lawrence River estuary were analysed for PCB congeners (ortho- and non-ortho-substituted) and other persistent organochlorines as well as chlorinated dibenzo-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs). Major individual components (mean concentrations > 1 microg g(-1)) were 4,4'-DDE, -DDD and -DDT, T12 (a toxaphene-related compound), trans-nonachlor, oxychlordane, mirex, HCB, tris(p-chlorophenyl) methane and dieldrin. Concentrations of SigmaPCBs (8.3-412 microg g(-1)), SigmaDDT (3.36-389 microg g(-1)) and mirex (0.18-6.8 microg g(-1)) were particularly elevated relative to other odontocetes in Canadian waters. SigmaDDT, PCBs (as Aroclor), mirex and T12 concentrations were positively correlated with age of adult females (> 10 years) but only weakly, or not significantly, correlated with age of adult males. PCDD/Fs were present at low ng kg(-1) levels and consisted mainly of penta- and hexachlorofurans, and hepta- and octachlorodioxin. CB126 (3,3',4,4',5-PCB) was the most prominent non-ortho-substituted PCB congener in beluga blubber. Total TCDD toxic equivalents averaged 330 ng kg(-1) in females and 1400 ng kg(-1) in males and were dominated by CB126, and the mono-ortho-substituted congeners CB105 and CB118. Biomagnification factors (BMFs) for mirex and SigmaPCB from fish to beluga ranged from 11 to 16, and were similar to BMFs in Arctic animals, indicating that elevated levels in St Lawrence animals are a consequence of relatively high levels of recalcitrant organochlorines in prey of the beluga in the St Lawrence river system.

  8. Adrenal hyperplastic and degenerative changes in beluga whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lair, S; Béland, P; De Guise, S; Martineau, D

    1997-07-01

    Thirty stranded beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary (Quebec, Canada) population and five animals from the Hudson Bay aboriginal hunt (North-west Territories, Canada) were examined. Twenty one animals from the St. Lawrence Estuary had mild to severe adrenal lesions and four whales from the Hudson Bay population were affected by minimal adrenal changes. Cortical hyperplasia was observed in 24 adult beluga whales all from the St. Lawrence Estuary. Bilateral cortical cysts and cellular vacuolar degeneration were observed in the adrenal glands of 19 beluga whales from both populations. The cysts, filled with a cortisol-rich liquid, were present in both sexes. Beluga whales with adrenal cysts were significantly older than animals without cysts, and the severity of the lesions increased with age. Nodular hyperplasia of the medulla was observed in seven of the beluga whales, all from the St. Lawrence Estuary population. All lesions could be part of a normal aging process. The adrenocortical lesions might be due to stress or adrenocorticolytic xenobiotics, while the medullary hyperplasia might be caused by hypoxia or exposure to estrogenic xenobiotics.

  9. Measuring Hearing in Wild Beluga Whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mooney, T Aran; Castellote, Manuel; Quakenbush, Lori; Hobbs, Roderick; Goertz, Caroline; Gaglione, Eric

    2016-01-01

    We measured the hearing abilities of seven wild beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) during a collection-and-release experiment in Bristol Bay, AK. Here we summarize the methods and initial data from one animal and discuss the implications of this experiment. Audiograms were collected from 4 to 150 kHz. The animal with the lowest threshold heard best at 80 kHz and demonstrated overall good hearing from 22 to 110 kHz. The robustness of the methodology and data suggest that the auditory evoked potential audiograms can be incorporated into future collection-and-release health assessments. Such methods may provide high-quality results for multiple animals, facilitating population-level audiograms and hearing measures in new species.

  10. Methylsulfone polychlorinated biphenyl and 2,2-bis(chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene metabolites in beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence River estuary and western Hudson Bay, Canada

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Letcher, R.J.; Norstrom, R.J.; Muir, D.C.G.; Sandau, C.D.; Koczanski, K.; Michaud, R.; De Guise, S.; Beland, P.

    2000-05-01

    Knowledge is limited regarding methylsulfone (MeSO{sub 2})-polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), and especially MeSo{sub 2}-2,2-bis(chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE), metabolites in cetacean species. The authors hypothesized that the ability of beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) to biotransform PCB and DDE compounds, and to form and degrade their MeSO{sub 2}-PCB and -DDE metabolites, is related to the capacity for xenobiotic metabolism. Adipose biopsies were collected from male and female beluga whale from distinct populations in the St. Lawrence River estuary (STL) and western Hudson Bay (WHB), Canada, which are contrasted by the exposure to different levels of cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing, chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants. The PCBs, DDTs, DDEs, 28 MeSO{sub 2} metabolites of 14 meta-para chlorine-unsubstituted PCBs, and four MeSO{sub 2} metabolites of 4,4{prime}- and 2,4{prime}-DDE were determined. The mean concentrations of total ({Sigma}-) MeSO{sub 2}-PCB in male STL beluga (230 ng/g), and ratios of {Sigma}-MeSO{sub 2}-PCB to {Sigma}-PCB (0.05) and {Sigma}-precursor-PCB (0.17) were approximately twofold higher, whereas the {Sigma}-precursor-PCB to {Sigma}-PCB ratio was approximately twofold lower, than in male WHB beluga. Both populations had a low formation capacity for MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs with {le} six chlorines (<4% of {Sigma}-MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs). The congener patterns were dominated by trichloro- and tetrachloro-MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs, and tetrachloro- and pentachloro-MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs in WHB and STL animals, respectively. In addition to 2- and 3-MeSO{sub 2}-4,4{prime}-DDE, two unknown MeSO{sub 2}-2,4{prime}-DDEs were detected. The mean 3-MeSO{sub 2}-4,4{prime}-DDE concentration in STL beluga (1.2 ng/g) was much greater than in WHB animals. The concentrations of 4,4{prime}-DDE, and not 3-MeSO{sub 2}-4,4{prime}-DDE, increased with age in male STL animals. The authors demonstrated that sulfone formation and clearance is related to metabolic capacity, and thus

  11. Beluga whales aerial survey conducted by Alaska Fisheries Scientific Center, National Marine Mammal Laboratory from 1993-06-02 to 2014-06-12 (NCEI Accession 0133936)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has conducted aerial counts of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from 1993 to 2014 (excluding 2013)....

  12. The first year of behavioral development and maternal care of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) calves in human care.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, Heather M; Campbell, Carolyn; Dalton, Les; Osborn, Steven

    2013-01-01

    The current study provides additional information for the behavioral development and maternal care of belugas or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the care of humans. The behaviors and mother-calf interactions of two female beluga calves were recorded from birth to 12 months as part of a longitudinal study of beluga behavioral development. As expected, the primary calf activity for both calves involved swimming with their mothers. The calves initiated the majority of the separations from and reunions with their mothers and exhibited early bouts of independence. Both mothers bonded with their calves and displayed similar maternal care behaviors but exhibited different behavioral patterns. Despite differences in social groupings, housing, and physical health, the two female belugas followed the behavioral development of beluga calves observed previously.

  13. Induction of micronuclei in vitro by organochlorine compounds in beluga whale skin fibroblasts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gauthier, J M; Dubeau, H; Rassart, E

    1999-02-02

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St. Lawrence estuary are highly contaminated with environmental pollutants and have a high incidence of cancer. Environmental contaminants may be partly responsible for the high cancer incidence observed in this population. DNA damage plays an important role in the development of cancer. The micronuclei (MN) assay was used to test the genotoxic potential of organochlorine (OC) pesticides with and without external metabolic factor in skin fibroblasts of an Arctic beluga whale. Toxaphene, chlordane and p,p'-DDT induced significant (pSt. Lawrence beluga whales. However, because of the known genotoxicity of toxaphene and the long lifespan of beluga whales, it cannot be excluded that toxaphene may pose a long-term genetic hazard to the more contaminated whales of this population.

  14. Concentrations of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s), Chlorinated Pesticides, and Heavy Metals and Other Elements in Tissues of Belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, from Cook Inlet

    OpenAIRE

    Becker, Paul R.; Krahn, Margaret M.; Mackey, Elizabeth A.; Demiralp, Rabia; Schantz, Michele M.; Epstein, Michael S.; Donais, Mary Kate; Porter, Barbara J.; Derek C G Muir; Wise, Stephen A.

    2000-01-01

    Tissues from Cook Inlet beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, that were collected as part of the Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Project were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), chlorinated pesticides, and heavy metals and other elements. Concentrations of total PCB’s (ΣPCB’s), total DDT (ΣDDT), chlordane compounds, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), dieldrin, mirex, toxaphene, and hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) measured in Cook Inlet beluga blubber were compared with those reported for b...

  15. Uterine adenocarcinoma with abdominal carcinomatosis in a beluga whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lair, S; De Guise, S; Martineau, D

    1998-04-01

    A case of uterine adenocarcinoma is reported in a 26-yr-old, free-ranging beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence estuary (Quebec, Canada). This neoplasm appeared as a segmental stenotic thickening of the left uterine horn composed of well differentiated, but disorganized and infiltrative, glandular structures surrounded by an extensive scirrhous stroma. Abdominal carcinomatosis was observed on the mesosalpinx and on the serosal aspect of the gastric compartments. This is the first report of a malignancy originating in the uterus of a cetacean.

  16. Mercury-induced micronuclei in skin fibroblasts of beluga whales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gauthier, J.M.; Dubeau, H.; Rassart, E. [Univ. du Quebec, Montreal, Quebec (Canada). Dept. des Sciences Biologiques

    1998-12-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St. Lawrence estuary are highly contaminated with environmental pollutants and have a high incidence of cancer. Environmental contaminants may be partly responsible for the high incidence of cancer observed in this population. DNA damage plays an important role in the development of cancer. The micronuclei assay was used to test the genotoxic potential of mercury compounds in skin fibroblasts of an Arctic beluga whale. Both mercuric chloride (Hg) and methylmercury (MeHg) induced a highly significant dose-response increase of micronucleated cells. Statistically significant increases in micronucleated cells were observed for 0.5, 5, and 20 {micro}g/ml Hg and 0.05, 0.5, and 2 {micro}g/ml MeHg when compared to control cultures. Concentrations of 0.5, 5, and 20 {micro}g/ml Hg induced a two-, three- and fourfold increase of micronucleated cells, respectively. Treatment with MeHg was one order of magnitude more potent in inducing micronuclei and in inhibiting cell proliferation than Hg. Although results of this in vitro study do not imply that mercury compounds are involved in the etiology of cancer in St. Lawrence beluga whales, significant increases in micronuclei frequency were found at low concentrations of MeHg that are believed to be comparable to concentrations present in certain whales of this population.

  17. The spiral ganglion and Rosenthal's canal in beluga whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sensor, Jennifer D; Suydam, Robert; George, John C; Liberman, M C; Lovano, Denise; Rhaganti, Mary Ann; Usip, Sharon; Vinyard, Christopher J; Thewissen, J G M

    2015-12-01

    With the increase of human activity and corresponding increase in anthropogenic sounds in marine waters of the Arctic, it is necessary to understand its effect on the hearing of marine wildlife. We have conducted a baseline study on the spiral ganglion and Rosenthal's canal of the cochlea in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) as an initial assessment of auditory anatomy and health. We present morphometric data on the length of the cochlea, number of whorls, neuron densities along its length, Rosenthal's canal length, and cross-sectional area, and show some histological results. In belugas, Rosenthal's canal is not a cylinder of equal cross-sectional area, but its cross-section is greatest near the apex of the basal whorl. We found systematic variation in the numbers of neurons along the length of the spiral ganglion, indicating that neurons are not dispersed evenly in Rosenthal's canal. These results provide data on functionally important structural parameters of the beluga ear. We observed no signs of acoustic trauma in our sample of beluga whales.

  18. Identification of a novel herpesvirus associated with a penile proliferative lesion in a beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellehumeur, Christian; Lair, Stéphane; Romero, Carlos H; Provost, Chantale; Nielsen, Ole; Gagnon, Carl A

    2015-01-01

    The carcass of an adult male beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) was found beach cast in 2008 on the shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary at Rivière-Ouelle, Quebec, Canada. The carcass was transported to the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire of the Université de Montréal for postmortem examination. Aspiration pneumonia was the probable cause of death. Necropsy revealed a focal papilloma-like penile lesion, characterized by focal mucosal thickening with disorganization of the epithelial layers and lymphoplasmacytic infiltration. A pan-herpesvirus nested PCR assay on frozen tissue from the penile lesion was positive. The PCR product sequencing revealed a partial herpesvirus DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene sequence of 600 nucleotides. Its nearest nucleotide identity was with the partial DPOL gene of an alphaherpesvirus, bovine herpesvirus 5 (79.5% identity). It also shared high identity with several other marine mammal herpesviruses (50.2 to 77.3% identity). This new herpesvirus was tentatively named beluga whale herpesvirus (BWHV). Virus isolation was unsuccessful. The pathogenic potential of BWHV is unknown, but the evaluation of archived tissues suggests that the virus is endemic in the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population.

  19. The beluga whale produces two pulses to form its sonar signal

    OpenAIRE

    Lammers, Marc O.; CASTELLOTE Manuel

    2009-01-01

    Odontocete cetaceans use biosonar clicks to acoustically probe their aquatic environment with an aptitude unmatched by man-made sonar. A cornerstone of this ability is their use of short, broadband pulses produced in the region of the upper nasal passages. Here we provide empirical evidence that a beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) uses two signal generators simultaneously when echolocating. We show that the pulses of the two generators are combined as they are transmitted through the melon...

  20. Size and trends of the bowhead whale, beluga and narwhal stocks wintering off West Greenland

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MP Heide-Jørgensen

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available To assess the size and trends of the abundance of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus, the beluga, or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas, and the narwhal (Monodon monoceros visual aerial surveys were conducted in West Greenland in March 1998 and 1999. An estimated 49 bowhead whales (95% CI: 13 to 188 were present at the surface in 1998. Data from land-based observations enabled correction for bowhead whales that were not available at the surface to be seen during the survey. By applying a rounded average of 80% (SE=3 for submergence an estimate of 246 bowhead whales (95% CI: 62 to 978 in 1998 was obtained. The 76 and 47 sightings of beluga pods in 1998 and 1999, respectively, had distributions similar to those of previous surveys with the highest concentration at the northern edge of the northern part of Store Hellefiskebanke. No belugas were seen in the southernmost area between Maniitsoq and Paamiut. The index estimate of the abundance of belugas comparable with previous surveys was 929 (95% CI: 563 to 1,533 in 1998 and 735 (95% CI: 436 to 1,239 in 1999. When analysing the sightings as a line-transect survey and correcting for whales that were either submerged or at the surface but missed by the observers an estimated 7,941 (95% CI: 3,650 to 17,278 belugas wintered in West Greenland in 1998-1999. The uncorrected estimate of narwhal abundance was 524 (95% CI: 214 to 1,284 and correcting for the same biases as for the belugas gives a total abundance of 2,861 (95% CI: 954 to 8,578 narwhals in 1998-1999.

  1. Genetic profiling links changing sea-ice to shifting beluga whale migration patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahoney, Andrew R.; Suydam, Robert; Quakenbush, Lori; Whiting, Alex; Lowry, Lloyd; Harwood, Lois

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing concern over how Arctic fauna will adapt to climate related changes in sea-ice. We used long-term sighting and genetic data on beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in conjunction with multi-decadal patterns of sea-ice in the Pacific Arctic to investigate the influence of sea-ice on spring migration and summer residency patterns. Substantial variations in sea-ice conditions were detected across seasons, years and sub-regions, revealing ice–ocean dynamics more complex than Arctic-wide trends suggest. This variation contrasted with a highly consistent pattern of migration and residency by several populations, indicating that belugas can accommodate widely varying sea-ice conditions to perpetuate philopatry to coastal migration destinations. However, a number of anomalous migration and residency events were detected and coincided with anomalous ice years, and in one case with an increase in killer whale (Orcinus orca) sightings and reported predation on beluga whales. The behavioural shifts were likely driven by changing sea-ice and associated changes in resource dispersion and predation risk. Continued reductions in sea-ice may result in increased predation at key aggregation areas and shifts in beluga whale behaviour with implications for population viability, ecosystem structure and the subsistence cultures that rely on them.

  2. Exchange of “signature” calls in captive belugas (Delphinapterus leucas)

    OpenAIRE

    Morisaka, Tadamichi; Yoshida, Yayoi; Akune, Yuichiro; Mishima, Hideki; Nishimoto, Sayo

    2013-01-01

    Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) produce echolocation clicks, burst pulses, and whistles. The sounds of 3 captive belugas were recorded using 2 hydrophones at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium. There were stable individual differences in the pulse patterning of one type of pulsed sounds (PS1 call), suggesting that belugas use these as “signature” calls. Eighty-eight percent of PS1 calls initiated PS1 calls from other animals within 1 s. PS1 calls repeated by the same individual occurred prima...

  3. Toxic compounds and health and reproductive effects in St. Lawrence Beluga Whales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Beland, P.; Michaud, R. (St. Lawrence National Inst. of Ecotoxicology, Montreal, Quebec (Canada)); DeGuise, S. (St. Lawrence National Inst. of Ecotoxicology, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) Faculte de Medecine Veterinaire, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec (Canada)); Girard, C.; Lagace, A. (Faculte de Medecine Veterinaire, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec (Canada)); Martineau, D. (St. Lawrence National Inst. of Ecotoxicology, Montreal, Quebec (Canada) Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY (United States)); Muir, D.C.G. (Freshwater Inst., Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)); Norstorm, R.J. (National Wildlife Research Center, Hull, Quebec (Canada)); Pelletier, E. (INRS-Oceanologie, Rimouski, Quebec (Canada)); Ray, S. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. John' s, Newfoundland (Canada)) (and others)

    1993-01-01

    An epidemiologic study was carried out over a period of 9 years on an isolated population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) residing in the St. Lawrence estuary (Quebec, Canada). More than 100 individual deaths were aged, and/or autopsied and analyzed for toxic compounds, and the population was surveyed for size and structure. Arctic belugas and other species of whales and seals from the St. Lawrence were used for comparison. Population dynamics: Population size appeared to be stable and modeling showed this stable pattern to result from low calf production and/or low survival to adulthood. Toxicology: St. Lawrence belugas had higher or much higher levels of mercury, lead, PCBs, DDT, Mirex, benzo[a]pyrene metabolites, equivalent levels of dioxins, furans, and PAH metabolites, and much lower levels of cadmium than Arctic belugas. In other St. Lawrence cetaceans, levels of PCBs and DDT were inversely related to body size, as resulting from differences in metabolic rate, diet, and trophic position, compounded by length of residence in the St. Lawrence basin. St. Lawrence belugas had much higher levels than predicted from body size alone; levels increased with age in both sexes, although unloading by females through the placenta and/or lactation was evidenced by overall lower levels in females and very high burdens in some calves. 45 refs., 4 figs., 5 tabs.

  4. Genetic profiling links changing sea-ice to shifting beluga whale migration patterns

    OpenAIRE

    2016-01-01

    There is increasing concern over how Arctic fauna will adapt to climate related changes in sea-ice. We used long-term sighting and genetic data on beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in conjunction with multi-decadal patterns of sea-ice in the Pacific Arctic to investigate the influence of sea-ice on spring migration and summer residency patterns. Substantial variations in sea-ice conditions were detected across seasons, years and sub-regions, revealing ice–ocean dynamics more complex than ...

  5. Habitat selection by two beluga whale populations in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laidre, Kristin L.; Stern, Harry L.; Moore, Sue E.; Suydam, Robert S.; Richard, Pierre R.

    2017-01-01

    There has been extensive sea ice loss in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas where two beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) populations occur between July-November. Our goal was to develop population-specific beluga habitat selection models that quantify relative use of sea ice and bathymetric features related to oceanographic processes, which can provide context to the importance of changing sea ice conditions. We established habitat selection models that incorporated daily sea ice measures (sea ice concentration, proximity to ice edge and dense ice) and bathymetric features (slope, depth, proximity to the continental slope, Barrow Canyon, and shore) to establish quantitative estimates of habitat use for the Eastern Chukchi Sea (‘Chukchi’) and Eastern Beaufort Sea (‘Beaufort’) populations. We applied ‘used v. available’ resource selection functions to locations of 65 whales tagged from 1993–2012, revealing large variations in seasonal habitat selection that were distinct between sex and population groups. Chukchi whales of both sexes were predicted to use areas in close proximity to Barrow Canyon (typically <200 km) as well as the continental slope in summer, although deeper water and denser ice were stronger predictors for males than females. Habitat selection differed more between sexes for Beaufort belugas. Beaufort males selected higher ice concentrations (≥40%) than females (0–40%) in July-August. Proximity to shore (<200 km) strongly predicted summer habitat of Beaufort females, while distance to the ice edge was important for male habitat selection, especially during westward migration in September. Overall, our results indicate that sea ice variables were rarely the primary drivers of beluga summer-fall habitat selection. While diminished sea ice may indirectly affect belugas through changes in the ecosystem, associations with bathymetric features that affect prey availability seemed key to habitat selection during summer and fall. These

  6. Validation of dentine deposition rates in beluga whales by interspecies cross dating of temporal δ13C trends in teeth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cory JD Matthews

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Isotopic time series from sequentially sampled growth layer groups (GLGs in marine mammal teeth can be combined to build chronologies allowing assessment of isotopic variation in marine ecosystems. Synchronous recording of baseline isotopic variation across dentinal GLGs of species with temporal and spatial overlap in foraging offers a unique opportunity for validation of marine mammal age estimation procedures through calibration of GLG deposition rates in one species against another whose GLG deposition has been independently determined. In this study, we compare trends in stable carbon isotope ratios (d13C across dentinal GLGs of three eastern Canadian Arctic (ECA beluga (Delphinapterus leucas populations through the 1960s-2000s with a d13C time series measured across dentinal GLGs of ECA/Northwest Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca from 1944-1999. We use confirmed annual GLG deposition in killer whales as a means to assess beluga GLG deposition, and show linear d13C declines across chronologies of both species were statistically indistinguishable when based on annual GLG deposition in beluga whales, but differed when based on biannual deposition. We suggest d13C declines reflect the oceanic 13C Suess effect, and provide additional support for annual GLG deposition in beluga whales by comparing rates of d13C declines across beluga GLGs with published annual d13C declines attributed to the oceanic 13C Suess effect in the North Atlantic.

  7. Mercury toxicity in beluga whale lymphocytes: Limited effects of selenium protection

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Frouin, H. [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Rd, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, BC, V8L 4B2 (Canada); Loseto, L.L.; Stern, G.A. [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Freshwater Institute, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N6 (Canada); Haulena, M. [Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC, V6G 3E2 (Canada); Ross, P.S., E-mail: peter.s.ross@dfo-mpo.gc.ca [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, 9860 West Saanich Rd, P.O. Box 6000, Sidney, BC, V8L 4B2 (Canada)

    2012-03-15

    Increasing emissions of anthropogenic mercury represents a growing concern to the health of high trophic level marine mammals. In its organic form, this metal bioaccumulates, and can be toxic to several physiological endpoints, including the immune system. In this study, we (1) evaluated the effects of inorganic mercury (mercuric chloride, HgCl{sub 2}) and organic mercury (methylmercuric chloride, MeHgCl) on the in vitro function of lymphocytes isolated from the peripheral blood of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas); (2) characterized the potential protective effects of sodium selenite (Na{sub 2}SeO{sub 3}) on cell proliferation of HgCl{sub 2} or MeHgCl-treated beluga whale lymphocytes; and (3) compared these dose-dependent effects to measurements of blood Hg in samples collected from traditionally harvested beluga whales in the western Canadian Arctic. Lymphocyte proliferative responses were reduced following exposure to 1 {mu}M of HgCl{sub 2} and 0.33 {mu}M of MeHgCl. Decreased intracellular thiol levels were observed at 10 {mu}M of HgCl{sub 2} and 0.33 {mu}M of MeHgCl. Metallothionein induction was noted at 0.33 {mu}M of MeHgCl. Concurrent exposure of Se provided a degree of protection against the highest concentrations of inorganic Hg (3.33 and 10 {mu}M) or organic Hg (10 {mu}M) for T-lymphocytes. This in vitro protection of Se against Hg toxicity to lymphocytes may contribute to the in vivo protection in beluga whales exposed to high Hg concentrations. Current Hg levels in free-ranging beluga whales from the Arctic fall into the range of exposures which elicited effects on lymphocytes in our study, highlighting the potential for effects on host resistance to disease. The implications of a changing Arctic climate on Hg fate in beluga food webs and the consequences for the health of beluga whales remain pressing research needs.

  8. Wind-dependent beluga whale dive behavior in Barrow Canyon, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stafford, K. M.; Citta, J. J.; Okkonen, S. R.; Suydam, R. S.

    2016-12-01

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are the most abundant cetacean in the Arctic. The Barrow Canyon region, Alaska, is a hotspot for Pacific Arctic belugas, likely because the oceanographic environment provides reliable foraging opportunities. Fronts are known to promote the concentration of planktonic prey; when Barrow-area winds are weak or from the west, a front associated with the Alaskan Coastal Current (ACC) intensifies. This front is weakened or disrupted when strong easterly winds slow or displace the ACC. To determine if winds influence the diving depth of belugas, we used generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) to examine how the dive behavior of animals instrumented with satellite-linked time-depth recorders varied with wind conditions. When projected along-canyon winds are from the WSW and the front associated with the ACC is enhanced, belugas tend to target shallower depths (10-100 m) associated with the front. In contrast, when strong winds from the ENE displaced the ACC, belugas tended to spend more time at depths >200 m where the Arctic halocline grades into relatively warmer Atlantic Water (AW). The probability of diving to >200 m, the number of dives >200 m, and the amount of time spent below 200 m were all significantly related to along-canyon wind stress (p<0.01). From these results and known relationships between wind stress, currents and frontal structure in Barrow Canyon and the characteristic vertical distribution of Arctic cod, we infer that the probability of belugas targeting different depth regimes is based upon how wind stress affects the relative foraging opportunities between these depth regimes. Belugas are known to target AW throughout the Beaufort Sea; however, this is the first work to show that the probability of targeting the AW layer is related to wind stress.

  9. Decadal shifts in autumn migration timing by Pacific Arctic beluga whales are related to delayed annual sea ice formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hauser, Donna D W; Laidre, Kristin L; Stafford, Kathleen M; Stern, Harry L; Suydam, Robert S; Richard, Pierre R

    2016-12-21

    Migrations are often influenced by seasonal environmental gradients that are increasingly being altered by climate change. The consequences of rapid changes in Arctic sea ice have the potential to affect migrations of a number of marine species whose timing is temporally matched to seasonal sea ice cover. This topic has not been investigated for Pacific Arctic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) that follow matrilineally maintained autumn migrations in the waters around Alaska and Russia. For the sympatric Eastern Chukchi Sea ('Chukchi') and Eastern Beaufort Sea ('Beaufort') beluga populations, we examined changes in autumn migration timing as related to delayed regional sea ice freeze-up since the 1990s, using two independent data sources (satellite telemetry data and passive acoustics) for both populations. We compared dates of migration between 'early' (1993-2002) and 'late' (2004-2012) tagging periods. During the late tagging period, Chukchi belugas had significantly delayed migrations (by 2 to >4 weeks, depending on location) from the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Spatial analyses also revealed that departure from Beaufort Sea foraging regions by Chukchi whales was postponed in the late period. Chukchi beluga autumn migration timing occurred significantly later as regional sea ice freeze-up timing became later in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering seas. In contrast, Beaufort belugas did not shift migration timing between periods, nor was migration timing related to freeze-up timing, other than for southward migration at the Bering Strait. Passive acoustic data from 2008 to 2014 provided independent and supplementary support for delayed migration from the Beaufort Sea (4 day yr(-1) ) by Chukchi belugas. Here, we report the first phenological study examining beluga whale migrations within the context of their rapidly transforming Pacific Arctic ecosystem, suggesting flexible responses that may enable their persistence yet also complicate predictions of how

  10. Pathology and toxicology of beluga whales from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada. Past, present and future.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martineau, D; De Guise, S; Fournier, M; Shugart, L; Girard, C; Lagacé, A; Béland, P

    1994-09-16

    An indigenous population of 450-500 beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St. Lawrence Estuary has been exposed chronically for more than 50 years to a complex mixture of industrial pollutants including organochlorinated compounds (OC), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals. From 1983 to 1990, we have necropsied 45 well preserved carcasses out of a total of 120 beluga whales reported dead over this period. Of these 45 animals, nine were affected by 10 malignant neoplasms. Fifteen animals (33%) were affected by pneumonia. Milk production was compromised in eight of 17 mature females (41%), by inflammatory changes (seven animals) and cancer (one animal) which affected the mammary glands. Opportunistic bacteria were found in pure culture, and/or in significant amounts in at least two organs in 20 belugas (44%). The concentrations of both total PCBs and highly chlorinated PCB congeners were much higher in St. Lawrence animals than in Arctic beluga whales. OC-induced immunosuppression has been repeatedly demonstrated in a wide variety of animal species. Therefore, it is probable that the immune functions of St. Lawrence beluga whales are impaired. Benzo[a]pyrene adducts were detected in 10 of the 11 St. Lawrence beluga whales of which tissues (six livers, 10/11 brains) were analyzed by a method based on HPLC. No such adducts were found in four Arctic animals. Since benzo[alpha]pyrene is one of the most potent chemical carcinogens known to man, these compounds might be responsible for some of the cancers observed in that population. Overall, our findings contrast vividly with those of others who found that cancers are exceedingly rare in free-ranging odontocete populations and that the major causes for mortalities in these populations are bacteria, parasites, and trauma.

  11. Blow collection as a non-invasive method for measuring cortisol in the beluga (Delphinapterus leucas.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura A Thompson

    Full Text Available Non-invasive sampling techniques are increasingly being used to monitor glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, as indicators of stressor load and fitness in zoo and wildlife conservation, research and medicine. For cetaceans, exhaled breath condensate (blow provides a unique sampling matrix for such purposes. The purpose of this work was to develop an appropriate collection methodology and validate the use of a commercially available EIA for measuring cortisol in blow samples collected from belugas (Delphinapterus leucas. Nitex membrane stretched over a petri dish provided the optimal method for collecting blow. A commercially available cortisol EIA for measuring human cortisol (detection limit 35 pg ml-1 was adapted and validated for beluga cortisol using tests of parallelism, accuracy and recovery. Blow samples were collected from aquarium belugas during monthly health checks and during out of water examination, as well as from wild belugas. Two aquarium belugas showed increased blow cortisol between baseline samples and 30 minutes out of water (Baseline, 0.21 and 0.04 µg dl-1; 30 minutes, 0.95 and 0.14 µg dl-1. Six wild belugas also showed increases in blow cortisol between pre and post 1.5 hour examination (Pre 0.03, 0.23, 0.13, 0.19, 0.13, 0.04 µg dl-1, Post 0.60, 0.31, 0.36, 0.24, 0.14, 0.16 µg dl-1. Though this methodology needs further investigation, this study suggests that blow sampling is a good candidate for non-invasive monitoring of cortisol in belugas. It can be collected from both wild and aquarium animals efficiently for the purposes of health monitoring and research, and may ultimately be useful in obtaining data on wild populations, including endangered species, which are difficult to handle directly.

  12. Distribution of inorganic mercury in liver and kidney of beluga and bowhead whales through autometallographic development of light microscopic tissue sections.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woshner, Victoria M; Ohara, Todd M; Eurell, Jo Ann; Wallig, Matthew A; Bratton, Gerald R; Suydam, Robert S; Beasley, Val R

    2002-01-01

    Inorganic mercury was localized through autometallography (AMG) in kidney and liver of free-ranging, subsistence-harvested beluga (Delphinapterus leucus: n = 20) and bowhead (Balaena mysticetrus: n = 5) whales. AMG granules were not evident in bowhead tissues, confirming nominal mercury (Hg) concentrations (range = 0.011 to 0.038 microg/g ww for total Hg). In belugas, total Hg ranged from 0.30 to 17.11 and from 0.33 to 82.47 microg/g ww in liver and kidney, respectively. AMG granules were restricted to cortical tubular epithelial cytoplasm in belugas with lower tissue burdens; whales with higher tissue burdens had granules throughout the uriniferous tubular epithelium. In liver, AMG granular densities differed between lobular zones, concentrating in stellate macrophages and bile cannalicular domains of hepatocytes. AMG granules aggregated in periportal regions in belugas with lower hepatic Hg concentrations, yet among whales with higher Hg, AMG granule deposition extended to pericentral and midzonal regions of liver lobules. Mean areas occupied by AMG granules correlated well with hepatic Hg concentrations and age. In beluga livers, AMG staining density was not associated with lipofuscin quantity (an index of oxidative damage). Occasionally, AMG granules and lipofuscin were colocalized, but more often were not, implying that Hg was not a prominent factor in hepatic lipofuscin deposition in belugas.

  13. Allelic and haplotype variation of major histocompatibility complex class II DRB1 and DQB loci in the St Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-07-01

    In order to assess levels of major histocompatibility complex (Mhc) variation within the St Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) the variation at the beluga Mhc DRB1 class II locus was assessed by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of the peptide-binding region for 313 whales collected from 13 sampling locations across North America. In addition, samples from west Greenland and the St Lawrence were also typed at the DQB locus, allowing comparison to a previous study and assessment of linkage disequilibrium of alleles at the two loci. Comparisons of DRB1 and DQB allele frequencies among all sampling locations indicated genetic structure (alpha St Lawrence, Hudson Strait, Bering Sea, Cunningham Inlet, and Davis Strait (minus Cunningham Inlet), except the St Lawrence and Hudson Strait for the DQB locus. In the St Lawrence population, six of the eight DRB1 alleles are present representing all five known allelic lineages. Evidence of linkage disequilibrium between the DRB1 and DQB is present in two sampling locations, the St Lawrence and Nuussuaq (alpha = 0.05). Analysis of probable DRB1-DQB haplotypes among groups of beluga suggests a haplotype reduction in the St Lawrence.

  14. Neural and muscular control functions of the gut in odontocetes: morphologic evidence in beaked whales and beluga whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeiffer, C J

    1993-01-01

    The present data provide some new and unique, gastrointestinal morphologic findings in two species of toothed whales, the Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) and the beluga or white whale (Delphinapterus leucas), which are discussed relative to their atypical feeding behavior and alimentary tract functions. Specifically, the findings show myenteric neural modifications and muscularis externa structural specializations which may support voluntary and involuntary fore- and hindgut behavior. Histologic evidence of intercalation-like striations in the gastric and colonic musculature was discovered, as well as an unusual massive size of the colonic myenteric plexuses. These observations, which are not evident in terrestrial mammalian gastrointestinal tracts, may help explain the unusual upper gastrointestinal tract motility such as ingestion-by-sucking in the absence of prehensile teeth and processing of ingesta in a multi-compartmentalized pyloric stomach. Further, the hindgut modifications may help explain the animal's acute, rectal discharge escape mechanism, likened to squid inking, which seems to be an evolved function of some cetaceans.

  15. Acoustic Monitoring of Beluga Whale Interactions with Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Worthington, Monty [Project Director - AK

    2014-02-05

    Cook Inlet, Alaska is home to some of the greatest tidal energy resources in the U.S., as well as an endangered population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Successfully permitting and operating a tidal power project in Cook Inlet requires a biological assessment of the potential and realized effects of the physical presence and sound footprint of tidal turbines on the distribution, relative abundance, and behavior of Cook Inlet beluga whales. ORPC Alaska, working with the Project Team—LGL Alaska Research Associates, University of Alaska Anchorage, TerraSond, and Greeneridge Science—undertook the following U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study to characterize beluga whales in Cook Inlet – Acoustic Monitoring of Beluga Whale Interactions with the Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project (Project). ORPC Alaska, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC, (collectively, ORPC). ORPC is a global leader in the development of hydrokinetic power systems and eco-conscious projects that harness the power of ocean and river currents to create clean, predictable renewable energy. ORPC is developing a tidal energy demonstration project in Cook Inlet at East Foreland where ORPC has a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit (P-13821). The Project collected baseline data to characterize pre-deployment patterns of marine mammal distribution, relative abundance, and behavior in ORPC’s proposed deployment area at East Foreland. ORPC also completed work near Fire Island where ORPC held a FERC preliminary permit (P-12679) until March 6, 2013. Passive hydroacoustic devices (previously utilized with bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea) were adapted for study of beluga whales to determine the relative abundance of beluga whale vocalizations within the proposed deployment areas. Hydroacoustic data collected during the Project were used to characterize the ambient acoustic environment of the project site pre-deployment to inform the

  16. Measurement of Lombard-like response in the beluga whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheifele, Peter M.

    2001-05-01

    Noise pollution has become recognized as a potential danger to marine mammals in general, and to the St. Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) in particular. One method to determine whether noise is having an effect on an animals auditory ability is to observe a natural and repeatable response of the auditory and vocal systems to varying noise levels. This can be accomplished by observing changes in animal vocalizations in response to auditory feedback. A response such as this observed in humans and some animals is known as the Lombard vocal response, which represents a reaction of the auditory system directly manifested by changes in vocalization level. This response is known in humans, songbirds, and some primates. In this research a population of belugas in the St. Lawrence River Estuary was tested to determine whether a vocalization-as-a-function-of-noise phenomenon existed by using hidden Markhov classified vocalizations as targets for acoustical analyses. Correlation and regression analyses of signals and noise indicated that the phenomenon does exist and results of a human subjects experiment along with results from other animal species known to exhibit the response strongly implicate the Lombard vocal response in the St. Lawrence population of beluga.

  17. 77 FR 6065 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-07

    ....) waters. It was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on October 22, 2008 (73 FR 62919... Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA....Lew@noaa.gov . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The population of Cook Inlet beluga whales...

  18. Navigating under sea ice promotes rapid maturation of diving physiology and performance in beluga whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noren, Shawn R; Suydam, Robert

    2016-09-15

    Little is known about the postnatal development of the physiological characteristics that support breath-hold in cetaceans, despite their need to swim and dive at birth. Arctic species have the additional demand of avoiding entrapment while navigating under sea ice, where breathing holes are patchily distributed and ephemeral. This is the first investigation of the ontogeny of the biochemistry of the locomotor muscle in a year-round Arctic-dwelling cetacean (beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas). Compared with what we know about other cetaceans, belugas are born with high myoglobin content (1.56±0.02 g 100 g(-1) wet muscle mass, N=2) that matures rapidly. Myoglobin increased by 452% during the first year after birth and achieved adult levels (6.91±0.35 g 100 g(-1) wet muscle mass, N=9) by 14 months postpartum. Buffering capacity was 48.88±0.69 slykes (N=2) at birth; adult levels (84.31±1.38 slykes, N=9) were also achieved by 14 months postpartum. As the oxygen stores matured, calculated aerobic dive limit more than doubled over the first year of life, undoubtedly facilitating the movements of calves under sea ice. Nonetheless, small body size theoretically continues to constrain the diving ability of newly weaned 2 year olds, as they only had 74% and 69% of the aerobic breath-hold capacity of larger adult female and male counterparts. These assessments enhance our knowledge of the biology of cetaceans and provide insight into age-specific flexibility to alter underwater behaviors, as may be required with the ongoing alterations in the Arctic marine ecosystem associated with climate change and increased anthropogenic activities.

  19. Pathologic Findings and Trends in Mortality in the Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) Population of the St Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada, From 1983 to 2012.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lair, S; Measures, L N; Martineau, D

    2016-01-01

    An isolated population of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabits the St Lawrence Estuary, Quebec, Canada. This population has failed to recover despite the prohibition of hunting >30 years ago, suggesting the presence of other limiting factors. The authors summarize the reported causes of death and propose risk factors to explain the lack of recovery of this population. From 1983 to 2012, a total of 472 beluga were found stranded. Complete necropsies were carried out on 222 beluga, including 178 adults, 25 juveniles, and 19 newborn calves. Infectious diseases, the most prevalent cause of mortality in this population, accounted for the death of one-third of all beluga (32%). Verminous pneumonia was the cause of mortality of 13 juvenile beluga (52% of juvenile beluga). A total of 39 malignant neoplasms, diagnosed in 35 beluga, caused the death of 31 beluga (20% of beluga >19 years old). Median age at diagnosis of cancer was 48 years (range, 30-61 years). Dystocia and postpartum complications were the cause of death in 18 beluga, accounting for 19% of the females >19 years old examined. The occurrence of parturition-associated complications, as well as mortality of calves <1 year old, have increased recently in this population and may be the probable cause of the recent decrease in the size of this population. One of the hypotheses proposed to explain the unusually high occurrence of some of the pathologic conditions observed in this population is chronic exposure to environmental contaminants.

  20. AFSC/NMML: Beluga whale Counts from Aerial Surveys in Cook Inlet, Alaska, 1993-2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The National Marine Mammal Laboratory conducted aerial surveys to monitor the abundance and distribution of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska. This database...

  1. 76 FR 20179 - Endangered and Threatened Species: Designation of Critical Habitat for Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-11

    ... Arctic and subarctic oceans. Five distinct stocks of beluga whales are currently recognized in Alaska... distribution in Cook Inlet such as water temperatures, turbidities, salinities, or the fish species...

  2. Groups of related belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) travel together during their seasonal migrations in and around Hudson Bay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colbeck, Gabriel J; Duchesne, Pierre; Postma, Lianne D; Lesage, Véronique; Hammill, Mike O; Turgeon, Julie

    2013-02-07

    Social structure involving long-term associations with relatives should facilitate the learning of complex behaviours such as long-distance migration. In and around Hudson Bay (Canada), three stocks of beluga whales form a panmictic unit, but have different migratory behaviours associated with different summering areas. We analysed genetic variation at 13 microsatellite loci among 1524 belugas, to test hypotheses about social structure in belugas. We found significant proportions of mother-offspring pairs throughout the migratory cycle, but average relatedness extended beyond close kinship only during migration. Average relatedness was significantly above random expectations for pairs caught at the same site but on different days or months of a year, suggesting that belugas maintain associations with a network of relatives during migration. Pairs involving a female (female-female or male-female) were on average more related than pairs of males, and males seemed to disperse from their matrilineal group to associate with other mature males. Altogether, our results indicate that relatives other than strictly parents, and especially females, play a role in maintaining a social structure that could facilitate the learning of migration routes. Cultural conservatism may limit contributions from nearby summer stocks to endangered stocks such as the Eastern Hudson Bay beluga.

  3. Age and sex distributions in the catches of belugas, Delphinapterus leucas , in West Greenland and in western Russia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heide-Jørgensen, M.P.; Lockyer, C.

    2001-01-01

    with mature females were taken. Age was estimated from Growth Layer Groups (GLGs) in sectioned teeth, assuming the currently accepted criteria of 2 GLGs forming annually. The mean and median ages were increasing slightly in both sexes from Upernavik from 1985 through 1994. Both immature and mature whales were...... taken on the wintering grounds from Disko Bay and south. Estimation of survival was confounded by the large number of whales where only a minimum age could be assigned because of tooth wear at the crown (i. e. no neonatal Line in the dentine). The apparent survival rates for belugas from West Greenland...

  4. Investigation of the Molecular Response of Belugas to Stressors

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    described above were obtained from this related project. REFERENCES Denis, F., Archambault, D., 2001. Molecular cloning and characterization of...mRNA expression levels serve as indicators to assess stress? BMC Veterinary Research 9:145. St-Laurent, G. and Archambault, D., 2000. Molecular ... cloning , phylogenetic analysis and expression of beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) interleukin 6. Veterinary Immunology Immunopathology 73: 31-44

  5. Genetic variation of the St. Lawrence beluga whale population assessed by DNA fingerprinting.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patenaude, N J; Quinn, J S; Beland, P; Kingsley, M; White, B N

    1994-08-01

    Recent surveys suggest that the endangered St. Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) population is not recovering significantly despite 20 years of protection. Dead individuals that have been autopsied show high levels of tumours and infections. This situation could be a result of pollution, loss of genetic variation, inbreeding depression or a combination of these factors. Analyses of DNA fingerprints from St. Lawrence belugas with three minisatellite probes (Jeffreys 33.6, 33.15 and M13) indicate a reduced level of genetic variation compared to Beaufort Sea animals. The average band-sharing between individuals of the St. Lawrence beluga population for the three probes (0.534, 0.573 and 0.478, respectively) was significantly higher than that of the Beaufort Sea beluga population (0.343, 0.424, 0.314, respectively). Higher levels of mean allele frequency in the St. Lawrence belugas (0.33 vs. 0.21) suggest that this population is composed of individuals which are related. Inbreeding depression could therefore be a factor in the lack of recovery of the St. Lawrence beluga population.

  6. Aerial Surveys of Bowhead Whales, North Slope, Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1980-02-01

    general area were 15 to 20 belugas ( Delphinapterus leucas ). They were evenly spaced and were proceeding quite steadily in straight, regular lines on...in polynyas within the ice. In early spring, whales from this population move northward from the Bering Sea, passing St Lawrence and Diomede Islands...Harvard Univ. Press Cambridge. MA. Sergeant. D.E. and W. Hoch. 1974. Biology of bowhead Balaena mysticetus and white whale Delphinapterus leucas in

  7. Analysis of mitochondrial control region nucleotide sequences from Baffin Bay beluga, (Delphinapterus leucas: detecting pods or sub-populations?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Per Jakob Palsbøll

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available We report the results of an analysis of the variation in the nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial control region obtained in 218 samples collected from belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, around the Baffin Bay. We detected multiple instances of significant heterogeneity in the distribution of genetic variation among the analyzed mitochondrial control region sequences on a spatial as well as temporal scale indicating a high degree of maternal population structure. The detection of significant levels of heterogeneity between samples collected in different years but within the same area and season was unexpected. Re-examination of earlier results presented by Brown Gladden and coworkers also revealed temporal genetic heterogeneity within the one area where sufficient (n>15 samples were collected in multiple years. These findings suggest that non-random breeding and maternally directed site-fidelity are not the sole causes of genetic heterogeneity among belugas but that a matrilineal pod structure might cause significant levels of genetic heterogeneity as well, even within the same area. We propose that a maternal pod structure, which has been shown to be the cause of significant genetic heterogeneity in other odontocetes, may add to the overall level of heterogeneity in the maternally inherited DNA and hence that much of the spatial heterogeneity observed in this and previous studies might be attributed to pod rather than population structure. Our findings suggest that it is important to estimate the contribution of pod structure to overall heterogeneity before defining populations or management units in order to avoid interpreting heterogeneity due to sampling of different pods as different populations/management units.

  8. Levels of toxaphene congeners in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard, Norway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, G; Føreid, S; Skaare, J U; Jenssen, B M; Lydersen, C; Kovacs, K M

    2006-03-15

    This study reports concentrations of three pesticide toxaphene congeners (CHBs; CHB-26, -50 and -62) from the blubber of ten adult, male white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard, Norway. The CHB congeners that occurred at the highest levels in the blubber of the white whales were, as expected, CHB-26 (4636+/-1992 (SD) ng/g l.w.) and CHB-50 (6579+/-2214 ng/g l.w.); CHB-62 (232+/-231 ng/g l.w.) was also present, but at much lower concentrations. The mean level of the sum of the three CHBs (SigmaCHBs = 11,447+/-4208 ng/g l.w.) in this study is more than twice the mean concentrations of the well-known organochlorine (OC) pollutants SigmaDDTs (sum of pp'-DDT, pp'-DDE, pp'-DDD) and SigmaPCBs (sum of 27 PCB congeners) previously reported from the same individual white whales. The concentrations of CHBs in white whales from Svalbard are at the high end of the range for concentrations of these compounds compared to other Arctic white whale populations. Additionally, the contribution of CHBs to the overall OC burden is larger in white whales from Svalbard compared with their counterparts from other areas in the Arctic. Male white whales from Svalbard have several orders of magnitude higher concentrations of SigmaCHBs compared to seals and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the same area. The high levels of CHBs in these whales, and their dominance in the OC pattern, suggests that white whales in Svalbard are exposed to high levels of this group of contaminants. Further studies are needed to investigate possible effects of CHBs and other OC contaminants on the white whale population in Svalbard.

  9. Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) granulocytes and monocytes display variable responses to in vitro pressure exposures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, Laura A; Romano, Tracy A

    2015-01-01

    While it is widely known that marine mammals possess adaptations which allow them to make repetitive and extended dives to great depths without suffering ill effects seen in humans, the response of marine mammal immune cells to diving is unknown. Renewed interest in marine mammal dive physiology has arisen due to reports of decompression sickness-like symptoms and embolic damage in stranded and by-caught animals, and there is concern over whether anthropogenic activities can impact marine mammal health by disrupting adaptive dive responses and behavior. This work addresses the need for information concerning marine mammal immune function during diving by evaluating granulocyte and monocyte phagocytosis, and granulocyte activation in belugas (n = 4) in comparison with humans (n = 4), with and without in vitro pressure exposures. In addition, the potential for additional stressors to impact immune function was investigated by comparing the response of beluga cells to pressure between baseline and stressor conditions. Granulocyte and monocyte phagocytosis, as well as granulocyte activation, were compared between pressure exposed and non-exposed cells for each condition, between different pressure profiles and between conditions using mixed generalized linear models (α = 0.05). The effects of pressure varied between species as well by depth, compression/decompression rates, and length of exposures, and condition for belugas. Pressure induced changes in granulocyte and monocyte function in belugas could serve a protective function against dive-related pathologies and differences in the response between humans and belugas could reflect degrees of dive adaptation. The alteration of these responses during physiologically challenging conditions may increase the potential for dive-related in jury and disease in marine mammals.

  10. Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas granulocytes and monocytes display variable responses to in vitro pressure exposures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura A Thompson

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available While it is widely known that marine mammals possess adaptations which allow them to make repetitive and extended dives to great depths without suffering ill effects seen in humans, the response of marine mammal immune cells to diving is unknown. Renewed interest in marine mammal dive physiology has arisen due to reports of decompression sickness-like symptoms and embolic damage in stranded and by-caught animals, and there is concern over whether anthropogenic activities can impact marine mammal health by disrupting adaptive dive responses and behavior. This work addresses the need for information concerning marine mammal immune function during diving by evaluating granulocyte and monocyte phagocytosis, and granulocyte activation in belugas (n=4 in comparison with humans (n=4, with and without in vitro pressure exposures. In addition, the potential for additional stressors to impact immune function was investigated by comparing the response of beluga cells to pressure between baseline and stressor conditions. Granulocyte and monocyte phagocytosis, as well as granulocyte activation, were compared between pressure exposed and non-exposed cells for each condition, between different pressure profiles and between conditions using mixed generalized linear models (α=0.05. The effects of pressure varied between species as well by depth, compression/decompression rates, and length of exposures, and condition for belugas. Pressure induced changes in granulocyte and monocyte function in belugas could serve a protective function against dive-related pathologies and differences in the response between humans and belugas could reflect degrees of dive adaptation. The alteration of these responses during physiologically challenging conditions may increase the potential for dive-related in jury and disease in marine mammals.

  11. Molecular cloning and characterization of CD4 in an aquatic mammal, the white whale Delphinapterus leucas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Romano, T A; Ridgway, S H; Felten, D L; Quaranta, V

    1999-05-01

    Given the importance of the cell surface recognition protein, CD4, in immune function, the cloning and characterization of CD4 at the molecular level from an odontocete cetacean, the white whale (Delphinapterus leucas), was carried out. Whale CD4 cDNA contains 2662 base pairs and translates into a protein containing 455 amino acids. Whale CD4 shares 64% and 51% identity with the human and mouse CD4 protein, respectively, and is organized in a similar manner. Unlike human and mouse, however, the cytoplasmic domain, which is highly conserved, contains amino acid substitutions unique to whale. Moreover, only one of the seven potential N-linked glycosylation sites present in whale is shared with human and mouse. Evolutionarily, the whale CD4 sequence is most similar to pig and structurally similar to dog and cat, in that all lack the cysteine pair in the V2 domain. These differences suggest that CD4 may have a different secondary structure in these species, which may affect binding of class II and subsequent T-cell activation, as well as binding of viral pathogens. Interestingly, as a group, species with these CD4 characteristics all have high constitutive expression of class II molecules on T lymphocytes, suggesting potential uniqueness in the interaction of CD4, class II molecules, and the immune response. Molecular characterization of CD4 in an aquatic mammal provides information on the CD4 molecule itself and may provide insight into adaptive evolutionary changes of the immune system.

  12. AFSC/NMML: Video Analysis for Group Count and Calf Proximity of Beluga Whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska, 2005 - 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — As a part of NMFS management of the endangered beluga whale population in Cook Inlet, Alaska, aerial surveys have been conducted during summer since 1993 to monitor...

  13. Concentrations and patterns of organochlorine contaminants in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard, Norway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, G; Kovacs, K M; Lydersen, C; Skaare, J U; Gjertz, I; Jenssen, B M

    2001-01-17

    Blubber was collected from live-captured, adult male white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard, Norway, and analysed for levels and patterns of organochlorine (OC) contaminants. The OC compounds analysed were HCB, dieldrin, sigmaHCH (alpha-HCH, beta-HCH and gamma-HCH), sigmaChl (heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane, cis-chlordane, trans-nonachlor, and cis-nonachlor), sigmaDDT (pp'-DDT, pp'-DDE and pp'-DDD) and sigmaPCB (27 PCB congeners). The major OC compounds detected in the blubber were sigmaPCB (5103+/-1874 ng/g l.w.) and sigmaDDT (5108+/-1089 ng/g l.w.), which made up 70% of the sigmaOC. These compounds were followed in prevalence by sigmaChl (2872+/-1177 ng/g l.w.), which contributed 20% of the sigmaOC burden. SigmaHCH, HCB and dieldrin were present, but at low concentrations. This OC pattern is typical of top predators in Arctic marine food chains. OC levels in white whales from Svalbard are lower than white whales from the St Lawrence River in Canada and are generally similar to values reported previously for other Arctic white whale stocks. Some geographic patterns in relative prevalence of various OC compounds appear to be quite consistent among various marine mammal species in the Arctic. PCB and DDT concentrations in Svalbard's white whales are below the levels that are thought to have negative effects on reproduction or the immune system.

  14. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts in beluga whales from the Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathieu, A; Payne, J F; Fancey, L L; Santella, R M; Young, T L

    1997-05-01

    The Arctic is still relatively pristine in nature, but it is also vulnerable to pollution because contaminants originating from midlatitudes are transported to the Arctic by atmospheric processes, ocean currents, and rivers (Muir et al., 1992). Recognition of this fact of Arctic vulnerability has resulted in a Declaration on the Protection of the Arctic Environment by eight Arctic countries. A manifest aim of this declaration is to develop an Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program. We report here on the presence of measurable levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-DNA adducts, including relatively high levels in Arctic beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). These results lend support to the value of developing biological assessment programs for Arctic wildlife.

  15. Aerial Surveys of Endangered Whales in the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Northern Bering Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-06-01

    16 Surveys of St Lawrence Island Nome to Point Barrow . . . 16 I Surveys of Barrow Area . . 18 Point Barrow to Deadhorse . . . 20 Surveys from...lease area, the Norton Basin - St . Lawrence Island area, the Hope Basin, and coastal portions of the Chukchi Sea. DESIGN The areas of study are listed...Bowhead Whale 314 857 Balaena mysticetus Beluga Whale** 284 3404 Delphinapterus leucas Gray Whale 2 6 Eschrichtius robustus Ring Seal 250 765 Phoca

  16. Pressure Induced Changes in Adaptive Immune Function in Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas; implications for dive physiology and health

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura A Thompson

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Increased pressure, associated with diving, can alter cell function through several mechanisms and has been shown to impact immune functions performed by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC in humans. While marine mammals possess specific adaptations which protect them from dive related injury, it is unknown how their immune system is adapted to the challenges associated with diving. The purpose of this study was to measure PBMC activation (IL2R expression and Concanavalin A induced lymphocyte proliferation (BrdU incorporation in belugas following in vitro pressure exposures during baseline, Out of Water Examination (OWE and capture/release conditions. Beluga blood samples (n=4 were obtained from animals at the Mystic Aquarium and from free ranging animals in Alaska (n=9. Human blood samples (n=4 (Biological Specialty Corporation were run for comparison. In vivo catecholamines and cortisol were measured in belugas to characterize the neuroendocrine response. Comparison of cellular responses between controls and pressure exposed cells, between conditions in belugas, between belugas and humans as well as between dive profiles, were run using mixed generalized linear models (α=0.05. Cortisol was significantly higher in wild belugas and OWE samples as compared with baseline for aquarium animals. Both IL2R expression and proliferation displayed significant pressure induced changes, and these responses varied between conditions in belugas. Both belugas and humans displayed increased IL2R expression, while lymphocyte proliferation decreased for aquarium animals and increased for humans and wild belugas. Results suggest beluga PBMC function is altered during diving and changes may represent dive adaptation as the response differs from humans, a non-dive adapted mammal. In addition, characteristics of a dive (i.e., duration, depth as well as neuroendocrine activity can alter the response of beluga cells, potentially impacting the ability of animals

  17. Sound and human impacts on beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blevins, Rachael E.

    Cook Inlet beluga whales (CIBs) are a geographically and genetically isolated population residing in Cook Inlet, Alaska year round. The population declined by approximately 50% between 1994 and 1998 and was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. The original decline was attributed to overharvest; however, the population has failed to rebound despite the virtual absence of harvest since 1998. This suggests that other factors, such as declining prey availability, increased predation, contaminants, disease, climate change, catastrophic events, habitat loss, unauthorized take, and underwater noise pollution, may be limiting the population's recovery. The goal of this dissertation research was to study the potential impacts of underwater noise on the CIB population. The objective of Chapter 1 was to study CIB acoustic behavior to gain a greater understanding of how CIBs utilize sound. The objective of Chapter 2 was to measure underwater sound levels in Cook Inlet to understand the background noise levels with which CIBs must cope. The objective of Chapter 3 was to document reactions of CIBs to noise disturbance utilizing local ecological knowledge to allow insight into the potential impacts of noise on beluga behavior. The results of Chapter 1 showed that belugas exhibit significant seasonal and spatial variation in calling behavior which suggested differences in habitat usage or differences in the surrounding environment, including background noise levels. The results of Chapter 2 showed that root mean square sound pressure levels exhibited high variation with the highest levels recorded in the 100 Hz frequency band. The seasonal differences in sound levels observed in this study were likely due to greater small vessel traffic and oil and gas development activities in the summer than the winter. In Chapter 3, participants reported observations of CIBs exhibiting avoidance reactions to noise sources including boats, planes, explosions, pile

  18. Shipping noise in whale habitat: Characteristics, sources, budget, and impact on belugas in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park hub

    OpenAIRE

    Gervaise, Cedric; Simard, Yvan; Roy, Nathalie; Kinda, Bazile; Menard, Nadia

    2012-01-01

    WOS; International audience; A continuous car ferry line crossing the Saguenay Fjord mouth and traffic from the local whale-watching fleet introduce high levels of shipping noise in the heart of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. To characterize this noise and examine its potential impact on belugas, a 4-hydrophone array was deployed in the area and continuously recorded for five weeks in May-June 2009. The source levels of the different vessel types showed little dependence on vessel siz...

  19. Immunosuppression in mice fed on diets containing beluga whale blubber from the St Lawrence estuary and the Arctic populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fournier, M; Dégas, V; Colborn, T; Omara, F O; Denizeau, F; Potworowski, E F; Brousseau, P

    2000-03-15

    In order to assess the immunotoxic potential of naturally relevant mixtures of PCBs and other organohalogens, C57Bl/6 mice were fed on diets in which lipids were replaced by blubber of beluga whales from the highly contaminated population of the Saint-Lawrence River, and the less contaminated population from the Arctic. Different ratios of blubber from both sources were mixed in order to allow a dose-response study. Mice were fed for a period of 90 days at the end of which their immunological status was monitored. For general parameters such as body weight, weight of the spleen and the thymus no significant effect of diets were observed. The immunological endpoints such as the blastic transformation of splenocytes and the spleen NK cell activity were not significantly affected by any of the diets compared to control diets. While the different cell subpopulations of peripheral blood and thymus were not affected by the diets, a significant decrease was noted in the CD8+ T cell population in the spleen of mice fed with most of the diets containing beluga blubber. Moreover, the ability of splenic cells to elicit humoral response against sheep red blood cells as well as the potential of peritoneal macrophages to perform phagocytosis were suppressed by all diets containing beluga blubbers. In summary, there was no differences between the groups fed with a blubber diet with low and high organochlorine contamination. However, a clear immunosuppression was demonstrated when these groups were compared to the group fed with beef oil. Despite the fact that we cannot exclude a possible contribution of the fatty acid composition of the beluga blubber to the immunosupression, these results suggest the sensitivity of mouse immune system towards organohalogens, and point out the toxic potential of contaminant mixtures as found in the less contaminated Arctic population.

  20. Dtags beluga whale data collected from Bristol Bay by Alaska Fisheries Scientific Center, National Marine Mammal Laboratory from 2011-05-01 to 2014-08-31 (NCEI Accession 0142174)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Suction cup attached multi-sensor tags were placed on beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, to collect depth, 3D acceleration and sound. Data were coupled with...

  1. Surveys of belugas and narwhals in the Canadian High Arctic in 1996

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stuart Innes

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available The summer range of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas and narwhals (Monodon monoceros in Prince Regent Inlet, Barrow Strait and Peel Sound in the Canadian High Arctic was surveyed from 31 July to 3 August 1996 with a visual aerial survey of offshore areas and photographic aerial surveys of concentration areas. The visual survey estimate based on the number of belugas visible to the observers using systematic line transect methods was 10,347 (cv = 0.28. This included corrections for whales that were missed by the observers, observations without distance measurements and an estimate of 1,949 (cv=0.22 belugas from a photographic survey in southern Peel Sound. Using data from belugas tagged with satellite-linked time-depth recorders, the estimate was adjusted for individuals that were diving during the survey which resulted in an estimate of 18,930 belugas (cv = 0.28. Finally, counts of belugas in estuaries, corrected for estuarine surface time, were added to provide a complete estimate of 21,213 belugas (95% CI 10,985 to 32,619. The estimated number of narwhals corrected for sightings that were missed by observers was 16,364 (cv = 0.24. Adjusting this for sightings without distance information and correcting for whales that were submerged produced an estimate of 45,358 narwhals (95% CI 23,397 to 87,932.

  2. Reproductive system impairment of mice fed diets containing beluga whale blubber from the St Lawrence estuary and arctic populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruby, Sylvia; Mendoza, Luz Tavera; Fournier, Michel; Brousseau, Pauline; Dégas, V

    2003-06-13

    The toxic potential of naturally relevant mixtures of PCBs and other organohalogens on the reproductive system of C57Bl/6 female mice was assessed. Mice were fed diets in which lipids were replaced by blubber of beluga whales from a highly contaminated population of the Saint Lawrence River, and a less contaminated population from the Arctic Ocean. Ratios of blubber from both sources were mixed in order to perform a dose-response study. Control mice were fed diets for 90 d in which fat was replaced by corn oil or beef tallow. There were no significant effects of diets on body, liver, spleen or thymus weights. Similarly ovulation occurred in all control and experimental groups. However, Graafian follicles from ovaries of mice fed contaminated diets showed abnormal development of oocytes. Cumulus granulosa cells bind normally to the oocyte prior to ovulation and are essential for sperm penetration and fertilization. These cells were absent in both Graafian follicles and ovulated oocytes in the oviduct of all groups fed contaminated diets. Oviducts of these mice revealed evidence of epithelial degeneration. These results suggest the female mouse reproductive system is sensitive to organohalogens and illustrate the toxic potential of contaminant mixtures as found in the less contaminated Arctic population.

  3. Whistle source levels of free-ranging beluga whales in Saguenay-St. Lawrence marine park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le Bot, Olivier; Simard, Yvan; Roy, Nathalie; Mars, Jérôme I; Gervaise, Cédric

    2016-07-01

    Wild beluga whistle source levels (SLs) are estimated from 52 three-dimensional (3D) localized calls using a 4-hydrophone array. The probability distribution functions of the root-mean-square (rms) SL in the time domain, and the peak, the strongest 3-dB, and 10-dB SLs from the spectrogram, were non-Gaussian. The average rms SL was 143.8 ± 6.7 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m. SL spectral metrics were, respectively, 145.8 ± 8 dB, 143.2 ± 7.1 dB, and 138.5 ± 6.9 dB re 1 μPa(2)·Hz(-1) at 1 m.

  4. AFSC/NMML: Cook Inlet Beluga Opportunistic Sightings, 1975 to 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — As a part of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) management of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population, a database of opportunistic beluga whale...

  5. Cook Inlet Beluga Opportunistic Sightings, 1975 to 2015 (NCEI Accession 0142326)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — As a part of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) management of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population, a database of opportunistic beluga whale...

  6. PBDEs and PCBs in the liver of the St Lawrence Estuary beluga (Delphinapterus leucas): a comparison of levels and temporal trends with the blubber.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raach, Meriem; Lebeuf, Michel; Pelletier, Emilien

    2011-03-01

    Due to their lipophilic properties, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are commonly assessed using the blubber of marine mammals. However, these chemicals are also accumulating in other tissues including the liver. Some pollutants, namely perfluorinated alkyl acids, are found predominately in the liver and blood of marine mammals, and thus monitored in those tissues. This raises the question whether any tissue would represent an identical trend of POPs in the SLE beluga. The current study reports the first temporal trends of PBDEs and PCBs in the liver of 65 SLE belugas. Neither ∑₇PBDEs nor major individual PBDE-homolog group concentrations showed significant trends between 1993 and 2007. Also, ∑₃₂PCBs did not change over years, although, tetra-, penta- and hepta-PCB decreased by 7.1, 6.8 and 8.5%, respectively, in males, whereas tetra-, penta- and octa-PCBs declined by 11, 12 and 12.9%, respectively, in females. In order to compare the distribution of POPs between liver and blubber, a lipid normalised concentration ratio R (blubber/liver) for PBDEs and PCBs was calculated for each individual beluga. For all PBDE and several PCB homolog groups, mean R values were not statistically different from unity indicating that the partitioning of these POPs is governed by the tissue lipid-content. Temporal trends of R ratios of PBDEs and PCBs were also examined. There were generally no significant temporal trends except for PBDEs in males where R increased in average by 12.7 ± 2.9% yearly. The stratification of the blubber into a metabolically active (inner) and less active layers (outer blubber) may result in a slower response time of the blubber (full depth) than the liver to the recent change of contamination in the environment and explain the time trend differences between both tissues. This study suggests that the liver is more representative of recent exposure to lipophilic contaminants.

  7. Distribution and abundance of Canadian High Arctic belugas, 1974-1979

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William R Koski

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available We conducted >236,000 km of aerial surveys and some supplementary studies of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas in the central and eastern Canadian High Arctic in 974-79. Belugas that wintered in the “North Water” in Baffin Bay moved southwest into Lancaster Sound in April and early May. The main westward migration into Lancaster Sound occurred over a 2 to 3 week period during late June to late July. Estuaries along Somerset Island were occupied for <3 weeks from mid-July to mid-August. Little feeding occurred in estuaries. From mid-August until fall migration began in mid-September belugas occupied estuaries and offshore waters in Peel Sound. Fall migration eastward through Lancaster Sound was exclusively along the south coast of Devon Island, highly co-ordinated, and rapid; most of the population passed through the sound in <1 week. The whales then moved north along the east coast of Devon Island; some entered Jones Sound while others crossed directly to SE Ellesmere Island. Most calving occurred in July and early August; calving was not seen in estuaries and probably occurred offshore. Excluding calves, adults and yearlings formed 77% and 8.4%, respectively, of the population. The proportion of calves during mid-August was consistent with a triennial calving cycle. During late summer, belugas fed on coastal concentrations of polar cod (Boreogadus saida, under pan ice offshore (probably on cod, and in deep offshore waters. The size of the Canadian High Arctic population in the late 1970s was estimated to be at least 10,250 to 12,000 animals without allowing for animals that may have passed between surveys or that were below the surface at the time of the counts.

  8. Detection and quantitation of benzo(a)pyrene-DNA adducts in brain and liver tissues of Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence and Mackenzie Estuaries

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Shugart, L.R.

    1988-01-01

    It should be noted that there are few analytical techniques available for the detection and quantitation of chemical adducts in the DNA of living organisms. The reasons for this are: the analytical technique often has to accommodate the unique chemical and/or physical properties of the individual chemical or its metabolite; the percentage of total chemical that becomes most of the parent compound is usually detoxified and excreted; not all adducts that form between the genotoxic agent and DNA are stable or are involved in the development of subsequent deleterious events in the organism; and the amount of DNA available for analysis is often quite limited. 16 refs., 1 tab.

  9. Underwater audiogram of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, J; Chun, N; Au, W; Pugh, K

    1988-09-01

    Underwater audiograms are available for only a few odontocete species. A false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) was trained at Sea Life Park in Oahu, Hawaii for an underwater hearing test using a go/no-go response paradigm. Over a 6-month period, auditory thresholds from 2-115 kHz were measured using an up/down staircase psychometric technique. The resulting audiogram showed hearing sensitivities below 64 kHz similar to those of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and Atlantic bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Above 64 kHz, this Pseudorca had a rapid decrease in sensitivity of about 150 dB per octave. A similar decrease in sensitivity occurs at 32 kHz in the killer whale, at 50 kHz in the Amazon River dolphin, at 120 kHz in the beluga, at 140 kHz in the bottlenosed dolphin, and at 140 kHz in the harbor porpoise. The most sensitive range of hearing was from 16-64 kHz (a range of 10 dB from the maximum sensitivity). This range corresponds with the peak frequency of echolocation pulses recorded from captive Pseudorca.

  10. Overview and regional and temporal differences of heavy metals in Arctic whales and ringed seals in the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wagemann, R; Innes, S; Richard, P R

    1996-07-16

    Concentrations of mercury, cadmium, and other heavy metals in tissues of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), narwhal (Monodon monoceros) and ringed seals (Phoca hispida) from across the Canadian Arctic are reported. Published and new information is used to provide an overview of metals in tissues of these animals, to delineate the existence of a spatial trend of mercury and cadmium in belugas and ringed seals, and to show a temporal trend is superimposed on the geochemical trend. Mercury concentrations in tissues of Arctic whales and ringed seals were high relative to the Canadian guideline of 0.5 micrograms/g wet wt., for mercury in fish, except in the skin of belugas (0.59-0.78 micrograms/g wet wt.) and flesh of ringed seals (0.39-0.41 micrograms/g wet wt.). In the flesh of belugas (0.94-1.34 micrograms/g wet wt.), and in the liver of ringed seals, tissues that are also consumed by Native people in the Arctic (8.34-27.5 micrograms/g wet wt.), the guideline value was significantly exceeded. Mean lead concentrations in tissues of belugas, narwhal and ringed seals were generally low (0.002-0.028 micrograms/g wet wt.), except in tissues of belugas in the St. Lawrence River (0.10-0.15 micrograms/g wet wt.). The concentration of zinc in the skin of whales was two to three times higher than in other tissues. The concentration of cadmium in organs was highest in narwhal. There was a positive correlation between mercury and selenium in the liver of all three species. The concentration of mercury in tissues of belugas and ringed seals was higher in the western than the eastern Arctic. This was attributed to different natural background concentrations in the western and eastern Arctic of Canada dictated by different geological formations in the two regions. Cadmium concentrations in tissues of belugas and ringed seals were higher in the eastern than the western Arctic. Zinc and copper in some tissues of belugas and ringed seals were also higher in the eastern than the western

  11. Cancer in wildlife, a case study: beluga from the St. Lawrence estuary, Québec, Canada.

    OpenAIRE

    Martineau, Daniel; Lemberger, Karin; Dallaire, André; Labelle, Philippe; Lipscomb, Thomas P; Michel, Pascal; Mikaelian, Igor

    2002-01-01

    A population of approximately 650 beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabits a short segment of the St. Lawrence estuary (SLE). Over 17 years (1983-1999), we have examined 129 (or 49%) of 263 SLE beluga carcasses reported stranded. The major primary causes of death were respiratory and gastrointestinal infections with metazoan parasites (22%), cancer (18%), and bacterial, viral, and protozoan infections (17%). We observed cancer in 27% of examined adult animals found dead, a percentage similar t...

  12. AFSC/NMML: Dtag Bristol Bay Beluga Data, May 2011 and August 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Suction cup attached multisensor tags were placed on beluga whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, to collect depth, 3D acceleration and sound. Data were coupled with...

  13. AFSC/NMML: Bristol Bay Beluga hearing sensitivity, August 2012 and 2014

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Hearing sensitivity data was collected on beluga whales in Bristol Bay with auditory evoked potential (AEP) methods for the frequencies 4, 8, 11.2, 16, 22.5, 32, 45,...

  14. Aerial Surveys of Endangered Whales in the Northern Bering, Eastern Chukchi, and Alaskan Beaufort Seas, 1985: With a Seven Year Review, 1979-85.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1986-08-01

    8217 . " - • " " " ’ " ’"" . - - - " "" "° " " "" " " , , - " UUSS USSRA as LEGENDJ 0GV S CAPE PRINCE OF WALES % .4(DO crnM BERING SEA OCG 00 M 0a hI)rO 0 0 0 1 Kp 000...o,,o_.._ .- Demarcation Pt Cape Lisbuneo 680I , ialn 680: 660 USSR16 100 15 1 apatocni Prince of Wales AndSK i nest coe s dNo o i 64...and migration patterns of the white whale ( Beluga ), Delphinapterus leucas. Rep. int. Whal. Commn. vol. 30:465-480. 1980. Herzing, D.L. and B.R. Mate

  15. Aerial surveys of bowhead and beluga whales along with incidental sighting of other marine mammals in the Bering, Beaufort and Chukchi Seas for the Bowhead Whale Aerial Survey Project (BWASP), 1979 - 2004 (NODC Accession 0001941)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Minerals Management Service (MMS), previously Bureau of Land Management, has funded fall bowhead whale aerial surveys in this area each year since 1978, using a...

  16. Status of the belugas of the St Lawrence estuary, Canada

    OpenAIRE

    Michael CS Kingsley

    2002-01-01

    A population of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the estuary of the St Lawrence river in Quebec, Canada, was depleted by unregulated hunting, not closed until 1979. Surveys in 1977 showed only a few hundred in the population. Surveys since then have produced increasing estimates of population indices. An estimate of the population, fully corrected for diving animals, was 1,238 (SE 119) in September 1997. The population was estimated to have increased from 1988 through 1997 by 31.4 b...

  17. Bristol Bay Beluga hearing sensitivity data collected from 2012-09-02 to 2014-09-03 (NCEI Accession 0140481)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Hearing sensitivity data was collected on beluga whales in Bristol Bay with auditory evoked potential (AEP) methods for the frequencies 4, 8, 11.2, 16, 22.5, 32, 45,...

  18. Distribution, Abundance, Behavior, and Bioacoustics of Endangered Whales in the Alaskan Beaufort and Eastern Chukchi Seas, 1979-86.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1987-07-01

    Habitat Relationships and Behavior 70 d. Calf Sightings and Estimated Recruitment 72 Other Marine Mammals 72 a. Belukha ( Delphinapterus leucas ) 72 b...been seen in the Chukchi Sea only in 3uly. Other Marine Mammals a. Belukha, or White Whale ( Delphinapterus leucas ) There were 109 sightings of 492...physalus) whales in the St . Lawrence river (Macfarlane, 1981); and minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) off 3apan (Nishiwaki and Sasao, 1977

  19. 75 FR 4528 - Endangered and Threatened Species: Notice of Intent to Prepare a Recovery Plan for Cook Inlet...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-28

    ... plan development. NMFS is hereby soliciting relevant information on Cook Inlet beluga whales and their... Intent to Prepare a Recovery Plan for Cook Inlet Beluga Whales AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service... recovery plan for the Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) and requests information from...

  20. Sound Propagation in Shallow Water. Volume 2. Unclassified Papers

    Science.gov (United States)

    1974-11-15

    sounds generated either by beluga whales [Ref. 24J or by any other marine mammal indigenous to the Bering Sea [Ref. 25]. Beluga whales migrate ...34, "chirping" and "whistling" were recorded near the ice/water boundary predominantly at site I, and to some extent at sites Da and D«* Beluga whales ...34Production of Underwater Sound by the White Whale or Beluga , Delphinapterus leucas (Pallas), "Journal of Marine Research, 20(2), 149-162 (1962

  1. Radiocesium in Canadian Arctic Beluga and Caribou Before and After the Fukushima Accident of 2011

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stocki, Trevor J.; Pellerin, Eric; Bergman, Lauren; Mercier, Jean-Francois; Genovesi, Linda; Cooke, Michael; Todd, Bonnie; Sandles, Diane; Whyte, Jeff [Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, AL6302D, 775 Brookfield Road, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0K9 (Canada); Gamberg, Mary [Gamberg Consulting, Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada); Loseto, Lisa [Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada); Wang, X. [Environment Canada, Burlington Ontario (Canada)

    2014-07-01

    Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, northern Canadians expressed concerns about the levels of radioactive contaminants in important traditional foods. Therefore, a study has been conducted to measure the levels of radionuclides in Arctic caribou and beluga whales. The main radionuclide of concern is cesium-137, which has a half-life of 30 years and is chemically similar to potassium, thereby easily accumulating in plants and animals. Cesium-137 was released into the atmosphere during nuclear weapons tests in the 1950's-60's and during nuclear accidents, such as Chernobyl. Previous studies have been made on the cesium-137 levels in Canadian caribou herds from 1958 to 2000, allowing researchers to determine the amount of cesium-137 in caribou specifically attributable to atmospheric weapons testing and the Chernobyl accident. Samples of lichens, mushrooms, caribou and beluga whales taken before and after the Fukushima accident were freeze dried, homogenized, and measured using gamma ray spectroscopy to identify the radionuclides present and determine the radioactivity concentration in the samples. To determine the efficiency of the detectors for the different sized samples, physical calibration standards were used and virtual simulations were also performed. A comparison of the caribou samples from before and after the accident has indicated no increase in radioactivity as a result of the Fukushima accident. Results are consistent with pre-Fukushima levels for these caribou. No Cs-137 was found in the pre-Fukushima beluga whale samples, even if all the measurements were combined into one spectrum. In the individual post-Fukushima beluga whale samples, Cs-137 was also not found. However, when the post-Fukushima beluga whale measurements were combined, an insignificant amount of radioactive Cs-137 was found. The amount of this Cs-137 was about 200 times smaller than the natural radioactive potassium in the samples. Most likely the

  2. Distribution, Abundance, Behavior, and Bioacoustics of Endangered Whales in the Western Beaufort and Northeastern Chukchi Seas, 1979-87

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-07-01

    the area. Other Marine Mammals a. Belukha or White Whale ( Delphinapterus leucas ) Thirty-three sightings of 140 belukhas were made in the western...contour was clipped near St . Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. Data Processing and Quality Control A computer program (SPEED) was written to screen for...Estimates 42 c. Habitat Relationships and Behavior 43 d. Calf Sightings 44 ix Page Other Marine Mammals 44 a. Belukha, or White Whale ( Delphinapterus

  3. Visibility of St Lawrence belugas to aerial photography, estimated by direct observation

    OpenAIRE

    Michael CS Kingsley; Isabelle Gauthier

    2002-01-01

    The depleted population of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabiting the St Lawrence estuary, Canada, was monitored by periodic photographic aerial surveys. In order to correct counts made on aerial survey film and to obtain an estimate of the true size of the population, the diving behaviour and the visibility from the air of these animals was studied. A Secchi-disk turbidity survey in the belugas’ summer range showed that water clarity varied between 1.5 m and 11.6 m. By studying aerial ph...

  4. A twenty-one year temporal trend of persistent organic pollutants in St. Lawrence Estuary beluga, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebeuf, Michel; Measures, Lena; Noël, Michelle; Raach, Meriem; Trottier, Steve

    2014-07-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were measured in blubber from 144 stranded adult belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) found on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE) between 1987 and 2007. Temporal trends of POP concentrations (ln transformed) in beluga were described by three models, zero slope (ZS), linear (L) and two-segment piecewise (PW). Often two but sometimes all three models were equivalent in describing temporal trends based on Akaike's Information Criterion for small sample sizes. Over this 21-year time period, concentrations of most legacy POPs, including PCBs, DDTs and HCHs, exhibited relatively weak (≤11% per year) but significant decreasing trends in beluga. For PBDEs, temporal trends were best described by a PW model, characterizing a rapid increase until 1997-1998 followed by a slower increase for males and a steady-state for females. Potential cofactors such as blubber lipid content and carcass state of preservation did not show any significant temporal trends over the time period considered. Nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ(15)N) in beluga liver, a proxy of trophic level, could not be associated to any effect on temporal trends of POP concentrations in beluga. Several POPs exhibited significant relationships with age of beluga and data were age-adjusted. Temporal trends of POP concentrations adjusted for age of beluga were reassessed but results were essentially identical as those obtained with the original POP data. Overall, POP temporal trends observed in SLE beluga are consistent with changes expected from regulations and restrictions in the use of these compounds in developed countries.

  5. 77 FR 27283 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-09

    ... in Camden Bay. These species include: beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas); bowhead whale (Balaena... notes reactions of bowhead and beluga whales to certain activities below 160 dB. The letter also states... causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing,...

  6. Visual laterality of calf-mother interactions in wild whales.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karina Karenina

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Behavioral laterality is known for a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Laterality in social interactions has been described for a wide range of species including humans. Although evidence and theoretical predictions indicate that in social species the degree of population level laterality is greater than in solitary ones, the origin of these unilateral biases is not fully understood. It is especially poorly studied in the wild animals. Little is known about the role, which laterality in social interactions plays in natural populations. A number of brain characteristics make cetaceans most suitable for investigation of lateralization in social contacts. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Observations were made on wild beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas in the greatest breeding aggregation in the White Sea. Here we show that young calves (in 29 individually identified and in over a hundred of individually not recognized mother-calf pairs swim and rest significantly longer on a mother's right side. Further observations along with the data from other cetaceans indicate that found laterality is a result of the calves' preference to observe their mothers with the left eye, i.e., to analyze the information on a socially significant object in the right brain hemisphere. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Data from our and previous work on cetacean laterality suggest that basic brain lateralizations are expressed in the same way in cetaceans and other vertebrates. While the information on social partners and novel objects is analyzed in the right brain hemisphere, the control of feeding behavior is performed by the left brain hemisphere. Continuous unilateral visual contacts of calves to mothers with the left eye may influence social development of the young by activation of the contralateral (right brain hemisphere, indicating a possible mechanism on how behavioral lateralization may influence species life and welfare. This hypothesis is

  7. 78 FR 28411 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-05-14

    ... occur in the seismic survey area include nine cetacean species, beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas... exposed to seismic survey noise in the St. Lawrence Estuary (Di Iorio and Clark 2009). The North...

  8. Citrobacter freundii septicemia in a stranded newborn Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández, Antonio; Vela, Ana Isabel; Andrada, Marisa; Herraez, Pedro; Díaz-Delgado, Josue; Domínguez, Lucas; Arbelo, Manuel

    2011-10-01

    Citrobacter freundii, a gram-negative enterobacterium, may cause fatal septicemia in humans and animals. Its potential pathogenic role in cetaceans (bottlenose dolphins and beluga whales) has been hypothesized. Here we describe fatal C. freundii septicemia in a stranded newborn Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris).

  9. 75 FR 54599 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Construction of the Knik Arm Crossing...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-09-08

    ... Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of the KABATA's application and request for the development and... through 2017. Marine mammals, particularly Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), would be... Level B harassment, Cook Inlet beluga whales, harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), harbor porpoise...

  10. Status of the belugas of the St Lawrence estuary, Canada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael CS Kingsley

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available A population of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas inhabiting the estuary of the St Lawrence river in Quebec, Canada, was depleted by unregulated hunting, not closed until 1979. Surveys in 1977 showed only a few hundred in the population. Surveys since then have produced increasing estimates of population indices. An estimate of the population, fully corrected for diving animals, was 1,238 (SE 119 in September 1997. The population was estimated to have increased from 1988 through 1997 by 31.4 belugas/yr (SE 13.1. Observations of population age structure, as well as data on age at death obtained from beach-cast carcasses, do not indicate serious problems at the population level, although there are indications that mortality of the oldest animals may be elevated. Few animals appear to live much over 30 years. From examination of beach-cast carcasses, it appears that most deaths are due to old age and disease; hunting is illegal, ship strikes and entrapments in fishing gear are rare, ice entrapments and predation are unknown. Among beach-cast carcasses recovered and necropsied, about 23% of the adults have malignant cancers, while most of the juveniles have pneumonia; other pathological conditions are diverse. No factors are known to be limiting numbers of this population. Habitat quality factors, including persistent contaminants, boat traffic and harassment, may affect the population’s rate of increase, but these effects have not been quantitatively evaluated. Comprehensive legislation exists with powers to protect the population and the environment of which it is a component, but application and enforcement of the laws is not without problems.

  11. Visibility of St Lawrence belugas to aerial photography, estimated by direct observation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael CS Kingsley

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available The depleted population of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas inhabiting the St Lawrence estuary, Canada, was monitored by periodic photographic aerial surveys. In order to correct counts made on aerial survey film and to obtain an estimate of the true size of the population, the diving behaviour and the visibility from the air of these animals was studied. A Secchi-disk turbidity survey in the belugas’ summer range showed that water clarity varied between 1.5 m and 11.6 m. By studying aerial photographs of sheet-plastic models of belugas that had been sunk to different depths below the surface, we found that models of white adults could be seen down to about the same depth as a Secchi disk, but no deeper. Smaller models of dark-grey juveniles could only be seen down to about 50% of Secchi-disk depth. By observing groups of belugas from a hovering helicopter and recording their disappearances and re-appearances, it was found that they were visible for 44.3% of the time, and that an appropriate correction for single photographs would be to multiply the photographic count by about 222% (SE 20%. For surveys in which there was overlap between adjacent frames, the estimated correction would be 209% (SE 16%. This correction factor was slightly conservative and gave an estimate of the true size of the population, based on a single survey, of 1,202 belugas (SE 189 in 1997. An estimate for 1997 based on smoothing 5 surveys 1988–1997 was 1,238 (SE 119.

  12. Aerial Surveys of Endangered Whales in the Beaufort, Chukchi & Northern Bering Seas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1982-03-01

    sighted north of Cape Prince of Wales . One hundred and sixty-seven beluga , including cow-calf pairs, and 15 aringed seals including cow-pup pairs were... Wales and Cape Sabine), 4 belugas at Pt. Lay, and 3 walrus. 168 165 162 159 156 153 150 71 71 70 - 70 69 69 68 68 67 67 67 ___ 1 .KEY FOR FLIGHT 89 66...sonobuoys, that beluga whales were present. Currently we assume that problems *of sightability are smoothed over time through repetitive sampling of an

  13. Cancer in wildlife, a case study: beluga from the St. Lawrence estuary, Québec, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martineau, Daniel; Lemberger, Karin; Dallaire, André; Labelle, Philippe; Lipscomb, Thomas P; Michel, Pascal; Mikaelian, Igor

    2002-03-01

    A population of approximately 650 beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) inhabits a short segment of the St. Lawrence estuary (SLE). Over 17 years (1983-1999), we have examined 129 (or 49%) of 263 SLE beluga carcasses reported stranded. The major primary causes of death were respiratory and gastrointestinal infections with metazoan parasites (22%), cancer (18%), and bacterial, viral, and protozoan infections (17%). We observed cancer in 27% of examined adult animals found dead, a percentage similar to that found in humans. The estimated annual rate (AR) of all cancer types (163/100,000 animals) is much higher than that reported for any other population of cetacean and is similar to that of humans and to that of hospitalized cats and cattle. The AR of cancer of the proximal intestine, a minimum figure of 63 per 100,000 animals, is much higher than that observed in domestic animals and humans, except in sheep in certain parts of the world, where environmental contaminants are believed to be involved in the etiology of this condition. SLE beluga and their environment are contaminated by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) produced by the local aluminum smelters. The human population living in proximity of the SLE beluga habitat is affected by rates of cancer higher than those found in people in the rest of Québec and Canada, and some of these cancers have been epidemiologically related to PAHs. Considered with the above observations, the exposure of SLE beluga to PAHs and their contamination by these compounds are consistent with the hypothesis that PAHs are involved in the etiology of cancer in these animals.

  14. A morbillivirus antibody survey of Atlantic walrus, narwhal and beluga in Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nielsen, O; Stewart, R E; Measures, L; Duignan, P; House, C

    2000-07-01

    A longitudinal serologic survey was conducted for morbillivirus antibodies in Atlantic walruses (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus), narwhal (Monodon monoceros), and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) from the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the St. Lawrence estuary (Canada). Sixty-five of 131 (50%) walruses sampled between 1984 and 1993 had detectable morbillivirus neutralizing antibodies. Positive walrus were identified from four of five Arctic sampling sites, to as far back as 1984. Prevalence of morbillivirus neutralizing antibodies in walruses from Foxe Basin ranged from a high of 76% (n = 21) in 1993 to a low of 22% (n = 28) in 1984. Limitations in sample acquisition may have produced underestimates for the 1984 data. There are no reports of clinical morbillivirus infection in walruses. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that a morbillivirus similar or identical to phocine distemper virus (PDV) has circulated among walrus populations of the eastern Canadian Arctic, at least since the early 1980s. No narwhal (n = 79) or beluga (n = 445) from Arctic waters were identified as having antibodies to dolphin morbilivirus (DMV) above the threshold serum dilution of log2 4. Also, none of the beach-cast cetacean carcasses (n = 28) from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence estuary were positive for antibodies to DMV. This indicates that Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence estuary, and Arctic cetaceans either have not been exposed to DMV or an antigenically related morbillivirus, or are not susceptible to infection.

  15. A Synopsis of Marine Animal Underwater Sounds in Eight Geographic Areas

    Science.gov (United States)

    1971-05-28

    34. Since then we have found that migrating gray whales produce moans, under- water sounds associated with their blows, and knocking sounds. Moans last...the whales are in a given area, usually as they migrate past, between their summer sojourns to polar waters and their winter movements toward the...its vocali- zations are available from Dr. W. C. Cummings, NUC Code 5054. : ii V, , 71 Delphinapterus leucas--(white- whale or beluga ) The beluga is

  16. Effects of Aircraft Noise and Sonic Booms on Domestic Animals and Wildlife: A Literature Synthesis

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-06-01

    Aquatic mammals: Beluga whale Boat traffic (Acoustical Easily displaced Society of America 1980) Pinnepeds Sonic booms (80-89 dBA SPL) Startle...Arctic mammals are limited. Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) are more easily displaced by boat traffic when feeding, and bowhead whales (Balaena...population of ravens (Corvus corax) to a sonic boom in central Wales Three or four ravens were idling in the upcurrents over a high rock spur between

  17. Detection, Classification, and Density Estimation of Marine Mammals

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-10-01

    beluga and bowhead whale recordings from the Beaufort Sea NOAA-NMML – recordings of many species from the Bering Sea Univ. New South Wales ...whale Antarctic 8594 3 8432.1 Univ. New S. Wales Berardius bairdii Baird’s beaked whale North Pacific 18 7797.1 UW-APL, NMML/NOAA northeast Pacific...Waves, Inc. northeast Alaska Independent researcher Delphinapterus leucas beluga Chukchi Sea Bio-Waves, Inc. St. Lawrence Estuary

  18. Ballroom Music Spillover into a Beluga Whale Aquarium Exhibit

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter M. Scheifele

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available It is not uncommon for modern aquaria to be built with special entertainment areas. There are no known measurements of sound spillover from such entertainment areas into underwater animal exhibits. Entertainment organizations typically prefer to play music for events at 95 and 100 dBA in a ballroom at Georgia Aquarium. Concern over the potential effects of the music and noise on animals in adjacent exhibits inspired an initial project to monitor and compare sound levels in the adjacent underwater exhibits against the typical in-air sound levels of the ballroom. Measured underwater noise levels were compared to modeled levels based on finite element analysis and plane wave transmission loss calculations through the acrylic viewing window. Results were compared with the model to determine how, if at all, the ambient noise level in the Cold Water Quest exhibit changed as a result of music played in the ballroom.

  19. Ballroom Music Spillover into a Beluga Whale Aquarium Exhibit

    OpenAIRE

    Scheifele, Peter M.; John Greer Clark; Kristine Sonstrom; Huikwan Kim; Gopu Potty; Miller, James H.; Eric Gaglione

    2012-01-01

    It is not uncommon for modern aquaria to be built with special entertainment areas. There are no known measurements of sound spillover from such entertainment areas into underwater animal exhibits. Entertainment organizations typically prefer to play music for events at 95 and 100 dBA in a ballroom at Georgia Aquarium. Concern over the potential effects of the music and noise on animals in adjacent exhibits inspired an initial project to monitor and compare sound levels in the adjacent underw...

  20. Baseline Hearing Measurements in Alaskan Belugas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    Marine mammal research permit #14245), Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Georgia Aquarium and the Alaska Sealife Center. The work involved...restrained animals using auditory evoked potential (AEP) methods (Fig 1). Representatives from NMML, ADF&G, Georgia Aquarium and others were simultaneously...PROJECTS 1) Beluga tagging Health Assessment- NMML/ Georgia Aquarium . Collaborators: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska Sealife Center

  1. Aerial Surveys of Endangered Whales in the Beaufort, Eastern Chukchi, and Northern Bearing Seas, 1982.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1983-06-01

    3000 ft). Th~ese images of the meter stick were measured and used in an attempt to calibrate the measurement of wales from photographs. 101 I I S1. Time...APRIL, MAY) survey Effort and Rationale I In the spring, flight effort was designed to find and follow bowhead wales migrating northward through the... beluga whale in Alaska. Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Federal Arctic Wildlife Restoration Project Report, Vol. 7. Krogman, BD, RM Sonntag, DJ Rugh, J

  2. Strategic Investment Plan Fiscal Year 1993.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1993-09-01

    health of world oceans. The beluga whale ( Delphinapterus leucas ) has received increasing attention with respect to environmental contaminants. One...population in particular, that of the St . Lawrence River and Estuary in Quebec, Canada, is now suspected to be severely impacted by a variety of industrial...evidence is mounting that the health of the St . Lawrence population is being measurably threatened when compared to belugas in other Canadian regions

  3. Man in the Arctic, The Changing Nature of His Quest for Food and Water as Related to Snow, Ice, and Permafrost

    Science.gov (United States)

    1962-01-01

    where they lived in the sea. For this reason a seal was given water when brought into the house. Beluga and balaena were given water on being brought...ice When is was necessary to haul wale .’, the estension was unscrewed and the water pressure from below forced the gasoline out of the pipe, which...the whales proper but also the porpoises (Phocaena pho- caena), narwhals (Monodon monoceros), and the belugas (Delphinapterus leitcas) all of which

  4. Estimating the Impact of Whaling on Global Whale Watching

    OpenAIRE

    Kuo, Hsiao-I; Chen, Chi-Chung; McAleer, Michael

    2010-01-01

    After the commercial whaling moratorium was enacted in 1986, whale watching became one of the fastest growing tourism industries worldwide. As whaling was regarded as an activity that is incompatible with whale watching, the possible resumption of commercial whaling caused an urgent need to investigate the potential negative effects of whaling on the whale-watching industry. We examine the potential impacts of whaling on the global whale-watching tourism industry using an unbalanced panel dat...

  5. Estimating the Impact of Whaling on Global Whale Watching

    OpenAIRE

    McAleer, Michael

    2010-01-01

    After a commercial whaling moratorium was enacted in 1986, whale watching became one of the fastest growing tourism industries worldwide. As whaling is regarded as an activity that is incompatible with whale watching, the possible resumption of commercial whaling has caused an urgent need to investigate the potential negative effects of whaling on the whale-watching industry. We examine the potential impacts of whaling on the global whale-watching tourism industry using an unbalanced panel da...

  6. Site Evaluation Studies of the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site for Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material

    Science.gov (United States)

    1988-07-05

    the Bay of Fundy might support as much as 80% of the total summer population south of the Gulf of St . Lawrence . During the high abundance levels of...Suborder Odontoceti (Toothed Whales) Family Delphinidae Family Monodontidae Beluga ( Delphinapterus leucas ) Family Physeteridae Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia...in spring and summer extends from the Gulf of St . Lawrence /Nova Scotia region 249 northward (Sergeant 1966; Sutcliffe and Brodie 1977). In fall and

  7. Whale Teaching Unit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peninsula Humane Society, San Mateo, CA.

    Materials in this teaching unit are designed to foster an interest in whale preservation among intermediate grade and junior high school students. Several readings provide background information on various types of whales and the economic value of whales. Student activities include a true and false game, a crossword, and a mobile. A resource list…

  8. Estimating the impact of whaling on global whale watching

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    H-I. Kuo (Hsiao-I); C-C. Chen (Chi-Chung); M.J. McAleer (Michael)

    2009-01-01

    textabstractAfter the commercial whaling moratorium was enacted in 1986, whale watching became one of the fastest growing tourism industries worldwide. As whaling was regarded as an activity incompatible with whale watching, the possible resumption of commercial whaling caused an urgent need to inve

  9. Whales and Whaling--An Interdisciplinary Course.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Richard D.

    1978-01-01

    Outlines the content of this interdisciplinary course and includes a list of the texts being used. Parts one and two are concerned with the biology of the whale and other marine mammals, while part three covers the whaling industry and related topics. (MA)

  10. War of the Whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Blok, Anders

    2011-01-01

    This article examines some of the difficulties of universalistic science in situations of deep conflict over global nature, using empirical material pertaining to ongoing controversies in the context of Japanese whaling practices. Within global-scale whaling assemblages since the 1970s, science has...... become a ‘‘post-sovereign’’ authority, unable to impose any stable definition of nature on all actors. Instead, across spaces of deep antagonistic differences, anti- and pro-whalers now ontologically enact a multiplicity of mutually irreconcilable versions of whales. Empirically, the article attempts...... to map out a ‘‘cosmogram’’ of Japanese pro-whaling enactments of abundant and ‘‘killable’’ whales. Following the political ecology of Bruno Latour, the global-scale situation is conceptualized as one of cosmopolitics, the politics of forging a common world across divergences in nature-cultures....

  11. Management and recovery options for Ural river beluga sturgeon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Doukakis, Phaedra; Babcock, Elizabeth A; Pikitch, Ellen K; Sharov, Alexei R; Baimukhanov, Mirgaly; Erbulekov, Sagiden; Bokova, Yelena; Nimatov, Akhat

    2010-06-01

    Management of declining fisheries of anadromous species sometimes relies heavily on supplementation of populations with captive breeding, despite evidence that captive breeding can have negative consequences and may not address the root cause of decline. The beluga sturgeon (Huso huso), a species threatened by the market for black caviar and reductions in habitat quality, is managed through harvest control and hatchery supplementation, with an emphasis on the latter. We used yield per recruit and elasticity analyses to evaluate the population status and current levels of fishing and to identify the life-history stages that are the best targets for conservation of beluga of the Ural River. Harvest rates in recent years were four to five times higher than rates that would sustain population abundance. Sustainable rates of fishing mortality are similar to those for other long-lived marine species such as sharks and mammals. Yield per recruit, which is maximized if fish are first harvested at age 31 years, would be greatly enhanced by raising minimum size limits or reducing illegal take of subadults. Improving the survival of subadult and adult females would increase population productivity by 10 times that achieved by improving fecundity and survival from egg to age 1 year (i.e., hatchery supplementation). These results suggest that reducing mortality of subadults and adult wild fish is a more effective conservation strategy than hatchery supplementation. Because genetics is not factored into hatchery management practices, supplementation may even reduce the viability of the beluga sturgeon.

  12. Beluga Whale at Kitty Hawk: An Arts Education Moment in Rural Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conarro, Ryan

    2011-01-01

    In this article, the author relates his experience working for the Department of Education as an "arts content coach" and visiting in rural Alaska's schools. He shares how he is guiding the youths in analyzing the visual elements of stage pictures so that they can create their own tableaux of important historical inventions. He asks some vital…

  13. The International Whaling Commission – Beyond Whaling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew John Wright

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available Since its establishment in 1946 as the international body intended to manage whaling, the International Whaling Commission (IWC has expanded its areas of interest to ensure the wider conservation of whales. Several key conservation topics have been taken forward under its auspices including climate change, chemical and noise pollution, marine debris and whale watching. Work on each of these topics at the IWC has grown substantially since the 1990s and remains ongoing. Important developments were the establishment of the Standing Working Group on Environmental Concerns in 1996 and the IWC’s Conservation Committee in 2003. Trying to address this diverse set of issues is obviously a challenge but will be necessary if the long term conservation of cetaceans is to be achieved. Through research, workshops, resolutions and collaboration with other organisations, the IWC has advanced both the understanding of the various issues and the means to manage them with increasing effectiveness. The IWC is likely to remain on the forefront of continuing efforts to address these, and other, conservation concerns and ensure the continued viability of cetacean populations around the globe.

  14. Right Whale Critical Habitat

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — These data represent the critical habitat for Right Whale as designated by Federal Register Vol. 59, No. 28805, May 19, 1993, Rules and Regulations.

  15. Large whale incident database

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Large whale stranding, death, ship strike and entanglement incidents are all recorded to monitor the health of each population and track anthropogenic factors that...

  16. Gray Whale Calf Production Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Gray whale calf production is estimated from data collected during the northbound migration as whales return to their feeding grounds in the Arctic. Counts of adult...

  17. A Whale of A Controversy

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    Despite heavy international criticism,the Japanese refuse to end their national tradition of whale hunting When the Japanese whale-hunting fleet set sail for the Antarctic waters on November 18,the crew members must have known that their voyage would not be smooth sailing. Japan’s annual whaling program rou- tinely sets off a firestorm of protest from anti-whaling countries and organizations. In January 2006,Greenpeace’s icebreaker Arctic Sunrise collided with the Jaoanese

  18. Results of a modeling workshop concerning development of the Beluga coal resource in Alaska

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This report summarizes the results of a modeling workshop concerning development of the Beluga coal resource in Alaska. The workshop was facilitated by the AEA Group...

  19. The whale footprint

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benusiglio, Adrien; Clanet, Christophe

    2011-11-01

    In their wake whales leave patches of very calm water, with few waves, that can last for several minutes known as whale footprints. The same phenomenon of damping of waves appears near pears of bridges, in the turbulent wake of ships or in rivers re-emergences, thus it appears to be the result of the interaction of a turbulent flow with surface waves. To understand this phenomenon we study the interaction of a single vortex ring with surface waves. We investigate the influence of the size and circulation of the vortex ring. We measure the time of interaction and the size of the resulting patch of calm water. We then verify if our model can explain the whale footprint.

  20. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Williams, R.; Kelly, N.; Boebel, O.; Friedlaender, A.; Herr, H.; Kock, K.H.; Lehnert, L.S.; Maksym, T.; Roberts, J.; Scheidat, M.; Siebert, U.; Brierley, A.

    2014-01-01

    Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted

  1. The Whale That Walked

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    1995-01-01

    Until about 55 million years ago,ancestors of whales and their kind, the cetaceans,were four-legged landlubbers. Gradually they evolved to take advantage of ocean resources and became the sea-dwelling mammals we know today. Now with the discovery of a skeleton in Pakistan,scientists are begin-

  2. Whales: Incredible Ocean Mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devona, Henry

    1992-01-01

    Describes an integrated thematic unit for children from kindergarten to third grade. Explains that the unit incorporates reading, speaking, writing, science, mathematics, social studies, and art into the study of whales. Suggests learning activities on echolocation, migration, measurement, scrimshaw, history, and human interaction with the…

  3. Listening to Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allchin, Douglas

    2015-01-01

    Playing the sounds of whales during a class period can initiate the awareness of the role of wonder in education. Students are inspired to avidly collect fascinating facts to pique their interest and open the door to learning science. Indeed, when asked, teachers typically identify their foremost practical challenge as trying to motivate…

  4. Whale-Watching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lande, Rivian

    1973-01-01

    Describes a program initiated by the Cabrillo Beach Museum (San Pedro, California) and the American Cetacean Society to take students of the fourth grade through high school on half-day cruises to observe gray whales. College students assist in the program with related field projects and presentations in the schools. (JR)

  5. Whales Are Big With Little People.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dommers, John J.

    1981-01-01

    Presented is a discussion on why people should study whales. Background information, learning activities appropriate for different subject areas, and whale-related teaching materials are included. (DC)

  6. Arteriovenous Patterns in Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    exceedingly fruitful since the adult female that was imaged for the venous system provided important insights into the spatial associations and dynamic nature ...dolphin, many other toothed whales appear to have similarly composed and oriented structures, including the deep-diving sperm whales and pygmy sperm ... enhanced venous system from computed tomographic angiogram of an adult female Gray’s beaked whale head. Note the heavy investment of the

  7. Whales from space: counting southern right whales by satellite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fretwell, Peter T; Staniland, Iain J; Forcada, Jaume

    2014-01-01

    We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th) century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km², we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations.

  8. Whales from space: counting southern right whales by satellite.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter T Fretwell

    Full Text Available We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km², we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations.

  9. Whale strandings: hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mawson, A R

    1978-01-01

    The hypothesis is presented that whales become stranded inadvertently as a consequence of seeking stimulation. The animals enter shallow water in order to roll over, bask, and rub themselves in the sand, and are trapped by the receding tide. It suggested that stimulation-seeking behavior (and stranding) reflects a general sympathetic nervous system response which may be due to a number of factors such as pain, discomfort, reproductive state, and other biorhythmic changes.

  10. Alaska Regional Energy Resources Planning Project. Phase 2: coal, hydroelectric and energy alternatives. Volume I. Beluga Coal District Analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rutledge, G.; Lane, D.; Edblom, G.

    1980-01-01

    This volume deals with the problems and procedures inherent in the development of the Beluga Coal District. Socio-economic implications of the development and management alternatives are discussed. A review of permits and approvals necessary for the initial development of Beluga Coal Field is presented. Major land tenure issues in the Beluga Coal District as well as existing transportation routes and proposed routes and sites are discussed. The various coal technologies which might be employed at Beluga are described. Transportation options and associated costs of transporting coal from the mine site area to a connecting point with a major, longer distance transportation made and of transporting coal both within and outside (exportation) the state are discussed. Some environmental issues involved in the development of the Beluga Coal Field are presented. (DMC)

  11. A whale of an opportunity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Laidre, Kristin L.; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Logsdon, Miles L.

    2010-01-01

    Sixty hours of direct measurements of fluorescence were collected from six bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) instrumented with fluorometers in Greenland in April 2005 and 2006. The data were used to (1) characterize the three-dimensional spatial pattern of chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) in the water...... column, (2) to examine the relationships between whale foraging areas and productive zones, and (3) to examine the correlation between whale-derived in situ values of Chl-a and those from concurrent satellite images using the NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) EOS-AQUA satellite...... (MOD21, SeaWifs analogue OC3M and SST MOD37). Bowhead whales traversed 1600 km2, providing information on diving, Chl-a structure and temperature profiles to depths below 200 m. Feeding dives frequently passed through surface waters (>50 m) and targeted depths close to the bottom, and whales did...

  12. Killer Whale Genetic Data - Southern resident killer whale pedigree analysis

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In this project, we are using genetic variation to infer mating patterns in the southern killer whale community. In Canada, this population was listed as threatened...

  13. Indication of a Lombard vocal response in the St. Lawrence River beluga

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scheifele, P. M.; Andrew, S.; Cooper, R. A.; Darre, M.; Musiek, F. E.; Max, L.

    2005-03-01

    Noise pollution is recognized as a potential danger to marine mammals in general, and to the St. Lawrence beluga in particular. One method of determining the impacts of noise on an animal's communication is to observe a natural and repeatable response of the vocal system to variations in noise level. This is accomplished by observing intensity changes in animal vocalizations in response to environmental noise. One such response observed in humans, songbirds, and some primates is the Lombard vocal response. This response represents a vocal system reaction manifested by changes in vocalization level in direct response to changes in the noise field. In this research, a population of belugas in the St. Lawrence River Estuary was tested to determine whether a Lombard response existed by using hidden Markhov-classified vocalizations as targets for acoustical analyses. Correlation and regression analyses of signals and noise indicated that the phenomenon does exist. Further, results of human subjects experiments [Egan, J. J. (1966), Ph.D. dissertation; Scheifele, P. M. (2003), Ph.D. dissertation], along with previously reported data from other animal species, are similar to those exhibited by the belugas. Overall, findings suggest that typical noise levels in the St. Lawrence River Estuary have a detectable effect on the communication of the beluga. .

  14. Gray Whale Population Count Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Gray whale abundance is estimated from data collected during the southbound migration from feeding grounds in the Arctic to breeding grounds in the lagoons of...

  15. Japanese Small Type Coastal Whaling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sue Fisher

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW as well as the 30th anniversary of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC moratorium on commercial whaling. It also marks three decades of effort by Japan to overturn this ban. Its strategy to circumvent the moratorium by issuing permits to kill protected whales for scientific research is famous—even the subject of a 2014 lawsuit at the International Court of Justice. Less well known is Japan’s strategy to overturn the ban by persuading the Commission to authorise a category of commercial whaling known as Small Type Coastal Whaling (STCW that is conducted on minke and other small whales in Japanese waters but has never been regulated, or even formally recognised, by the IWC. For three decades Japan has sought STCW catch limits for four communities which it claims are still suffering distress as a result of the moratorium. While the Commission has rejected each proposal, mainly citing concerns that the commercial nature and purpose of STCW violates the moratorium, Japan has persisted, exhibiting great flexibility in its approach. Its tactics changed significantly in 2014; it no longer denied (or defended the commerciality of the hunt, but argued that it is irrelevant since it sought only a small exemption to the moratorium which would remain intact for all other populations. This is a perspective on Japan’s evolving STCW strategy and the risk that lifting, or modifying, the moratorium would pose to the conservation of whales.

  16. Echolocation in wild toothed whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyack, Peter L.; Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter Teglberg; Zimmer, Walter M. X.

    2001-05-01

    Don Griffin showed more than 50 years ago that bats echolocate for orientation and to capture prey. Experiments also demonstrated that captive dolphins can echolocate; more recent work parallels Griffin's work with bats in the wild. Digital acoustic recording tags were attached to sperm and beaked whales, Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon densirostris, to record outgoing clicks and incoming echoes. The sperm whale data show echoes from the sea surface and seafloor, which are probably used for orientation and obstacle avoidance. When diving, sperm whales adjust their interclick interval as they change their pitch angle, consistent with the hypothesis that they are echolocating on a horizontal layer at the depth at which they will feed. This suggests that they may be listening for volume reverberation to select a prey patch. The beam pattern of sperm whales includes a narrow, forward-directed high-frequency beam probably used for prey detection, and a broader, backward-directed lower-frequency beam probably used for orientation. Beaked whales produce directional clicks with peak frequencies in the 25-40-kHz region. Echoes from individual prey items have been detected from clicks of beaked whales. This opens a new window into the study of how animals use echolocation to forage in the wild.

  17. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-12-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m. This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them.

  18. Calcium-binding protein-containing neuronal populations in mammalian visual cortex: a comparative study in whales, insectivores, bats, rodents, and primates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glezer, I I; Hof, P R; Leranth, C; Morgane, P J

    1993-01-01

    This study is focused on comparative analysis of gamma-aminobutyric acid-positive (GABAergic) neuronal populations in primary visual cortex of totally aquatic toothed whales and select terrestrial mammals with different evolutionary histories and various ecological adaptations. The distribution of neuronal populations containing the calcium-binding proteins calbindin and parvalbumin, which are recognized markers for the GABAergic neurons in cerebral cortex, is compared in five species of toothed whales and in representatives (one species each) of insectivores, bats, rodents, and primates. Computerized image analysis has shown that overall quantitative characteristics of GABAergic cortical neurons in toothed whales are similar to those in other mammalian orders. Thus, GABA-positive neurons represent 26% of the total population of cortical neurons in the visual cortex of whales. Some 97% of GABA-positive cells contain calcium-binding proteins, which is numerically similar to these parameters found in primates and other mammals. On the other hand, the typology and laminar distribution of calcium-binding protein-containing neurons in the primary visual cortex of five whale species (Delphinapterus leucas, Globicephala melaena, Phocoena phocoena, Stenella coeruleoalba, and Tursiops truncatus) differ significantly from those of primates (Macaca mulatta) and rodents (Rattus rattus) and are similar to those found in insectivorous bats (Eptesicus fuscus) and hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus). In whales, bats, and hedgehogs a significant concentration of calbindin-positive, vertically oriented bipolar and bitufted neurons was found in layers I, II, and IIIc/V with their axons arranged in a three-dimensional network. In primates and rodents they are distributed evenly across all cortical layers and are predominantly multipolar or bitufted neurons found in all cortical layers with their axons oriented along the vertical axis of the cortical plate. The parvalbumin-positive neurons

  19. Severity of Expert-Identified Behavioural Responses of Humpback Whale, Minke Whale, and Northern Bottlenose Whale to Naval Sonar

    OpenAIRE

    Sivle, L D; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Cure, C.; Isojunno, S.; Wensveen, P. J.; Lam, F. P. A.; Visser, F.; Kleivane, L.; Tyack, P. L.; Harris, C M; P. J. O. Miller

    2015-01-01

    Controlled exposure experiments using 1 to2 kHz sonar signals were conducted with 11 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), one minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and one northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) during three field trials from 2011 to 2013. Ship approaches without sonar transmis-sions, playbacks of killer whale vocalizations, and broadband noise were conducted as controls. Behavioural parameters such as horizontal movement, diving, social interactions, and v...

  20. 75 FR 1582 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-12

    ... Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources, Alaska Region, NMFS, ATTN: Ellen...: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kaja Brix, (907) 586-7824, or Marta...

  1. Walrus and whale interactions: An eyewitness account

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — An attack by killer whales, (Orcinus orca) on a group of walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) at Cape Peirce, Alaska, is described. The killer whales surrounded, isolated,...

  2. Techniques development for whale migration tracking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goodman, R. M.; Norris, K. S.; Gibson, R. J.; Gentry, R.; Dougherty, E.; Hobbs, L.

    1973-01-01

    Effort leading to the completion of development and fabrication of expansible whale harnesses and whale-carried instrument pods is described, along with details of the gear. Early preparative effort for a January-February 1974 field expedition is reported.

  3. Changes in dive behavior during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales, and sperm whales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sivle, L.D.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Fahlman, A.; Lam, F.P.A.; Tyack, P.L.; Miller, P.J.O.

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of four killer whales (Orcinus orca), seven long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and four sperm whales (Phy

  4. Severity of Expert-Identified Behavioural Responses of Humpback Whale, Minke Whale, and Northern Bottlenose Whale to Naval Sonar

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sivle, L.D.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Cure, C.; Isojunno, S.; Wensveen, P.J.; Lam, F.P.A.; Visser, F.; Kleivane, L.; Tyack, P.L.; Harris, C.M.; Miller, P.J.O.

    2015-01-01

    Controlled exposure experiments using 1 to2 kHz sonar signals were conducted with 11 humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), one minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and one northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) during three field trials from 2011 to 2013. Ship approaches without

  5. Spatial and seasonal distribution of American whaling and whales in the age of sail.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Tim D; Reeves, Randall R; Josephson, Elizabeth A; Lund, Judith N

    2012-01-01

    American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18(th) to early 20(th) centuries, searching for whales throughout the world's oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena spp.), the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling.

  6. Spatial and seasonal distribution of American whaling and whales in the age of sail.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim D Smith

    Full Text Available American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18(th to early 20(th centuries, searching for whales throughout the world's oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus and right whales (Eubalaena spp., the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae, and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus. Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling.

  7. Building Whales in Sand and Mind.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warner, Carolyn

    1980-01-01

    Describes two-week summer workshops on evolution, adaptation, and behavior of whales, conducted for children by Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum (New York), and culminating in creation of life-size sand sculptures of whales. Provides selected list of periodicals, teaching materials, identification guides, records, and societies devoted to whales…

  8. Whaling: will the Phoenix rise again?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holt, Sidney J

    2007-08-01

    It is argued that Japan's authorities and entrepreneurs involved in whaling and the whale-meat trade have a long-term goal of rebuilding a large and profitable industry of pelagic whaling, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, in the next 20 years or so. They have made large investments in this enterprise since the so-called moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted by the International Whaling Commission in 1982. These include, but are not confined to, state subsidizing of an expanding and diversifying 20-year programme of commercial whaling under provisions in all relevant international agreements since 1937 that permit unlimited and unilaterally decreed whaling, supposedly for scientific purposes, provided that the commodities from the whales killed are fully utilized. The context of this is the monopoly of technical knowledge, special skills and the market for valuable whale-meat that Japanese enterprises acquired in the post-world war II period, having broken - in 1937 - the strongly defended de facto Anglo-Norwegian monopoly of technology, skills, access to Antarctic whaling grounds and the market for whale-oil that had existed until then. The attraction of 'scientific whaling' is not only that it by-passes any internationally agreed catch-limits but that it also circumvents all other rules - many dating fr/om the League of Nations whaling convention of 1931 - regarding protected species, closed areas, killing of juveniles, less inhumane killing methods, etc. The groundwork is being laid to justify that resumed whaling on partially recovered whale stocks will be at the unsustainable levels that will be profitable again. This justification is based on spurious assertions that numerous and hungry whales threaten the world's fisheries, and that the abundance and possible increase in some whale species is impeding the recovery of other, severely depleted, and potentially more valuable species such as the blue whale. If the scenario presented here is correct

  9. Beluga coal field development: social effects and management alternatives. [West side of Cook Inlet

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Olsen, M.; Cluett, C.; Trimble, J.; Brody, S.; Howell, C.; Leman, L.; Svendsen, G.

    1979-05-01

    Plans are under way to mine the Beluga coal fields on the west side of Cook Inlet. The coal will be strip-mined for export, or to supply local electric generating plants, or both. Over the next 20 years, this coal development activity is likely to generate social and economic impacts at the local, regional, and state levels. The purpose of this study is to assess the potential social and economic effects of coal development, including employment and population growth, regional impacts, and the facility and service needs of a new settlement in the Beluga area. Of special concern is identifying the role of various governmental agencies in the development process. Potential effects on the natural environment are not examined in detail since they are expected to be controlled to acceptable levels through existing Federal and state laws. This report examines three possible levels of coal-field development and the settlement requirements associated with each. The most probable regional impacts associated with this development will include effects on the regional labor force, the market for coal, and the generation and distribution of revenues. The main regional labor force impacts will be positive in nature. The rate of regional unemployment is likely to decline slightly for the duration of the project, with an increase in wage income available for reinvestment in the region and a reduction in the number of individuals receiving unemployment insurance payments. Coal development is not expected to induce any significant inmigration of workers from outside the region.The development of the Beluga coal resources and the production of electricity from coal would add to the Kenai Peninsula Borough's tax base. The assessed value of coal lands around Beluga would likely increase and, in addition, Cook Inlet Region, Inc. would be the recipient of royalties from coal leases. A number of recommendations for research and governmental activities are presented.

  10. Lethal entanglement in baleen whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cassoff, Rachel M; Moore, Kathleen M; McLellan, William A; Barco, Susan G; Rotsteins, David S; Moore, Michael J

    2011-10-06

    Understanding the scenarios whereby fishing gear entanglement of large whales induces mortality is important for the development of mitigation strategies. Here we present a series of 21 cases involving 4 species of baleen whales in the NW Atlantic, describing the available sighting history, necropsy observations, and subsequent data analyses that enabled the compilation of the manners in which entanglement can be lethal. The single acute cause of entanglement mortality identified was drowning from entanglement involving multiple body parts, with the animal's inability to surface. More protracted causes of death included impaired foraging during entanglement, resulting in starvation after many months; systemic infection arising from open, unresolved entanglement wounds; and hemorrhage or debilitation due to severe gear-related damage to tissues. Serious gear-induced injury can include laceration of large vessels, occlusion of the nares, embedding of line in growing bone, and massive periosteal proliferation of new bone in an attempt to wall off constricting, encircling lines. These data show that baleen whale entanglement is not only a major issue for the conservation of some baleen whale populations, but is also a major concern for the welfare of each affected individual.

  11. Population Parameters of Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    of deep diving cetaceans , their use of the habitat, and their sensitivity to human interactions . The results will facilitate improved regional...augment the sparse knowledge of beaked whale population biology, facilitating the assessment of possible population effects of human impacts...potential population effects of human impacts. Economic development Economic development is often related to increasing noise levels in the ocean

  12. Keiko, Killer Whale. [Lesson Plan].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Discovery Communications, Inc., Bethesda, MD.

    This lesson plan presents activities designed to help students understand that Keiko, the killer whale, lived for a long time in an aquarium and had to be taught to live independently; and that computer users can get updates on how Keiko is doing. The main activity of the lesson involves middle school students working in small groups to produce a…

  13. Extreme diving of beaked whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyack, Peter L; Johnson, Mark; Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Sturlese, Albert; Madsen, Peter T

    2006-11-01

    Sound-and-orientation recording tags (DTAGs) were used to study 10 beaked whales of two poorly known species, Ziphius cavirostris (Zc) and Mesoplodon densirostris (Md). Acoustic behaviour in the deep foraging dives performed by both species (Zc: 28 dives by seven individuals; Md: 16 dives by three individuals) shows that they hunt by echolocation in deep water between 222 and 1885 m, attempting to capture about 30 prey/dive. This food source is so deep that the average foraging dives were deeper (Zc: 1070 m; Md: 835 m) and longer (Zc: 58 min; Md: 47 min) than reported for any other air-breathing species. A series of shallower dives, containing no indications of foraging, followed most deep foraging dives. The average interval between deep foraging dives was 63 min for Zc and 92 min for Md. This long an interval may be required for beaked whales to recover from an oxygen debt accrued in the deep foraging dives, which last about twice the estimated aerobic dive limit. Recent reports of gas emboli in beaked whales stranded during naval sonar exercises have led to the hypothesis that their deep-diving may make them especially vulnerable to decompression. Using current models of breath-hold diving, we infer that their natural diving behaviour is inconsistent with known problems of acute nitrogen supersaturation and embolism. If the assumptions of these models are correct for beaked whales, then possible decompression problems are more likely to result from an abnormal behavioural response to sonar.

  14. Arteriovenous Patterns in Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Arteriovenous patterns in beaked whales Alexander M...from which future morphological (e.g. acoustic pathways), pathophysiological (e.g. decompression sickness and embolus formation) and mathematical...extramandibular fat body (EMFB), intramandibular fat body (IMFB) and pterygoid venous lake. 2) To describe the vascular morphology of the pulmonary system

  15. The Diet Composition of Beaked Whales and Melon-Headed Whales from the North Pacific

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. The Diet Composition of Beaked Whales and Melon-Headed... Whales from the North Pacific Kristi West College of Natural and Computational Science Hawaii Pacific University 45-045 Kamehameha Hwy...contents of stranded animals are rarely available. Very little information on food habits of most species of beaked whales or of melon-headed whales

  16. Wandering whales?: Relationships between baleen whales and the sea ice environment in the Southern Ocean

    OpenAIRE

    Beekmans, Bas

    2017-01-01

    Each austral summer large baleen whales migrate into the Southern Ocean to feed on krill. The melting of sea ice leads to algal blooms which allow rapid growth and development of krill. In order to predict how baleen whales will respond to long-term changes in the physical environment, we need to understand the relationships between baleen whales, their prey and the physical environment. The spatial models in this thesis are based on visual observations by whale observers onboard ships in ope...

  17. Changes in dive behaviour during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales and sperm whales

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lise Doksæter Sivle

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of 5 killer whales (Orcinus orca, 7 long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas and 4 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus were studied during controlled exposures to naval sonar (LFAS: 1-2 kHz and MFAS: 6-7 kHz during three field seasons (2006-2009. Diving behavior was monitored before, during and after sonar exposure using an archival tag placed on the animal with suction cups. The tag recorded the animal’s vertical movement, and additional data on horizontal movement and vocalizations were used to determine behavioral modes. Killer whales that were conducting deep dives at sonar onset changed abruptly to shallow diving during LFAS, while killer whales conducting deep dives at the onset of MFAS did not alter dive mode. When in shallow diving mode at sonar onset, killer whales did not change their diving behavior. Pilot and sperm whales performed normal deep dives during MFAS exposure. During LFAS exposures, long-finned pilot whales mostly performed fewer deep dives and some sperm whales performed shallower and shorter dives. Acoustic recording data presented previously indicates that deep diving is associated with feeding. Therefore, the observed changes in dive behavior of the three species could potentially reduce the foraging efficiency of the affected animals.

  18. Changes in dive behavior during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales, and sperm whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sivle, L D; Kvadsheim, P H; Fahlman, A; Lam, F P A; Tyack, P L; Miller, P J O

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of four killer whales (Orcinus orca), seven long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and four sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) was studied during controlled exposures to naval sonar [low frequency active sonar (LFAS): 1-2 kHz and mid frequency active sonar (MFAS): 6-7 kHz] during three field seasons (2006-2009). Diving behavior was monitored before, during and after sonar exposure using an archival tag placed on the animal with suction cups. The tag recorded the animal's vertical movement, and additional data on horizontal movement and vocalizations were used to determine behavioral modes. Killer whales that were conducting deep dives at sonar onset changed abruptly to shallow diving (ShD) during LFAS, while killer whales conducting deep dives at the onset of MFAS did not alter dive mode. When in ShD mode at sonar onset, killer whales did not change their diving behavior. Pilot and sperm whales performed normal deep dives (NDD) during MFAS exposure. During LFAS exposures, long-finned pilot whales mostly performed fewer deep dives and some sperm whales performed shallower and shorter dives. Acoustic recording data presented previously indicates that deep diving (DD) is associated with feeding. Therefore, the observed changes in dive behavior of the three species could potentially reduce the foraging efficiency of the affected animals.

  19. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment

    OpenAIRE

    Williams, R.; Kelly, N; O. Boebel; Friedlaender, A.; Herr, H.; Kock, K. H.; Lehnert, L. S.; Maksym, T.; Roberts, J.; Scheidat, M.; Siebert, U; Brierley, A

    2014-01-01

    Funding: Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme (proposal Nu 253407 (call reference: FP7- PEOPLE-2009-IIF). Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted within Antarctic sea ice ...

  20. The Whales: A Pharmacist's Story.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willis, William R

    2007-01-01

    It is a daily occurrence for Grandpa's Compounding Pharmacy in Placerville, California, to compound preparations to meet the unique needs of individual human and animal patients. However, until May 2007, there had never been a request for compounded medications for patients weighing 12,500 pounds or 55,000 pounds! When two Eastern North Pacific humpback whales (mother and daughter) were traveling their instinctive route north to Oregon, they were for some unknown reason diverted into the San Fransico Bay and eventually up the Sacramento River Delta, where they became stranded. When it was determined by several government and volunteer agencies that the whales needed medical attention, Grandpa's Compounding Pharmacy was contacted to compound antibiotics in large quantitites to save these misguided sea occupants. The pharmacy rose to the challenge of what may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience and successfuly compounded lifesaving medications for these patients in crisis.

  1. Mapping the Super-Whale

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Blok, Anders

    2010-01-01

    at their core. Drawing on actor-network theory (ANT), this article suggests an alternative framework for mobile ethnography, better suited to a social world conceived in network-relational terms. Employing metaphors of mobility, scale-making, and cartography, an empirically driven approach to situated...... and plural 'globalities' is outlined. These claims are developed drawing on the author's inquiries into Japanese whaling practices, showing how 'ethno-socio-cartography' can contribute to the mapping of global-scale micro-cosmoses....

  2. Culture in whales and dolphins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rendell, L; Whitehead, H

    2001-04-01

    Studies of animal culture have not normally included a consideration of cetaceans. However, with several long-term field studies now maturing, this situation should change. Animal culture is generally studied by either investigating transmission mechanisms experimentally, or observing patterns of behavioural variation in wild populations that cannot be explained by either genetic or environmental factors. Taking this second, ethnographic, approach, there is good evidence for cultural transmission in several cetacean species. However, only the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops) has been shown experimentally to possess sophisticated social learning abilities, including vocal and motor imitation; other species have not been studied. There is observational evidence for imitation and teaching in killer whales. For cetaceans and other large, wide-ranging animals, excessive reliance on experimental data for evidence of culture is not productive; we favour the ethnographic approach. The complex and stable vocal and behavioural cultures of sympatric groups of killer whales (Orcinus orca) appear to have no parallel outside humans, and represent an independent evolution of cultural faculties. The wide movements of cetaceans, the greater variability of the marine environment over large temporal scales relative to that on land, and the stable matrilineal social groups of some species are potentially important factors in the evolution of cetacean culture. There have been suggestions of gene-culture coevolution in cetaceans, and culture may be implicated in some unusual behavioural and life-history traits of whales and dolphins. We hope to stimulate discussion and research on culture in these animals.

  3. Can whales mix the ocean?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. J. Lavery

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Ocean mixing influences global climate and enhances primary productivity by transporting nutrient rich water into the euphotic zone. The contribution of the swimming biosphere to diapycnal mixing in the ocean has been hypothesised to occur on scales similar to that of tides or winds, however, the extent to which this contributes to nutrient transport and stimulates primary productivity has not been explored. Here, we introduce a novel method to estimate the diapycnal diffusivity that occurs as a result of a sperm whale swimming through a pycnocline. Nutrient profiles from the Hawaiian Ocean are used to further estimate the amount of nitrogen transported into the euphotic zone and the primary productivity stimulated as a result. We estimate that the 80 sperm whales that travel through an area of 104 km2 surrounding Hawaii increase diapycnal diffusivity by 10–6 m2 s−1 which results in the flux of 105 kg of nitrogen into the euphotic zone each year. This nitrogen input subsequently stimulates 6 × 105 kg of carbon per year. The nutrient input of swimming sperm whales is modest compared to dominant modes of nutrient transport such as nitrogen fixation but occurs more consistently and thus may provide the nutrients necessary to enable phytoplankton growth and survival in the absence of other seasonal and daily nutrient inputs.

  4. Saving Whales and Dolphins through Petroglyphs and Activist Artworks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bae, Jaehan

    2013-01-01

    Whaling emerged in ancient times, when whales served as a source of food, fuel, and other everyday resources that were vital for human civilizations. Prehistoric images of whales are found on rocks in a few areas throughout the world, most notably the famous petroglyphs at the Bangudae cliffs in Ulsan, South Korea, which depict whales and other…

  5. Whales in Depth: An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sunal, Cynthia Szymanski; Pritchard, Gail; Sunal, Dennis W.

    2000-01-01

    Provides background information on whales focusing on their biological characteristics, the use and regulation of whaling, and the conservation of marine mammals. Offers ideas for teaching about whales. Includes a resource section of books, audio books, music tapes, and Web sites about whales for students and teachers. (CMK)

  6. Whale Watching in the Gulf of Maine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carkin, Clayton A.

    1985-01-01

    Describes a variety of teaching strategies to prepare a class for a whale watching field trip. Guidelines for recording a sighting, pictures and statistics for commonly and/or occasionally seen whales, and hints for avoiding sea sickness are included. (DH)

  7. Distribution and migrations of cetaceans in the Russian Arctic according to observations from aerial ice reconnaissance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stanislav E Belikov

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper is based on 748 observations of belugas (Delphinapterus leucas and 382 observations of baleen whales in the Russian Arctic, the majority of the data provided by aerial reconnaissance of sea ice (ARSI. Although the data are not suitable for the estimation of the number and density of the animals, they represent a multi-year (1958-1995 range of observations to update our knowledge on the seasonal distribution and migrations of the species. Belugas inhabit not only shelf waters but also the zone of the shelf slope and the abyssal zone of the Arctic Ocean, where the animals appear mostly in summer. In winter belugas were observed only in the Barents Sea. In June-August, the frequency of beluga observations was highest in the Laptev Sea, which has previously been believed to have considerably lower numbers of beluga than the Kara and Barents seas. Patterns of seasonal distribution and ice cover suggest the existence of a natural border preventing or reducing population exchange between belugas inhabiting the western and eastern parts of the Russian Arctic. A brief review of available data on distribution of the narwhal (Monodon monoceros in the Russian Arctic is also given. Two species of baleen whales were frequently seen in the Russian Arctic: the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus, and the grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus. The majority of such observations were made in the southeastern part of the East-Siberian Sea and the southern part of the Chukchi Sea. In the Bering Sea baleen whales were usually seen near the Chukotka Peninsula, in Anadyr Bay and southeast of it. Whales were usually seen in ice-free water: observations of whales among rarefied ice and near the ice edge were rare. There were considerable annual and seasonal variations in distribution and migrations of baleen whales in the region, probably caused mainly by the dynamics of ice conditions.

  8. Advanced Whale Detection Methods to Improve Whale-Ship Collision Avoidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGillivary, P. A.; Tougher, B.

    2010-12-01

    Collisions between whales and ships are now estimated to account for fully a third of all whale deaths worldwide. Such collisions can incur costly ship repairs, and may damage or disable ship steering requiring costly response efforts from state and federal agencies. While collisions with rare whale species are problematic in further reducing their low population numbers, collisions with some of the more abundant whale species are also becoming more common as their populations increase. The problem is compounded as ship traffic likewise continues to grow, thus posing a growing risk to both whales and ships. Federal agencies are considering policies to alter shipping lanes to minimize whale-ship collisions off California and elsewhere. Similar efforts have already been undertaken for the Boston Harbor ship approach, where a bend in the shipping lane was introduced to reduce ship traffic through a favorite area of the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. The Boston shipping approach lane was also flanked with a system of moorings with whale detection hydrophones which broadcast the presence of calling whales in or near the ship channel to approaching ships in real time. When so notified, ships can post lookouts to avoid whale collisions, and reduce speed to reduce the likelihood of whale death, which is highly speed dependent. To reduce the likelihood and seriousness of whale-ship collisions off California and Alaska in particular, there is a need to better know areas of particularly high use by whales, and consider implementation of reduced ship speeds in these areas. There is also an ongoing discussion of altering shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel to avoid habitual Blue whales aggregation areas in particular. However, unlike the case for Boston Harbor, notification of ships that whales are nearby to reduce or avoid collisions is complicated because many California and Alaska whale species do not call regularly, and would thus be undetected by

  9. Comparison of echolocation clicks from geographically sympatric killer whales and long-finned pilot whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Eskesen, Ida; Wahlberg, Magnus; Simon, Malene

    2010-01-01

    The source characteristics of biosonar signals from sympatric killer whales and long-finned pilot whales in a Norwegian fjord were compared. A total of 137 pilot whale and more than 2000 killer whale echolocation clicks were recorded using a linear four-hydrophone array. Of these, 20 pilot whale...... clicks and 28 killer whale clicks were categorized as being recorded on-axis. The clicks of pilot whales had a mean apparent source level of 196 dB re 1 lPa pp and those of killer whales 203 dB re 1 lPa pp. The duration of pilot whale clicks was significantly shorter (23 ls, S.E.¼1.3) and the centroid...... frequency significantly higher (55 kHz, S.E.¼2.1) than killer whale clicks (duration: 41 ls, S.E.¼2.6; centroid frequency: 32 kHz, S.E.¼1.5). The rate of increase in the accumulated energy as a function of time also differed between clicks from the two species. The differences in duration, frequency...

  10. Detection and Classification of Whale Acoustic Signals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xian, Yin

    This dissertation focuses on two vital challenges in relation to whale acoustic signals: detection and classification. In detection, we evaluated the influence of the uncertain ocean environment on the spectrogram-based detector, and derived the likelihood ratio of the proposed Short Time Fourier Transform detector. Experimental results showed that the proposed detector outperforms detectors based on the spectrogram. The proposed detector is more sensitive to environmental changes because it includes phase information. In classification, our focus is on finding a robust and sparse representation of whale vocalizations. Because whale vocalizations can be modeled as polynomial phase signals, we can represent the whale calls by their polynomial phase coefficients. In this dissertation, we used the Weyl transform to capture chirp rate information, and used a two dimensional feature set to represent whale vocalizations globally. Experimental results showed that our Weyl feature set outperforms chirplet coefficients and MFCC (Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients) when applied to our collected data. Since whale vocalizations can be represented by polynomial phase coefficients, it is plausible that the signals lie on a manifold parameterized by these coefficients. We also studied the intrinsic structure of high dimensional whale data by exploiting its geometry. Experimental results showed that nonlinear mappings such as Laplacian Eigenmap and ISOMAP outperform linear mappings such as PCA and MDS, suggesting that the whale acoustic data is nonlinear. We also explored deep learning algorithms on whale acoustic data. We built each layer as convolutions with either a PCA filter bank (PCANet) or a DCT filter bank (DCTNet). With the DCT filter bank, each layer has different a time-frequency scale representation, and from this, one can extract different physical information. Experimental results showed that our PCANet and DCTNet achieve high classification rate on the whale

  11. Humpback whale bioacoustics: From form to function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercado, Eduardo, III

    This thesis investigates how humpback whales produce, perceive, and use sounds from a comparative and computational perspective. Biomimetic models are developed within a systems-theoretic framework and then used to analyze the properties of humpback whale sounds. First, sound transmission is considered in terms of possible production mechanisms and the propagation characteristics of shallow water environments frequented by humpback whales. A standard source-filter model (used to describe human sound production) is shown to be well suited for characterizing sound production by humpback whales. Simulations of sound propagation based on normal mode theory reveal that optimal frequencies for long range propagation are higher than the frequencies used most often by humpbacks, and that sounds may contain spectral information indicating how far they have propagated. Next, sound reception is discussed. A model of human auditory processing is modified to emulate humpback whale auditory processing as suggested by cochlear anatomical dimensions. This auditory model is used to generate visual representations of humpback whale sounds that more clearly reveal what features are likely to be salient to listening whales. Additionally, the possibility that an unusual sensory organ (the tubercle) plays a role in acoustic processing is assessed. Spatial distributions of tubercles are described that suggest tubercles may be useful for localizing sound sources. Finally, these models are integrated with self-organizing feature maps to create a biomimetic sound classification system, and a detailed analysis of individual sounds and sound patterns in humpback whale 'songs' is performed. This analysis provides evidence that song sounds and sound patterns vary substantially in terms of detectability and propagation potential, suggesting that they do not all serve the same function. New quantitative techniques are also presented that allow for more objective characterizations of the long term

  12. Distribution and relative abundance of large whales in a former whaling ground off eastern South America

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Artur Andriolo

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Ship-based sighting surveys for cetaceans were conducted in the former whaling ground off the northeastern coast of Brazil. The cruises took place in winter and spring of 1998-2001 with the objectives of investigating current distribution and abundance of cetaceans, particularly large whale species taken during whaling. In 1998 the survey were conducted between the parallels 5°30'W and 9°S and the 200 m isobath and the meridian 033°W. A total of about 3,100 nm were surveyed between 1998 and 2001 Surveys were conducted using line transect methods from about 5-10°S, and from the coast to 33°W. A total of 151 sightings (203 individuals of large whales were recorded on effort. The Antarctic minke whale - Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister, 1867 was the most frequently sighted species (97 groups/132 individuals; Sighting Rate [SR] = 0.031 groups/nm, being recorded only in offshore waters. Density gradually increased from August to October. Minke whales were distributed throughout the area, both to the north and the south of former whaling ground. Sighting data indicate this is the most abundant species, particularly in the area beyond the continental shelf break. Breeding behavior was observed for Antarctic minke whales, but few groups containing calves were recorded (4.3% of the groups sighted on effort. Three other large whale species were recorded in low numbers: the Bryde's whale - Balaenoptera edeni (Anderson, 1879¹; the sei whale, B. borealis (Lesson, 1828, and the sperm, Physeter macrocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758. Sei, Bryde and sperm whales were regularly caught during whaling operations, but are rare in the area, suggesting they were depleted by whaling and have yet to recover to their pre-explotation abundance. In contrast, minke whales are abundant in this area, suggesting that either they were not substantially depleted, or that they have recovered rapidly. Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus (Linnaeus, 1758, and fin whale, B. physalus

  13. Whale, Whale, Everywhere: Increasing Abundance of Western South Atlantic Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Their Wintering Grounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danilewicz, Daniel; Andriolo, Artur; Secchi, Eduardo R.; Zerbini, Alexandre N.

    2016-01-01

    The western South Atlantic (WSA) humpback whale population inhabits the coast of Brazil during the breeding and calving season in winter and spring. This population was depleted to near extinction by whaling in the mid-twentieth century. Despite recent signs of recovery, increasing coastal and offshore development pose potential threats to these animals. Therefore, continuous monitoring is needed to assess population status and support conservation strategies. The aim of this work was to present ship-based line-transect estimates of abundance for humpback whales in their WSA breeding ground and to investigate potential changes in population size. Two cruises surveyed the coast of Brazil during August-September in 2008 and 2012. The area surveyed in 2008 corresponded to the currently recognized population breeding area; effort in 2012 was limited due to unfavorable weather conditions. WSA humpback whale population size in 2008 was estimated at 16,410 (CV = 0.228, 95% CI = 10,563–25,495) animals. In order to compare abundance between 2008 and 2012, estimates for the area between Salvador and Cabo Frio, which were consistently covered in the two years, were computed at 15,332 (CV = 0.243, 95% CI = 9,595–24,500) and 19,429 (CV = 0.101, 95% CI = 15,958–23,654) whales, respectively. The difference in the two estimates represents an increase of 26.7% in whale numbers in a 4-year period. The estimated abundance for 2008 is considered the most robust for the WSA humpback whale population because the ship survey conducted in that year minimized bias from various sources. Results presented here indicate that in 2008, the WSA humpback whale population was at least around 60% of its estimated pre-modern whaling abundance and that it may recover to its pre-exploitation size sooner than previously estimated. PMID:27736958

  14. Whales, science, and scientific whaling in the International Court of Justice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangel, Marc

    2016-12-20

    I provide a brief review of the origins of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling and the failure to successfully regulate whaling that led to the commercial moratorium in 1986. I then describe the Japanese Whale Research Programs Under Special Permit in the Antarctica (JARPA I, JARPA II) and the origins of the case Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand Intervening) in the International Court of Justice. I explain that the International Court of Justice chose to conduct an objective review of JARPA II, the standard that it used for the review, and the pathway that it took to adjudicate the case without providing a definition of science to be used in international law. I conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of the Judgment for the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling, and the International Whaling Commission in particular, for other international treaties, and for the interaction of science and law more generally.

  15. Threshold foraging behavior of baleen whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piatt, John F.; Methven, David A.

    1992-01-01

    We conducted hydroacoustic surveys for capelin Mallotus villosus in Witless Bay, Newfoundland, Canada, on 61 days during the summers of 1983 to 1985. On 32 of those days in whlch capelin surveys were conducted, we observed a total of 129 baleen whales - Including 93 humpback Megaptera novaeangliae, 31 minke Balaenoptera acutorostrata and 5 fin whales B. phvsalus. Although a few whales were observed when capelin schools were scarce, the majority (96%) of whales were observed when mean daily capelin densities exceeded 5 schools per linear km surveyed (range of means over 3 yr: 0.0 to 14.0 schools km-1). Plots of daily whale abundance (no. h-1 surveyed) vs daily capelin school density (mean no. schools km-1 surveyed) in each summer revealed that baleen whales have a threshold foraging response to capelin density. Thresholds were estimated using a simple itterative step-function model. Foraging thresholds of baleen whales (7.3, 5.0, and 5.8 schools km-1) varied between years in relation to the overall abundance of capelin schools in the study area during summer (means of 7.2, 3.3, and 5.3 schools km-1, respectively).

  16. Sperm Whales Suffer the Bends

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Michael; Hopkin; 席芳

    2005-01-01

    据原先推测,鲸鱼对由声纳系统导致的疾病具有免疫力,但是两位美国科学家发现,抹香鲸(Sperm whales)正遭受着骨坏死疾病的侵扰,这是由于声纳系统扰乱了鲸鱼的生活习性所致,这种疾病有可能导致它们的搁浅。鲸鱼亟需得到保护!

  17. "I am the whale": Human/Whale Entanglement in Kaikoura, New Zealand

    OpenAIRE

    Smith, Sarah Jane

    2013-01-01

    Kaikoura is balanced on the edge of land and sea and it is the creatures of both that make the community. I explore the entanglement of two creatures in particular, whales and humans, in this small New Zealand town where whale watching has become part of everyday life. But ‘watching’ can be planned or unexpected, up close or at a distance; it can mean guardianship or tourism or something in between, and in Kaikoura, watching whale watchers watch whales is as much a shared community practice...

  18. Having a Whale of a Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    du Feu, Chris

    2009-01-01

    A classroom practical exercise exploring the reliability of a basic capture-mark-recapture method of population estimation is described using great whale conservation as a starting point. Various teaching resources are made available.

  19. Right Whale Sightings Advisory System (RWSAS)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (RWSAS) is a NOAA Fisheries program which was designed to reduce collisions between ships and the critically endangered...

  20. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  1. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  2. Assessment of essential elements in the wild Beluga Sturgeon (Huso huso caviar from Caspian Sea

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seyed Vali Hosseini

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available In this study, the concentration of Calcium (Ca, Cobalt (Co, Chromium (Cr, Copper (Cu, Iron (Fe, Potassium (K, Magnesium (Mg, Manganese (Mn, Selenium (Se and Zinc (Zn as essential metals, were determined in caviar of wild beluga sturgeon caught from the Caspian Sea in March 2012. Potassium (4885.51± 17.81 µg g-1 and Magnesium (346.61± 6.6 µg g-1 had the highest concentration and Cobalt and Manganese levels were less than 0.01 mg kg-1 wet weight. The mean concentration of Copper and Zinc in the caviar samples were under the permissible limits proposed by the UK’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods. The caviar maximum allowable daily consumption rate was calculated. However, the health risks from caviar consumption are uncertain because the amount of caviar consumed by heavy users is not known.

  3. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mariana L Melcón

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic noise may significantly impact exposed marine mammals. This work studied the vocalization response of endangered blue whales to anthropogenic noise sources in the mid-frequency range using passive acoustic monitoring in the Southern California Bight. Blue whales were less likely to produce calls when mid-frequency active sonar was present. This reduction was more pronounced when the sonar source was closer to the animal, at higher sound levels. The animals were equally likely to stop calling at any time of day, showing no diel pattern in their sensitivity to sonar. Conversely, the likelihood of whales emitting calls increased when ship sounds were nearby. Whales did not show a differential response to ship noise as a function of the time of the day either. These results demonstrate that anthropogenic noise, even at frequencies well above the blue whales' sound production range, has a strong probability of eliciting changes in vocal behavior. The long-term implications of disruption in call production to blue whale foraging and other behaviors are currently not well understood.

  4. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Melcón, Mariana L; Cummins, Amanda J; Kerosky, Sara M; Roche, Lauren K; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic noise may significantly impact exposed marine mammals. This work studied the vocalization response of endangered blue whales to anthropogenic noise sources in the mid-frequency range using passive acoustic monitoring in the Southern California Bight. Blue whales were less likely to produce calls when mid-frequency active sonar was present. This reduction was more pronounced when the sonar source was closer to the animal, at higher sound levels. The animals were equally likely to stop calling at any time of day, showing no diel pattern in their sensitivity to sonar. Conversely, the likelihood of whales emitting calls increased when ship sounds were nearby. Whales did not show a differential response to ship noise as a function of the time of the day either. These results demonstrate that anthropogenic noise, even at frequencies well above the blue whales' sound production range, has a strong probability of eliciting changes in vocal behavior. The long-term implications of disruption in call production to blue whale foraging and other behaviors are currently not well understood.

  5. Wandering whales? : Relationships between baleen whales and the sea ice environment in the Southern Ocean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beekmans, Bas

    2017-01-01

    Each austral summer large baleen whales migrate into the Southern Ocean to feed on krill. The melting of sea ice leads to algal blooms which allow rapid growth and development of krill. In order to predict how baleen whales will respond to long-term changes in the physical environment, we need to un

  6. The causes of whale strandings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cordes, D O

    1982-03-01

    Strandings of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) is probably the result of a sequence of events rather than a simple cause-and-effect relationship. Strandings of solitary animals are more common than massed and generally thought to be due to severe disease. Mass strandings (three to several hundred individuals) are less common, but very spectacular. Mass strandings are considered to be due to a complex of factors in which behavioural factors are probably important, severe disease making an unimportant, or negligible contribution. There may be interaction of physical conditions (weather, tides, currents, coastline) and biological conditions (predators, feeding, disturbance of echolocation and disease) which result in stranding. One postulated reason for stranding is that it is dependent on instinctive behaviour, deeply located in subcortical areas of the brain, which provokes cetaceans to seek refuge ashore when under stress.

  7. AWARE Sonar and Sperm Whale Tagging (DE9906, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The AWARE sonar and sperm whale tagging cruise primarily focuses on whales in the continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  8. Gulf of Mexico sperm whale photo-ID catalog

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Photo-identification data on sperm whales occupying the north central Gulf of Mexico have been collected during vessel surveys. Photographs of sperm whales are taken...

  9. Northern Right Whale Survey (DE0107, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The right whale and cetacean survey primarily focuses on right whales in the coastal and continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  10. AWARE Sonar and Sperm Whale Tagging (DE0007, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The AWARE sonar and sperm whale tagging cruise primarily focuses on whales in the continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  11. Whale Watching as Ecotourism: How Sustainable is it?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen Leslie Wearing

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Australia has long tried to portray itself as an environmentally responsible state and has consistently been a strong supporter of Whale Watching as an alternative to the practice of commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling. This paper explores whale watching in an effort to determine the economic and social viability of it as a sustainable marine tourism activity —and whether in the future the whale and the tourist can coexist or will the latter as with previous human activities such as whaling yet again create a ‘tragedy of the commons’ and displace the former. As an ecotourism product, whale watching holds the potential for sustainable practice, one that is both ecological and profitable. Responsible whale watching is seen as a clean, green industry that simultaneously supports local economies and promotes whale education and conservation. The question is can it live up to these expectations?

  12. Northern Right Whale and Cetacean Survey (DE0108, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The right whale and cetacean survey primarily focuses on right whales in the coastal and continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  13. Northern Right Whale Survey (DE0306, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The right whale and cetacean survey primarily focuses on right whales in the coastal and continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  14. Large Whale Biology Survey (DE9908, EK500)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The large whale biology survey primarily focuses on right whales in the coastal and continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  15. Report on Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event UMESE0501Sp: Multispecies Mass Stranding of Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and Dwarf Sperm Whales (Kogia sima) in North Carolina on 15-16 January 2005

    OpenAIRE

    Aleta A. Hohn; Rotstein, David S.; Harms, Craig A.; Southall, Brandon L.

    2006-01-01

    On 15-16 January 2005, three offshore species of cetaceans (33 short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus, one minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, and two dwarf sperm whales, Kogia sima) stranded alive on the beaches of North Carolina. The pilot whales stranded near Oregon Inlet, the minke whale in northern North Carolina, and the dwarf sperm whales near Cape Hatteras. Live strandings of three species in one weekend was unique in North Carolina and qualified as an Unusual Mort...

  16. Bowhead whale songs sung by females in Disko Bay, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tervo, Outi; Christoffersen, Mads; FØrasier, Timothy;

    2011-01-01

    for this species. Bowhead whale song has long been hypothesized to be produced by male whales as a reproductive advertisement; however, no data on the sex of singers has ever been reported. In this study, we determine the sex of singing bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in Disko Bay, West Greenland, by localizing...... of female bowhead whales may function for mate attraction and represent a novel example of partial courtship role reversal in mammals....

  17. 75 FR 28779 - Prince of Whales Resource Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-24

    ... Forest Service Prince of Whales Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of meeting. SUMMARY: The Prince of Whales Resource Advisory Committee will meet in Craig, Alaska..., Craig Alaska. Send written comments to Prince of Whales Resource Advisory Committee, c/o District...

  18. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the following waters are designated as whale waters. (1) Waters north of a line drawn from Point Carolus...

  19. Kinematic Diversity in Rorqual Whale Feeding Mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cade, David E; Friedlaender, Ari S; Calambokidis, John; Goldbogen, Jeremy A

    2016-10-10

    Rorqual whales exhibit an extreme lunge filter-feeding strategy characterized by acceleration to high speed and engulfment of a large volume of prey-laden water [1-4]. Although tagging studies have quantified the kinematics of lunge feeding, the timing of engulfment relative to body acceleration has been modeled conflictingly because it could never be directly measured [5-7]. The temporal coordination of these processes has a major impact on the hydrodynamics and energetics of this high-cost feeding strategy [5-9]. If engulfment and body acceleration are temporally distinct, the overall cost of this dynamic feeding event would be minimized. However, greater temporal overlap of these two phases would theoretically result in higher drag and greater energetic costs. To address this discrepancy, we used animal-borne synchronized video and 3D movement sensors to quantify the kinematics of both the skull and body during feeding events. Krill-feeding blue and humpback whales exhibited temporally distinct acceleration and engulfment phases, with humpback whales reaching maximum gape earlier than blue whales. In these whales, engulfment coincided largely with body deceleration; however, humpback whales pursuing more agile fish demonstrated highly variable coordination of skull and body kinematics in the context of complex prey-herding techniques. These data suggest that rorquals modulate the coordination of acceleration and engulfment to optimize foraging efficiency by minimizing locomotor costs and maximizing prey capture. Moreover, this newfound kinematic diversity observed among rorquals indicates that the energetic efficiency of foraging is driven both by the whale's engulfment capacity and the comparative locomotor capabilities of predator and prey. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

  20. Two intense decades of 19th century whaling precipitated rapid decline of right whales around New Zealand and East Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carroll, Emma L; Jackson, Jennifer A; Paton, David; Smith, Tim D

    2014-01-01

    Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) were the focus of worldwide whaling activities from the 16th to the 20th century. During the first part of the 19th century, the southern right whale (E. australis) was heavily exploited on whaling grounds around New Zealand (NZ) and east Australia (EA). Here we build upon previous estimates of the total catch of NZ and EA right whales by improving and combining estimates from four different fisheries. Two fisheries have previously been considered: shore-based whaling in bays and ship-based whaling offshore. These were both improved by comparison with primary sources and the American offshore whaling catch record was improved by using a sample of logbooks to produce a more accurate catch record in terms of location and species composition. Two fisheries had not been previously integrated into the NZ and EA catch series: ship-based whaling in bays and whaling in the 20th century. To investigate the previously unaddressed problem of offshore whalers operating in bays, we identified a subset of vessels likely to be operating in bays and read available extant logbooks. This allowed us to estimate the total likely catch from bay-whaling by offshore whalers from the number of vessels seasons and whales killed per season: it ranged from 2,989 to 4,652 whales. The revised total estimate of 53,000 to 58,000 southern right whales killed is a considerable increase on the previous estimate of 26,000, partly because it applies fishery-specific estimates of struck and loss rates. Over 80% of kills were taken between 1830 and 1849, indicating a brief and intensive fishery that resulted in the commercial extinction of southern right whales in NZ and EA in just two decades. This conforms to the global trend of increasingly intense and destructive southern right whale fisheries over time.

  1. Hydrodynamic design of the humpback whale flipper.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fish, F E; Battle, J M

    1995-07-01

    The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is reported to use its elongate pectoral flippers during swimming maneuvers. The morphology of the flipper from a 9.02-m whale was evaluated with regard to this hydrodynamic function. The flipper had a wing-like, high aspect ratio planform. Rounded tubercles were regularly interspersed along the flipper's leading edge. The flipper was cut into 71 2.5-cm cross-sections and photographed. Except for sections near the distal tip, flipper sections were symmetrical with no camber. Flipper sections had a blunt, rounded leading edge and a highly tapered trailing edge. Placement of the maximum thickness placement for each cross-section varied from 49% of chord at the tip to 19% at mid-span. Section thickness ratio averaged 0.23 with a range of 0.20-0.28. The humpback whale flipper had a cross-sectional design typical of manufactured aerodynamic foils for lift generation. The morphology and placement of leading edge tubercles suggest that they function as enhanced lift devices to control flow over the flipper and maintain lift at high angles of attack. The morphology of the humpback whale flipper suggests that it is adapted for high maneuverability associated with the whale's unique feeding behavior.

  2. Encountering whales: How encounter rates became the basis for managing whaling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim D Smith

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available Declining rates of encountering whales, including both sighting and catching, were noted by whalers throughout the 19th century, and these declines became the first indication that whaling was adversely affecting whale abundance. The interpretation of declines in both sighting and catch rates proved to be a difficult scientific task. Satisfactory quantitative methods of interpreting changes in whale encounter rates were not developed until the second half of the 20th century. Rates of encountering whales played a key role in the International Whaling Commission (IWC Scientific Committee from its beginning in the early 1950s, as well as in the US in implementing its Marine Mammal Protection Act beginning in the early 1970s. The development of methods of collecting and interpreting sighting and catch data was intimately interwoven with the development of themanagement of whaling and cetacean by-catches in fisheries throughout the world, but especially within the context of the Scientific Committees of the IWC and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO. Although overfishing of whales was initially identified through the use of sighting rate data, catch rate data provided the IWC’s Committee its first firm footing for management advice. However, it was sighting rate data that ultimately became the basis for the scientific advice on whaling and for management advice in other settings. This led to the development of large scale cetacean sighting programmes, such as the IWC’s International Decade of Cetacean Researchsurveys in Antarctic aboard Japanese ships, the North Atlantic Sighting Surveys (NASS aboard Norwegian, Icelandic, Spanish, Greenlandic and Faroese vessels and aircraft (coordinated by NAMMCO through its Scientific Committee from 1995, and surveys under the US’s Marine Mammal Protection Act and the European Union’s Small Cetacean Abundance in the North Sea (SCANS programme. Fishery independent cetacean sighting surveys

  3. Whale Watching as Ecotourism: How Sustainable is it?

    OpenAIRE

    Stephen Leslie Wearing; Cunningham, Paul A.; Stephen Schweinsberg; Chantelle Jobberns

    2014-01-01

    Australia has long tried to portray itself as an environmentally responsible state and has consistently been a strong supporter of Whale Watching as an alternative to the practice of commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling. This paper explores whale watching in an effort to determine the economic and social viability of it as a sustainable marine tourism activity —and whether in the future the whale and the tourist can coexist or will the latter as with previous human activities such as whaling y...

  4. Minke whale genome and aquatic adaptation in cetaceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yim, Hyung-Soon; Cho, Yun Sung; Guang, Xuanmin; Kang, Sung Gyun; Jeong, Jae-Yeon; Cha, Sun-Shin; Oh, Hyun-Myung; Lee, Jae-Hak; Yang, Eun Chan; Kwon, Kae Kyoung; Kim, Yun Jae; Kim, Tae Wan; Kim, Wonduck; Jeon, Jeong Ho; Kim, Sang-Jin; Choi, Dong Han; Jho, Sungwoong; Kim, Hak-Min; Ko, Junsu; Kim, Hyunmin; Shin, Young-Ah; Jung, Hyun-Ju; Zheng, Yuan; Wang, Zhuo; Chen, Yan; Chen, Ming; Jiang, Awei; Li, Erli; Zhang, Shu; Hou, Haolong; Kim, Tae Hyung; Yu, Lili; Liu, Sha; Ahn, Kung; Cooper, Jesse; Park, Sin-Gi; Hong, Chang Pyo; Jin, Wook; Kim, Heui-Soo; Park, Chankyu; Lee, Kyooyeol; Chun, Sung; Morin, Phillip A; O'Brien, Stephen J; Lee, Hang; Kimura, Jumpei; Moon, Dae Yeon; Manica, Andrea; Edwards, Jeremy; Kim, Byung Chul; Kim, Sangsoo; Wang, Jun; Bhak, Jong; Lee, Hyun Sook; Lee, Jung-Hyun

    2014-01-01

    The shift from terrestrial to aquatic life by whales was a substantial evolutionary event. Here we report the whole-genome sequencing and de novo assembly of the minke whale genome, as well as the whole-genome sequences of three minke whales, a fin whale, a bottlenose dolphin and a finless porpoise. Our comparative genomic analysis identified an expansion in the whale lineage of gene families associated with stress-responsive proteins and anaerobic metabolism, whereas gene families related to body hair and sensory receptors were contracted. Our analysis also identified whale-specific mutations in genes encoding antioxidants and enzymes controlling blood pressure and salt concentration. Overall the whale-genome sequences exhibited distinct features that are associated with the physiological and morphological changes needed for life in an aquatic environment, marked by resistance to physiological stresses caused by a lack of oxygen, increased amounts of reactive oxygen species and high salt levels.

  5. Acoustic Behaviour of Bottlenose Dolphins and Pilot Whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Frants Havmand

    2011-01-01

    and review for the topics addressed in the subsequent chapters, with discussions of these chapters where appropriate. In this thesis, I have undertaken a series of acoustic studies on two species of toothed whales, the bottlenose dolphin and the short-finned pilot whale. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.......) is one of the best known toothed whales due to studies in captivity over the last 50 years. In contrast, the short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) is a larger, deep-diving toothed whale that has been studied rather little, in part because their deep-diving ecology regularly takes them out...... their vocal behaviour and sound production to their different ecological niches and habitats. Toothed whales find and capture prey using a sophisticated biosonar system. Little is known about how toothed whales use their biosonar during a complex three-dimensional task of locating and capturing prey...

  6. Genetic tagging of humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palsbøll, P J; Allen, J; Bérubé, M; Clapham, P J; Feddersen, T P; Hammond, P S; Hudson, R R; Jørgensen, H; Katona, S; Larsen, A H; Larsen, F; Lien, J; Mattila, D K; Sigurjónsson, J; Sears, R; Smith, T; Sponer, R; Stevick, P; Oien, N

    1997-08-21

    The ability to recognize individual animals has substantially increased our knowledge of the biology and behaviour of many taxa. However, not all species lend themselves to this approach, either because of insufficient phenotypic variation or because tag attachment is not feasible. The use of genetic markers ('tags') represents a viable alternative to traditional methods of individual recognition, as they are permanent and exist in all individuals. We tested the use of genetic markers as the primary means of identifying individuals in a study of humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. Analysis of six microsatellite loci among 3,060 skin samples collected throughout this ocean allowed the unequivocal identification of individuals. Analysis of 692 'recaptures', identified by their genotype, revealed individual local and migratory movements of up to 10,000 km, limited exchange among summer feeding grounds, and mixing in winter breeding areas, and also allowed the first estimates of animal abundance based solely on genotypic data. Our study demonstrates that genetic tagging is not only feasible, but generates data (for example, on sex) that can be valuable when interpreting the results of tagging experiments.

  7. How large should whales be?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aaron Clauset

    Full Text Available The evolution and distribution of species body sizes for terrestrial mammals is well-explained by a macroevolutionary tradeoff between short-term selective advantages and long-term extinction risks from increased species body size, unfolding above the 2 g minimum size induced by thermoregulation in air. Here, we consider whether this same tradeoff, formalized as a constrained convection-reaction-diffusion system, can also explain the sizes of fully aquatic mammals, which have not previously been considered. By replacing the terrestrial minimum with a pelagic one, at roughly 7000 g, the terrestrial mammal tradeoff model accurately predicts, with no tunable parameters, the observed body masses of all extant cetacean species, including the 175,000,000 g Blue Whale. This strong agreement between theory and data suggests that a universal macroevolutionary tradeoff governs body size evolution for all mammals, regardless of their habitat. The dramatic sizes of cetaceans can thus be attributed mainly to the increased convective heat loss is water, which shifts the species size distribution upward and pushes its right tail into ranges inaccessible to terrestrial mammals. Under this macroevolutionary tradeoff, the largest expected species occurs where the rate at which smaller-bodied species move up into large-bodied niches approximately equals the rate at which extinction removes them.

  8. How large should whales be?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clauset, Aaron

    2013-01-01

    The evolution and distribution of species body sizes for terrestrial mammals is well-explained by a macroevolutionary tradeoff between short-term selective advantages and long-term extinction risks from increased species body size, unfolding above the 2 g minimum size induced by thermoregulation in air. Here, we consider whether this same tradeoff, formalized as a constrained convection-reaction-diffusion system, can also explain the sizes of fully aquatic mammals, which have not previously been considered. By replacing the terrestrial minimum with a pelagic one, at roughly 7000 g, the terrestrial mammal tradeoff model accurately predicts, with no tunable parameters, the observed body masses of all extant cetacean species, including the 175,000,000 g Blue Whale. This strong agreement between theory and data suggests that a universal macroevolutionary tradeoff governs body size evolution for all mammals, regardless of their habitat. The dramatic sizes of cetaceans can thus be attributed mainly to the increased convective heat loss is water, which shifts the species size distribution upward and pushes its right tail into ranges inaccessible to terrestrial mammals. Under this macroevolutionary tradeoff, the largest expected species occurs where the rate at which smaller-bodied species move up into large-bodied niches approximately equals the rate at which extinction removes them.

  9. Ontogenesis of the sperm whale brain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oelschläger, H H; Kemp, B

    1998-09-21

    The development of the sperm whale brain (Physeter macrocephalus) was investigated in 12 embryos and early fetuses to obtain a better understanding of the morphological and physiological adaptations in this most exotic cetacean concerning locomotion, deep diving, and orientation. In male adult sperm whales, the average absolute brain mass and the relative size of the telencephalic hemisphere are the largest within the mammalia, whereas the ratio of the brain mass to the total body mass is one of the smallest. In the early sperm whale fetus, the rostral part of the olfactory system (olfactory nerves and bulbs) is lost, whereas the nervus terminalis seems to persist. Several components of the limbic system show signs of regression (hippocampus, fornix, mamillary body). In contrast, some components of the auditory system (trapezoid body, inferior colliculus) show marked enlargement in the early fetal period, thereby reflecting their dominant position in the adult. The cerebellum and pons grow slower than in most smaller toothed whales. The pyramidal tract develops poorly (reduction of the limbs), whereas marked growth of the striatum and inferior olive may be related to the animal's locomotion via trunk and tail. In the early fetal period, the trigeminal, vestibulocochlear, and facial nerves are the dominant cranial nerves (besides the vagus nerve). Whereas the number of axons in the vestibulocochlear nerve is high in adult, toothed whales and their diameters are considerable, the trigeminal nerve of the sperm whale may be the thickest of all cranial nerves and has the largest number of axons (innervation of the huge forehead region). A similar situation seems to exist for the facial nerve: It innervates the blowhole musculature that surrounds the very large spermaceti organ and melon (generation and emission of sonar clicks).

  10. Beaked whales respond to simulated and actual navy sonar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyack, Peter L; Zimmer, Walter M X; Moretti, David; Southall, Brandon L; Claridge, Diane E; Durban, John W; Clark, Christopher W; D'Amico, Angela; DiMarzio, Nancy; Jarvis, Susan; McCarthy, Elena; Morrissey, Ronald; Ward, Jessica; Boyd, Ian L

    2011-03-14

    Beaked whales have mass stranded during some naval sonar exercises, but the cause is unknown. They are difficult to sight but can reliably be detected by listening for echolocation clicks produced during deep foraging dives. Listening for these clicks, we documented Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, in a naval underwater range where sonars are in regular use near Andros Island, Bahamas. An array of bottom-mounted hydrophones can detect beaked whales when they click anywhere within the range. We used two complementary methods to investigate behavioral responses of beaked whales to sonar: an opportunistic approach that monitored whale responses to multi-day naval exercises involving tactical mid-frequency sonars, and an experimental approach using playbacks of simulated sonar and control sounds to whales tagged with a device that records sound, movement, and orientation. Here we show that in both exposure conditions beaked whales stopped echolocating during deep foraging dives and moved away. During actual sonar exercises, beaked whales were primarily detected near the periphery of the range, on average 16 km away from the sonar transmissions. Once the exercise stopped, beaked whales gradually filled in the center of the range over 2-3 days. A satellite tagged whale moved outside the range during an exercise, returning over 2-3 days post-exercise. The experimental approach used tags to measure acoustic exposure and behavioral reactions of beaked whales to one controlled exposure each of simulated military sonar, killer whale calls, and band-limited noise. The beaked whales reacted to these three sound playbacks at sound pressure levels below 142 dB re 1 µPa by stopping echolocation followed by unusually long and slow ascents from their foraging dives. The combined results indicate similar disruption of foraging behavior and avoidance by beaked whales in the two different contexts, at exposures well below those used by regulators to define

  11. Killer whale prey - Determining prey selection by southern resident killer whales (SRKW)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Prey selectivity by southern resident killer whales is being determined by analyses of fish scales and tissue from predation events and feces. Information on killer...

  12. Impact of climate change on sustainable management of gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus populations: Whale-watching and conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Salvadeo Christian J.

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Some pods of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus breed every winter at three lagoons along the Baja California Peninsula and then migrate to feeding grounds on the Bering and Chukchi Seas. The number of whales arriving to the lagoons fluctuates yearly and is related to climate variability. We analyzed the documented climate effects on the whales over their distribution range and discuss the potential effects of global climate warming in their breeding areas. Our analysis indicates that global warming will be favorable for gray whale populations, but unfavorable for the Mexican whale-watching industry: favorable, because fluctuations in calf production have been positively correlated with the length of time that the primary feeding habitat was free of seasonal ice during the previous year. However, if gray whales change their breeding areas to northern bays, they will be exposed to new challenges, which will have repercussions on the whale-watching industry. We discuss these new challenges.

  13. Anatomical and histological investigation of the pyloric caeca in beluga (Huso huso

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hooman Rahmati-holasoo

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this paper was to study anatomy and histology of pyloric caeca in 2 years old beluga (Huso huso (Linnaeus, 1758. In this study 12, 2-year old male and female H. huso were included. Anatomical position of pyloric caeca was studied through dissection. Histological specimens were fixed in 10% formalin buffer phosphate for 72 h. The specimens were processed through paraffin embedding and 7 micrometer sections were cut and stained by Hematoxylin and eosin and observed under light microscope. It was shown that pyloric caeca in H. huso were attached and formed a large mass between stomach and duodenum. The capsule was a smooth muscle that had dispatched trabeculae into the organ and formed lobules. There were numerous villi with simple columnar epithelium in different sizes in each lobule. It was demonstrated that pyloric caeca in H. huso like other sturgeon fish were attached to each other and formed an organ called pyloric caeca with a long leaf-shaped villi.

  14. Pilot whales attracted to killer whale sounds: acoustically-mediated interspecific interactions in cetaceans.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charlotte Curé

    Full Text Available In cetaceans' communities, interactions between individuals of different species are often observed in the wild. Yet, due to methodological and technical challenges very little is known about the mediation of these interactions and their effect on cetaceans' behavior. Killer whales (Orcinus orca are a highly vocal species and can be both food competitors and potential predators of many other cetaceans. Thus, the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may be particularly important in mediating interspecific interactions. To address this hypothesis, we conducted playbacks of killer whale vocalizations recorded during herring-feeding activity to free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas. Using a multi-sensor tag, we were able to track the whales and to monitor changes of their movements and social behavior in response to the playbacks. We demonstrated that the playback of killer whale sounds to pilot whales induced a clear increase in group size and a strong attraction of the animals towards the sound source. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways.

  15. 77 FR 27185 - Availability of Seats for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-09

    ... Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... the following vacant seats on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory.... SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council...

  16. Blue whale habitat and prey in the California Channel Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiedler, Paul C.; Reilly, Stephen B.; Hewitt, Roger P.; Demer, David; Philbrick, Valerie A.; Smith, Susan; Armstrong, Wesley; Croll, Donald A.; Tershy, Bernie R.; Mate, Bruce R.

    1998-08-01

    Whale Habitat and Prey Studies were conducted off southern California during August 1995 (WHAPS95) and July 1996 (WHAPS96) to (1) study the distribution and activities of blue whales and other large whales, (2) survey the distribution of prey organisms (krill), and (3) measure physical and biological habitat variables that influence the distribution of whales and prey. A total of 1307 cetacean sightings included 460 blue whale, 78 fin whale and 101 humpback whale sightings. Most blue whales were found in cold, well-mixed and productive water that had upwelled along the coast north of Point Conception and then advected south. They were aggregated in this water near San Miguel and Santa Rosa Islands, where they fed on dense, subsurface layers of euphausiids both on the shelf and extending off the shelf edge. Two species of euphausiids were consumed by blue whales, Thysanoessa spinifera and Euphausia pacifica, with evidence of preference for the former, a larger and more coastal species. These krill patches on the Channel Island feeding grounds are a resource exploited during summer-fall by the world's largest stock of blue whales.

  17. Tales of whales: Whalewatching as environmental education?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Russell, Constance Lorraine

    This dissertation, based on a case study conducted in 1996 in Tadoussac, Quebec, critically examined the educational potential of whalewatching. Data collection consisted of participant observation, interviews with thirty-one whalewatchers, and pre-trip, post-trip, and follow-up questionnaires given to these same whalewatchers. The first three chapters are introductory in nature. The first provides an overview of different approaches to environmental education as well as the role of nature experience and the social construction of nature within critical or transformative approaches to environmental education. The second chapter reviews the ecotourism and whalewatching literature. The third describes the research site and methods. The fourth chapter is a presentation of the results and focuses on three central themes: Learning Outcomes and Desires; The Social Construction of Whales; and Opinions on Whalewatching. Although there was diversity in responses, many whalewatchers were dissatisfied with the learning opportunities available during whalewatching and most desired more emphasis be placed on holistic, critical, and activist-oriented interpretation. As well, many were concerned that whalewatching, despite its educational potential, was harming the whales. Overall, the whalewatchers constructed whales in exceedingly positive and general ways (Superwhales), were moved by the opportunity to get close to whales (Intimates), and were in awe of their size and behaviours (Spectacle). The educational implications of these findings are discussed in the fifth chapter, and the dissertation concludes with a sixth chapter containing recommendations for whalewatching practice in Tadoussac and a call for future research.

  18. A Radio Tag for Big Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watkins, William A.

    1978-01-01

    Radio tags to track wildlife have been used for years. However, such tagging of whales has been more complicated and less successful. This article explores the latest technology that is designed to give information over a long period of time. (MA)

  19. Echolocation in Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madsen, P T; de Soto, N Aguilar; Arranz, P; Johnson, M

    2013-06-01

    Here we use sound and movement recording tags to study how deep-diving Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) use echolocation to forage in their natural mesopelagic habitat. These whales ensonify thousands of organisms per dive but select only about 25 prey for capture. They negotiate their cluttered environment by radiating sound in a narrow 20° field of view which they sample with 1.5-3 clicks per metre travelled requiring only some 60 clicks to locate, select and approach each prey. Sampling rates do not appear to be defined by the range to individual targets, but rather by the movement of the predator. Whales sample faster when they encounter patches of prey allowing them to search new water volumes while turning rapidly to stay within a patch. This implies that the Griffin search-approach-capture model of biosonar foraging must be expanded to account for sampling behaviours adapted to the overall prey distribution. Beaked whales can classify prey at more than 15 m range adopting stereotyped motor patterns when approaching some prey. This long detection range relative to swimming speed facilitates a deliberate mode of sensory-motor operation in which prey and capture tactics can be selected to optimize energy returns during long breath-hold dives.

  20. Whales of New England. Secondary Curriculum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    New England Aquarium, Boston, MA.

    Instructional materials and suggestions for conducting a whale watching field trip are contained in this curriculum packet for secondary science teachers. It is one unit in a series of curricular programs developed by the New England Aquarium Education Department. Activities and information are organized into three sections: (1) pre-trip…

  1. Whale Preservation. Grades Five to Nine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Racicot, Darlene

    Dedicated to the conservation and preservation of whales, dolphins, and porpoises through public education, this instructional unit for grades 5-9 provides current (1993) facts, lesson plans, activities, and conservation and preservation techniques. Interdisciplinary activities involve students in debates, critical thinking, research, and…

  2. Expression and Purification of Sperm Whale Myoglobin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Stephen; Indivero, Virginia; Burkhard, Caroline

    2010-01-01

    We present a multiweek laboratory exercise that exposes students to the fundamental techniques of bacterial expression and protein purification through the preparation of sperm whale myoglobin. Myoglobin, a robust oxygen-binding protein, contains a single heme that gives the protein a reddish color, making it an ideal subject for the teaching…

  3. A phylogenetic blueprint for a modern whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gatesy, John; Geisler, Jonathan H; Chang, Joseph; Buell, Carl; Berta, Annalisa; Meredith, Robert W; Springer, Mark S; McGowen, Michael R

    2013-02-01

    The emergence of Cetacea in the Paleogene represents one of the most profound macroevolutionary transitions within Mammalia. The move from a terrestrial habitat to a committed aquatic lifestyle engendered wholesale changes in anatomy, physiology, and behavior. The results of this remarkable transformation are extant whales that include the largest, biggest brained, fastest swimming, loudest, deepest diving mammals, some of which can detect prey with a sophisticated echolocation system (Odontoceti - toothed whales), and others that batch feed using racks of baleen (Mysticeti - baleen whales). A broad-scale reconstruction of the evolutionary remodeling that culminated in extant cetaceans has not yet been based on integration of genomic and paleontological information. Here, we first place Cetacea relative to extant mammalian diversity, and assess the distribution of support among molecular datasets for relationships within Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates, including Cetacea). We then merge trees derived from three large concatenations of molecular and fossil data to yield a composite hypothesis that encompasses many critical events in the evolutionary history of Cetacea. By combining diverse evidence, we infer a phylogenetic blueprint that outlines the stepwise evolutionary development of modern whales. This hypothesis represents a starting point for more detailed, comprehensive phylogenetic reconstructions in the future, and also highlights the synergistic interaction between modern (genomic) and traditional (morphological+paleontological) approaches that ultimately must be exploited to provide a rich understanding of evolutionary history across the entire tree of Life.

  4. Positive selection on the killer whale mitogenome

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Foote, Andrew David; Morin, Phillip A; Durban, John W;

    2011-01-01

    Mitochondria produce up to 95 per cent of the eukaryotic cell's energy. The coding genes of the mitochondrial DNA may therefore evolve under selection owing to metabolic requirements. The killer whale, Orcinus orca, is polymorphic, has a global distribution and occupies a range of ecological niches...

  5. SAKAMATA : A tool to avoid whale strandings

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Benders, F.P.A.; Beerens, S.P.; Verboom, W.C.

    2002-01-01

    World-wide a concern exists about the influence of man-made noise on marine life, and particularly of high power sonar. Most concern lies with marine mammals that use acoustics for hunting, communication and/or navigation. This concern is fed by recent strandings of whales that could be related to m

  6. SAKAMATA : A tool to avoid whale strandings

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Benders, F.P.A.; Beerens, S.P.; Verboom, W.C.

    2004-01-01

    World-wide a concern exists about the influence of man-made noise on marine life, and particularly of high power sonar. Most concern lies with marine mammals that use acoustics for hunting, communication and/or navigation. This concern is fed by recent strandings of whales that could be related to m

  7. Rows of small teeth in Ziphioid whales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boschma, H.

    1951-01-01

    In Ziphioid Whales the toothrows as a rule have been subject to pronounced reduction, so that the number of teeth of fairly large size is restricted to one pair in the lower jaw. Even these often are concealed in the gum and then must be regarded as functionless, though especially in old males the t

  8. Biochemical and hemato-immunological parameters in juvenile beluga (Huso huso) following the diet supplemented with nettle (Urtica dioica).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binaii, Mohammad; Ghiasi, Maryam; Farabi, Seyed Mohammad Vahid; Pourgholam, Reza; Fazli, Hasan; Safari, Reza; Alavi, Seyed Eshagh; Taghavi, Mohammad Javad; Bankehsaz, Zahra

    2014-01-01

    The present study investigated the effects of different dietary nettle (Urtica dioica) levels on biochemical, hematological and immunological parameters in beluga (Huso huso). Fish were divided into 4 groups before being fed for 8 weeks with 0%, 3%, 6% and 12% of nettle. The blood samples were collected on week 4 and 8. The use of nettle did not significantly change the mean cell volume, mean cell haemoglobin, lymphocytes, eosinophils, albumin, glucose, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase and lysozyme activity on week 4 and 8. After 4 weeks, the total red blood cell (RBC) and hematocrit (Ht) showed a significant increase in 12% nettle group compared to the 3% nettle and control groups but haemoglobin (Hb) had a significant change in 12% nettle compared to the control. At the same time was not found a significant change in the mean cell haemoglobin concentration (MCHC), total white blood cell (WBC), neutrophils, respiratory burst activity (RB), total immunoglobulin (Ig) and total protein (TP), triglyceride (Tri) and cholesterol (Chol). After 8 weeks, the fish treated with nettle exhibited significantly increase in neutrophil and Hb levels compared to the control and between treatment groups, 12% nettle group shown the highest Hb while RBC and Hct values significantly rose in fish fed by 12% compared to the control. Supplementing 6% and 12% nettle increased the WBC and MCHC compared to the other groups. The group fed 12% showed a highly significant difference in RB, TP and Ig after 8 weeks. However, Tri and Chol were significantly decreased in the juvenile beluga fed by the 6% and 12% nettle diet compared to the other groups. The results suggest that by using this herb there will be an improvement in hemato-biochemical parameters and immune function of juvenile beluga.

  9. An integrated approach to historical population assessment of the great whales: case of the New Zealand southern right whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Jennifer A; Carroll, Emma L; Smith, Tim D; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Patenaude, Nathalie J; Baker, C Scott

    2016-03-01

    Accurate estimation of historical abundance provides an essential baseline for judging the recovery of the great whales. This is particularly challenging for whales hunted prior to twentieth century modern whaling, as population-level catch records are often incomplete. Assessments of whale recovery using pre-modern exploitation indices are therefore rare, despite the intensive, global nature of nineteenth century whaling. Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) were particularly exploited: slow swimmers with strong fidelity to sheltered calving bays, the species made predictable and easy targets. Here, we present the first integrated population-level assessment of the whaling impact and pre-exploitation abundance of a right whale, the New Zealand southern right whale (E. australis). In this assessment, we use a Bayesian population dynamics model integrating multiple data sources: nineteenth century catches, genetic constraints on bottleneck size and individual sightings histories informing abundance and trend. Different catch allocation scenarios are explored to account for uncertainty in the population's offshore distribution. From a pre-exploitation abundance of 28 800-47 100 whales, nineteenth century hunting reduced the population to approximately 30-40 mature females between 1914 and 1926. Today, it stands at less than 12% of pre-exploitation abundance. Despite the challenges of reconstructing historical catches and population boundaries, conservation efforts of historically exploited species benefit from targets for ecological restoration.

  10. Whales and waves: Humpback whale foraging response and the shoaling of internal waves at Stellwagen Bank

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pineda, Jesús; Starczak, Victoria; Silva, José C. B.; Helfrich, Karl; Thompson, Michael; Wiley, David

    2015-04-01

    We tested the hypothesis that humpback whales aggregate at the southern flank of Stellwagen Bank (SB) in response to internal waves (IWs) generated semidiurnally at Race Point (RP) channel because of the presence of their preferred prey, planktivorous fish, which in turn respond to zooplankton concentrated by the predictable IWs. Analysis of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images indicates that RP IWs approach the southern flank of SB frequently (˜62% of the images). Published reports of whale sighting data and archived SAR images point to a coarse spatial coincidence between whales and Race Point IWs at SB's southern flank. The responses of whales to IWs were evaluated via sightings and behavior of humpback whales, and IWs were observed in situ by acoustic backscatter and temperature measurements. Modeling of IWs complemented the observations, and results indicate a change of ˜0.4 m/s in current velocity, and ˜1.5 Pa in dynamic pressure near the bottom, which may be sufficient for bottom fish to detect the IWs. However, fish were rare in our acoustic observations, and fish response to the IWs could not be evaluated. RP IWs do not represent the leading edge of the internal tide, and they may have less mass-transport potential than typical coastal IWs. There was large interannual variability in whale sightings at SB's southern flank, with decreases in both numbers of sightings and proportion of sightings where feeding was observed from 2008 to 2013. Coincidence of whales and IWs was inconsistent, and results do not support the hypothesis.

  11. Larval development and settlement of a whale barnacle.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nogata, Yasuyuki; Matsumura, Kiyotaka

    2006-03-22

    Larval development and settlement of whale barnacles have not previously been described, unlike intertidal barnacles. Indeed, the mechanisms of the association between barnacles and whales have not been studied. Here we describe the larval development and settlement of the whale barnacle, Coronula diadema, and possible involvement of a cue from the host in inducing larval settlement. Eight-cell stage embryos were collected from C. diadema on a stranded humpback whale, incubated in filtered seawater for 7 days, and nauplius larvae hatched out. When fed with Chaetoceros gracilis, the nauplii developed to stage VI, and finally metamorphosed to the cypris stage. The larval development looked similar to that of intertidal barnacles with planktotrophic larval stages. The cyprids did not settle in normal seawater, but did settle in polystyrene Petri dishes when incubated in seawater with a small piece of skin tissue from the host whale. This strongly suggests the involvement of a chemical cue from the host whale tissue to induce larval settlement.

  12. The ARGOS system used for tracking gray whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mate, B. R.; Beaty, D.; Hoisington, C.; Kutz, R.; Mate, M. L.

    1983-01-01

    The development of satellite whale tags used to track gray whales in the eastern north Pacific Ocean is summarized. Two gray whales were radio-tagged in San Ignacio Lagoon (Mexico) and tracked on their northbound migration. One of the transmitters was modified to record and relay depth-of-dive information at 15 sec intervals throughout the course of the dive. Technical elements of data acquisition and analysis are outlined. The major biological findings are discussed.

  13. Large Scale Density Estimation of Blue and Fin Whales (LSD)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Large Scale Density Estimation of Blue and Fin Whales ...sensors, or both. The goal of this research is to develop and implement a new method for estimating blue and fin whale density that is effective over...develop and implement a density estimation methodology for quantifying blue and fin whale abundance from passive acoustic data recorded on sparse

  14. Long-term resightings of humpback whales off Ecuador

    OpenAIRE

    Castro, C.; J. Acevedo; Aguayo-Lobo, A.; Allen, J.; Capella, J.; Rosa, Dalla, L.; Flores-González, L.; Kaufman, G.; Forestell, P.; Scheidat, M.; Secchi, E.R.; Stevick, P.; Santos, M.C.O.

    2012-01-01

    This paper reports on the long-term re-sight histories of fifteen photo-identified humpback whales encountered to date transiting Ecuadorian waters. It also provides information about connections to feeding area destinations. Whale EC1261 has been resighted over a 26 year span and provides insight into age and potential longevity of this species in the stock G. The resighting of whale EC1261 provides the earliest connection from Ecuador to Antarctica. and supports previous findings that Antar...

  15. Dividing up the pie : whales, fish, and humans as competitors

    OpenAIRE

    Ruzicka, J. J.; Steele, J.H.; Ballerini, Tosca; Gaichas, S. K.; Ainley, D.G.

    2013-01-01

    Similarly structured food web models of four coastal ecosystems (Northern California Current, Central Gulf of Alaska, Georges Bank, southwestern Antarctic Peninsula) were used to investigate competition among whales, fishes, pinnipeds, and humans. Two analysis strategies simulated the effects of historic baleen and odontocete whale abundances across all trophic levels: food web structure scenarios and time-dynamic scenarios. Direct competition between whales and commercial fisheries is small ...

  16. Blue and fin whale acoustics and ecology off Antarctic Peninsula

    OpenAIRE

    2006-01-01

    Blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) in the Southern Ocean were subjects of extensive whaling industry during the twentieth century. Their current population numbers remain low, making population monitoring using traditional visual surveys difficult. Both blue and fin whales produce low frequency, regularly repeated calls and are suitable for acoustic monitoring. Eight, continuously recording acoustic recorders were deployed off the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) betwe...

  17. Satellite Tracking of Humpback Whales in West Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dietz, R.; Teilmann, J.; Heide-Jørgensen, M.-P.

    In June 2000, 6 humpback whales (Megaptere novaeangliae) were tagged with satellite transmitters off West Greenland. Contact remained for up to 42 days. The tagging revealed that within the month of June, humpback whales off West Greenland moved between Fiskenæs Banke, Fyllas Banke, Tovqussaq Banke......, Sukkertop Banke and Lille Hellefiske Banke. The whales showed a preference for the continental slopes with depths less than 200 m, however, few dives were recorded down to 500 m. The whales had a preference for dives lasting 7-8 min. (15%) and no dives lasted longer than 15 min....

  18. Humans, Fish, and Whales: How Right Whales Modify Calling Behavior in Response to Shifting Background Noise Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parks, Susan E; Groch, Karina; Flores, Paulo; Sousa-Lima, Renata; Urazghildiiev, Ildar R

    2016-01-01

    This study investigates the role of behavioral plasticity in the variation of sound production of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) in response to changes in the ambient background noise conditions. Data were collected from southern right whales in Brazilian waters in October and November 2011. The goal of this study was to quantify differences in right whale vocalizations recorded in low background noise as a control, fish chorus noise, and vessel noise. Variation in call parameters were detected among the three background noise conditions and have implications for future studies of noise effects on whale sound production.

  19. Pre-whaling genetic diversity and population ecology in eastern Pacific gray whales: insights from ancient DNA and stable isotopes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S Elizabeth Alter

    Full Text Available Commercial whaling decimated many whale populations, including the eastern Pacific gray whale, but little is known about how population dynamics or ecology differed prior to these removals. Of particular interest is the possibility of a large population decline prior to whaling, as such a decline could explain the ~5-fold difference between genetic estimates of prior abundance and estimates based on historical records. We analyzed genetic (mitochondrial control region and isotopic information from modern and prehistoric gray whales using serial coalescent simulations and Bayesian skyline analyses to test for a pre-whaling decline and to examine prehistoric genetic diversity, population dynamics and ecology. Simulations demonstrate that significant genetic differences observed between ancient and modern samples could be caused by a large, recent population bottleneck, roughly concurrent with commercial whaling. Stable isotopes show minimal differences between modern and ancient gray whale foraging ecology. Using rejection-based Approximate Bayesian Computation, we estimate the size of the population bottleneck at its minimum abundance and the pre-bottleneck abundance. Our results agree with previous genetic studies suggesting the historical size of the eastern gray whale population was roughly three to five times its current size.

  20. A Stellar Stream Surrounds the Whale Galaxy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna

    2015-10-01

    The -cold dark matter cosmological model predicts that galaxies are assembled through the disruption and absorption of small satellite dwarf galaxies by their larger hosts. A recent study argues that NGC 4631, otherwise known as the Whale galaxy, shows evidence of such a recent merger in the form of an enormous stellar stream extending from it.Stream SignaturesAccording to the -CDM model, stellar tidal streams should be a ubiquitous feature among galaxies. When satellite dwarf galaxies are torn apart, they spread out into such streams before ultimately feeding the host galaxy. Unfortunately, these streams are very faint, so were only recently starting to detect these features.Stellar tidal streams have been discovered around the Milky Way and Andromeda, providing evidence of these galaxies growth via recent (within the last 8 Gyr) mergers. But discovering stellar streams around other Milky Way-like galaxies would help us to determine if the model of hierarchical galaxy assembly applies generally.To this end, the Stellar Tidal Stream Survey, led by PI David Martnez-Delgado (Center for Astronomy of Heidelberg University), is carrying out the first systematic survey of stellar tidal streams. In a recent study, Martnez-Delgado and collaborators present their detection of a giant (85 kpc long!) stellar tidal stream extending into the halo of NGC 4631, the Whale galaxy.Modeling a SatelliteThe top image is a snapshot from an N-body simulation of a single dwarf satellite, 3.5 Gyr after it started interacting with the Whale galaxy. The satellite has been torn apart and spread into a stream that reproduces observations, which are shown in the lower image (scale is not the same). [Martnez-Delgado et al. 2015]The Whale galaxy is a nearby edge-on spiral galaxy interacting with a second spiral, NGC 4656. But the authors dont believe that the Whale galaxys giant tidal stellar stream is caused by its interactions with NGC 4656. Instead, based on their observations, they believe

  1. Beaked Whale Habitat Characterization and Prediction

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-09-30

    34Temporal and Spatial Patterns in the Distribution of Squid Loligo spp. in United Kingdom Waters," in Cephalopod Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution ...published information on beaked whale diet indicates that they feed primarily on oceanic mesopelagic and benthic cephalopods , mostly squid, although...reflecting differences in prey 2 availability (Clarke, 1996). Many cephalopods congregate to spawn, presenting a concentrated resource for predators such as

  2. Is killer whale dialect evolution random?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filatova, Olga A; Burdin, Alexandr M; Hoyt, Erich

    2013-10-01

    The killer whale is among the few species in which cultural change accumulates over many generations, leading to cumulative cultural evolution. Killer whales have group-specific vocal repertoires which are thought to be learned rather than being genetically coded. It is supposed that divergence between vocal repertoires of sister groups increases gradually over time due to random learning mistakes and innovations. In this case, the similarity of calls across groups must be correlated with pod relatedness and, consequently, with each other. In this study we tested this prediction by comparing the patterns of call similarity between matrilines of resident killer whales from Eastern Kamchatka. We calculated the similarity of seven components from three call types across 14 matrilines. In contrast to the theoretical predictions, matrilines formed different clusters on the dendrograms made by different calls and even by different components of the same call. We suggest three possible explanations for this phenomenon. First, the lack of agreement between similarity patterns of different components may be the result of constraints in the call structure. Second, it is possible that call components change in time with different speed and/or in different directions. Third, horizontal cultural transmission of call features may occur between matrilines.

  3. Field Research Studying Whales in an Undergraduate Animal Behavior Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacLaren, R. David; Schulte, Dianna; Kennedy, Jen

    2012-01-01

    This work describes a new field research laboratory in an undergraduate animal behavior course involving the study of whale behavior, ecology and conservation in partnership with a non-profit research organization--the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation (BOS). The project involves two weeks of training and five weekend trips on whale watch…

  4. Quota disputes and subsistence whaling in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tejsner, Pelle

    2014-01-01

    on locally varying environmental and ecological circumstances and that their negotiation of current regulations, in turn, suggests a further consideration of the social aspects as these inform local knowledge about whales and wider socio-economic circumstances governing whaling in Qeqertarsuaq. In reviewing...

  5. CHARACTERIZATION OF WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE SPRING FEEDING HABITAT

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Great South Channel region of the southwestern Gulf of Maine, between George's Bank and Cape Cod, is the primary spring feeding ground for the western North Atlantic population of the I northern right whale, E. glacialis .Since this whale is so endangered, it is critical to i...

  6. 33 CFR 117.927 - Coosaw River (Whale Branch).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Coosaw River (Whale Branch). 117.927 Section 117.927 Navigation and Navigable Waters COAST GUARD, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY... (Whale Branch). The draw of the Seaboard System Railroad bridge, mile 5.3 at Seabrook, and the draw...

  7. Molecular genetic identification of southern hemisphere beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalebout, M L; Helden, A V; van Waerebeek, K; Baker, C S

    1998-06-01

    To assist in the species-level identification of stranded and hunted beaked whales, we compiled a database of 'reference' sequences from the mitochondrial DNA control region for 15 of the 20 described ziphiid species. Reference samples for eight species were obtained from stranded animals in New Zealand and South Australia. Sequences for a further seven species were obtained from a previously published report. This database was used to identify 20 'test' samples obtained from incompletely documented strandings around New Zealand. Analyses showed that four of these 'test' specimens (20%) had initially been misidentified. These included two animals of particular interest: (i) a Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), the first record of this species in New Zealand waters; and, (ii) a juvenile Andrews' beaked whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini), a species known from just over 20 strandings worldwide. A published sequence from a beaked whale product purchased in the Republic of Korea was identified as a Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris). Levels of intra- and interspecific variation were compared to determine the potential for misidentification when the database or taxonomy is incomplete. Intraspecific variation was generally 4.7%. Exceptions were within-species variation in Hyperoodon planifrons, southern bottlenosed whale (4.12%), which exceeded the variation between the two species of Berardius (3.78%), and variation between the two specimens assigned to M. hectori, Hector's beaked whale (7.14%). The latter case appears to be an error in species identification, and could represent the discovery of a new species of beaked whale.

  8. Microplastic in a macro filter feeder: humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Besseling, E.; Foekema, E.M.; Franeker, van J.A.; Leopold, M.F.; Bravo Rebolledo, E.; Kuehn, S.; Mielke, L.; Heberle-Bors, E.; Ijzer, J.; Kamminga, P.; Koelmans, A.A.

    2015-01-01

    Marine filter feeders are exposed to microplastic because of their selection of small particles as food source. Baleen whales feed by filtering small particles from large water volumes. Macroplastic was found in baleen whales before. This study is the first to show the presence of microplastic in in

  9. Microplastic in a macro filter feeder: Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    E., Besseling,; E.M., Foekema,; J.A. van, Franeker; Leopold, Mardik F; Kuhn, S.; Bravo Rebolledo, E.L.; Hese, E.; Mielke, L.; IJzer, J.; Kamminga, P.; Koelmans, A.A.

    2015-01-01

    Marine filter feeders are exposed to microplastic because of their selection of small particles as food source. Baleen whales feed by filtering small particles from large water volumes. Macroplastic was found in baleen whales before. This study is the first to show the presence of microplastic in in

  10. Long-term resightings of humpback whales off Ecuador

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Castro, C.; Acevedo, J.; Aguayo-Lobo, A.; Allen, J.; Capella, J.; Rosa, Dalla L.; Flores-González, L.; Kaufman, G.; Forestell, P.; Scheidat, M.; Secchi, E.R.; Stevick, P.; Santos, M.C.O.

    2012-01-01

    This paper reports on the long-term re-sight histories of fifteen photo-identified humpback whales encountered to date transiting Ecuadorian waters. It also provides information about connections to feeding area destinations. Whale EC1261 has been resighted over a 26 year span and provides insight i

  11. Life history evolution: what does a menopausal killer whale do?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal

    2015-03-16

    Menopause evolved in humans and whales, presumably because older females can help their kin. But how do they help? New research shows that post-menopausal female killer whales lead foraging groups. This leadership is most significant when food is scarce.

  12. Commercial Whaling, Especially for Gray Whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California Shore Stations in the 19th Century (1854–1899)

    OpenAIRE

    2010-01-01

    Shore whaling along North America’s California and Baja California coasts during 1854–99 was ancillary to the offshore and alongshore American whale fishery, which had begun in the North Pacific in the early 1800’s and was flourishing by the 1840’s. From its inception at Monterey, Calif., in the mid 1850’s, the shore fishery, involving open boats deployed from land to catch and tow whales for processing, eventually spread from Monterey south to San Diego and Baja California and north...

  13. Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus scavenge offal from minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata whaling operations in Svalbard (Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lisa-Marie Leclerc

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata tissue (mainly blubber was found in the gastrointestinal tracks of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus collected in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard, Norway. In order to determine whether the sharks were actively hunting the whales, finding naturally dead whales or consuming offal from whaling, we checked the genetic identity of the whale tissue found in the sharks against the DNA register for minke whales taken in Norwegian whaling operations. All of the minke whale samples from the sharks that had DNA of sufficient quality to perform individual identifications were traceable to the whaling DNA register. During whaling operations, the blubber is stripped from the carcass and thrown overboard. The blubber strips float on the surface and are available for surface-feeding predators. This study revealed that Greenland sharks are scavenging this material; additionally, it demonstrates the capacity of this ‘benthic-feeding’ shark to utilize the whole water column for foraging.

  14. Miocene whale-fall from California demonstrates that cetacean size did not determine the evolution of modern whale-fall communities

    OpenAIRE

    Pyenson, Nicholas D.; Haasl, David M

    2007-01-01

    Whale-fall communities support a deep-sea invertebrate assemblage that subsists entirely on the decaying carcasses of large cetaceans. The oldest whale-falls are Late Eocene in age, but these early whale-falls differ in faunal content and host cetacean size from Neogene and Recent whale-falls. Vesicomyid bivalves, for example, are major components of the sulphophilic stage in Miocene and Recent whale-fall communities, but they are absent from Palaeogene fossil whale-falls. The differences bet...

  15. How Baleen Whales Feed: The Biomechanics of Engulfment and Filtration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldbogen, J. A.; Cade, D. E.; Calambokidis, J.; Friedlaender, A. S.; Potvin, J.; Segre, P. S.; Werth, A. J.

    2017-01-01

    Baleen whales are gigantic obligate filter feeders that exploit aggregations of small-bodied prey in littoral, epipelagic, and mesopelagic ecosystems. At the extreme of maximum body size observed among mammals, baleen whales exhibit a unique combination of high overall energetic demands and low mass-specific metabolic rates. As a result, most baleen whale species have evolved filter-feeding mechanisms and foraging strategies that take advantage of seasonally abundant yet patchily and ephemerally distributed prey resources. New methodologies consisting of multi-sensor tags, active acoustic prey mapping, and hydrodynamic modeling have revolutionized our ability to study the physiology and ecology of baleen whale feeding mechanisms. Here, we review the current state of the field by exploring several hypotheses that aim to explain how baleen whales feed. Despite significant advances, major questions remain about the processes that underlie these extreme feeding mechanisms, which enabled the evolution of the largest animals of all time.

  16. Baleen whales and their prey in a coastal environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piatt, John F.; Methven, David A.; Burger, Alan E.; McLagan, Ruth L.; Mercer, Vicki; Creelman, Elizabeth

    1989-01-01

    Patterns of abundance of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), and minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) whales are described in relation to the abundance of their primary prey, capelin (Mallotus villosus), during 1982–1985 at Witless Bay, Newfoundland. The abundance ratio of the three whale species was 10:1:3.5, respectively. Abundance of all whale species was strongly correlated with abundance of capelin through each season and between years. Capelin abundance accounted for 63% of the variation in whale numbers in 1983 and 1984, while environmental parameters (e.g., water temperatures) accounted for little variance. The amount of capelin consumed by whales was small (< 2%) compared with the amount available. All three species overlapped temporally at Witless Bay, but spatial overlap was reduced as fins occurred primarily offshore, minkes primarily inshore, and humpbacks in bay habitats of intermediate depth.

  17. 77 FR 16538 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for the North Atlantic Right Whale...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-21

    ...; Initiation of 5-Year Review for the North Atlantic Right Whale and the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY... review of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena... of any such information on these whales that has become available since the last status review...

  18. Arctic whaling : proceedings of the International Symposium Arctic Whaling February 1983

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jacob, H.K. s'; Snoeijing, K

    1984-01-01

    Contents: D.M. Hopkins and Louie Marincovich Jr. Whale Biogeography and the history of the Arctic Basin P.M. Kellt, J.H.W. Karas and L.D. Williams Arctic Climate: Past, Present and Future Torgny E. Vinje On the present state and the future fate of the Arctic sea ice cover P.J.H. van Bree On the biol

  19. On the growth of the baleen plate of the Fin Whale and the Blue Whale

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Utrecht, van W.L.

    1965-01-01

    1. In Whales variations in the thickness of the baleen plates are supposed to give an insight into certain cyclical processes in the life of the animal. To a certain extent, by means of these variations, it is possible to reach conclusions about the age of the animal and/or about its recent period o

  20. Oceanographic connectivity between right whale critical habitats in Canada and its influence on whale abundance indices during 1987-2009

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Kimberley T. A.; Vanderlaan, Angelia S. M.; Smedbol, R. Kent; Taggart, Christopher T.

    2015-10-01

    The Roseway and Grand Manan basins on the Canadian Atlantic coast are neighboring late-summer critical feeding habitats for endangered North Atlantic right whales. Although in late summer these habitats regularly contain thick aggregations of right whale food - the copepod Calanus spp. - right whales periodically abandon one or both habitats in the same year. The causes of abandonments, their relationship to food supply, and the locations of whales during abandonment periods are unclear. The goals of this study were to explain variation in right whale abundance indices from a habitat perspective, and to determine whether or not oceanographic variation in the habitats influences occupancy. Four indices of whale abundance and habitat occupancy, including sightings per unit effort (SPUE), photographic sightings of known individuals, population size and habitat transition probabilities, were analyzed in relation to unique datasets of Calanus concentration and water mass characteristics in each basin over the period 1987 through 2009. Calanus concentration, water mass sources and various hydrographic properties each varied coherently between basins. Calanus concentration showed an increasing trend over time in each habitat, although a short-lived reduction in Calanus may have caused right whales to abandon Roseway Basin during the mid-1990s. Food supply explained variation in right whale sightings and population size in Roseway Basin, but not in Grand Manan Basin, suggesting that the Grand Manan Basin has important habitat characteristics in addition to food supply. Changes in the distribution of whale abundance indices during years when oceanographic conditions were associated with reduced food supply in the Scotia-Fundy region suggest that other suitable feeding habitats may not have existed during such years and resulted in negative effects on whale health and reproduction.

  1. STUDIES REGARDING THE PRESENCE OF THE PATHOGENS BACTERIA INTO A RECIRCULATING SYSTEM OF BELUGA STURGEON INTENSIVE REARING

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    ANGELICA DOCAN

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Recirculating aquaculture offers good potential for successful fish farming since is often independent of environmental conditions. Maintaining healthy fish in a recirculating system involves establishing adequate dissolved oxygen levels, removal of solid wastes, and sufficient ammonia nitrification to assure optimal rearing conditions. Neglecting these, the fish immune system will depress, the facultative pathogen germs will be able to provoke important disease outbreaks into cultured biomass, as was happened in our recirculating pilot system. In this study are presented the pathological aspects registered to the beluga sturgeon of 1 year, reared into our recirculating pilot system, pathological aspects generated by a haemorrhagic bacterial septicaemia which was manifested in the conditions of low concentrations of DO. The disease was diagnosed to the affected fish through anatomopathological and clinical exam, haematological exam and microbiological exam.

  2. Summary of Reported Whale-Vessel Collisions in Alaskan Waters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janet L. Neilson

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Here we summarize 108 reported whale-vessel collisions in Alaska from 1978–2011, of which 25 are known to have resulted in the whale's death. We found 89 definite and 19 possible/probable strikes based on standard criteria we created for this study. Most strikes involved humpback whales (86% with six other species documented. Small vessel strikes were most common (<15 m, 60%, but medium (15–79 m, 27% and large (≥80 m, 13% vessels also struck whales. Among the 25 mortalities, vessel length was known in seven cases (190–294 m and vessel speed was known in three cases (12–19 kn. In 36 cases, human injury or property damage resulted from the collision, and at least 15 people were thrown into the water. In 15 cases humpback whales struck anchored or drifting vessels, suggesting the whales did not detect the vessels. Documenting collisions in Alaska will remain challenging due to remoteness and resource limitations. For a better understanding of the factors contributing to lethal collisions, we recommend (1 systematic documentation of collisions, including vessel size and speed; (2 greater efforts to necropsy stranded whales; (3 using experienced teams focused on determining cause of death; (4 using standard criteria for validating collision reports, such as those presented in this paper.

  3. Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rolland, Rosalind M; Parks, Susan E; Hunt, Kathleen E; Castellote, Manuel; Corkeron, Peter J; Nowacek, Douglas P; Wasser, Samuel K; Kraus, Scott D

    2012-06-22

    Baleen whales (Mysticeti) communicate using low-frequency acoustic signals. These long-wavelength sounds can be detected over hundreds of kilometres, potentially allowing contact over large distances. Low-frequency noise from large ships (20-200 Hz) overlaps acoustic signals used by baleen whales, and increased levels of underwater noise have been documented in areas with high shipping traffic. Reported responses of whales to increased noise include: habitat displacement, behavioural changes and alterations in the intensity, frequency and intervals of calls. However, it has been unclear whether exposure to noise results in physiological responses that may lead to significant consequences for individuals or populations. Here, we show that reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, following the events of 11 September 2001, resulted in a 6 dB decrease in underwater noise with a significant reduction below 150 Hz. This noise reduction was associated with decreased baseline levels of stress-related faecal hormone metabolites (glucocorticoids) in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). This is the first evidence that exposure to low-frequency ship noise may be associated with chronic stress in whales, and has implications for all baleen whales in heavy ship traffic areas, and for recovery of this endangered right whale population.

  4. Evidence for ship noise impacts on humpback whale foraging behaviour.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blair, Hannah B; Merchant, Nathan D; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N; Parks, Susan E

    2016-08-01

    Noise from shipping activity in North Atlantic coastal waters has been steadily increasing and is an area of growing conservation concern, as it has the potential to disrupt the behaviour of marine organisms. This study examines the impacts of ship noise on bottom foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic. Data were collected from 10 foraging whales using non-invasive archival tags that simultaneously recorded underwater movements and the acoustic environment at the whale. Using mixed models, we assess the effects of ship noise on seven parameters of their feeding behaviours. Independent variables included the presence or absence of ship noise and the received level of ship noise at the whale. We found significant effects on foraging, including slower descent rates and fewer side-roll feeding events per dive with increasing ship noise. During 5 of 18 ship passages, dives without side-rolls were observed. These findings indicate that humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, an area with chronically elevated levels of shipping traffic, significantly change foraging activity when exposed to high levels of ship noise. This measureable reduction in within-dive foraging effort of individual whales could potentially lead to population-level impacts of shipping noise on baleen whale foraging success.

  5. From sanddabs to blue whales: the pervasiveness of domoic acid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lefebvre, Kathi A; Bargu, Sibel; Kieckhefer, Tom; Silver, Mary W

    2002-07-01

    Domoic acid (DA) is a potent food web transferred algal toxin that has caused dramatic mortality events involving sea birds and sea lions. Although no confirmed DA toxicity events have been reported in whales, here we present data demonstrating that humpback and blue whales are exposed to the toxin and consume DA contaminated prey. Whale fecal samples were found to contain DA at levels ranging from 10 to 207microg DA g(-1) feces via HPLC-UV methods. SEM analysis of whale feces containing DA, collected from krill-feeding whales, revealed the presence of diatom frustules identified as Pseudo-nitzschia australis, a known DA producer. Humpback whales were observed feeding on anchovies and sardines that contained DA at levels ranging from 75 to 444microg DA g(-1) viscera. DA contamination of whale feces and fish occurred only during blooms of toxic Pseudo-nitzschia. Additionally, several novel fish species collected during a toxic diatom bloom were tested for DA. Fish as diverse as benthic sanddabs and pelagic albacore were found to contain the neurotoxin, suggesting that DA permeates benthic as well as pelagic communities.

  6. Helminths parasites of whales in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luís C. Muniz-Pereira

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available Three species of whale Balaenoptera borealis Lesson, 1828, B. physalus (Linnaeus, 1758 and Physeter catodon Linnaeus, 1758 captured in the Brazilian coast were necropsied for helminths. Balaenoptera borealis and B. physalus were infected by Crassicauda crassicauda (Nematoda, Tetrameridae and Ogmogaster antarcticus (Digenea: Notocotylidae, which are referred for the first time in Brazil. Balaenoptera borealis was also infected by Lecithodesmus goliath (Digenea, Campulidae and Bolbosoma turbinella (Acanthocephala, Polymorphidae. Physeter catodon was infected by Anisakis physeteris (Nematoda, Anisakidae, which is a new record to this host in Brazilian waters.

  7. Taxonomy Icon Data: sperm whale [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus Chordata/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Theria/Eutheria/Cet...acea Physeter_macrocephalus_L.png Physeter_macrocephalus_NL.png Physeter_macrocephalus_S.png Physeter_macrocephalu...s_NS.png http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Physeter+macrocephalus&t=L http://bioscience...dbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Physeter+macrocephalus&t=NL http://biosciencedbc....jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Physeter+macrocephalus&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Physeter+macrocephalus&t=NS ...

  8. "More Swimming Lessons from the London Whale"

    OpenAIRE

    Jan KREGEL

    2013-01-01

    This policy brief by Senior Scholar and Program Director Jan Kregel builds on an earlier analysis (Policy Note 2012/6) of JPMorgan Chase and the actions of the "London Whale", and what this episode reveals about the larger risks inherent in the financial system. It is clear that the Dodd-Frank Act failed to prevent massive losses by one of the world's largest banks. This is undeniable evidence that work remains to be done to reform the financial system. Toward this end, Kregel reviews the fin...

  9. Marine Mammals Ashore: A Field Guide for Strandings. Second Edition

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    South Wales . 147. Pippard, L. 1985. Status of the St. Lawrence River population of beluga . Canadian Field-Naturalist 99:438-450. 148. Pivomnas, A...helpless on land, may occasionally cross the boundary between sea and land without undue risk. A beluga whale may come ashore to rub free a winter’s...inshore periodically (e.g., long-finned pilot whales), during calving or migration (e.g., beluga whales, North Atlantic right whales), or even diurnally

  10. Minke whales maximise energy storage on their feeding grounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christiansen, Fredrik; Víkingsson, Gísli A; Rasmussen, Marianne H; Lusseau, David

    2013-02-01

    Seasonal trends in energy storage of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), a capital breeder, were investigated in Iceland, a North Atlantic feeding ground. The aim was to better understand the energy acquisition strategies of minke whales and the energetic costs that different reproductive classes face during the breeding season. We modelled total blubber volume, using blubber thickness and morphometric measurements of individual whales. Blubber volume was influenced by body length, and was higher for pregnant females than mature whales. Blubber volume increased linearly through the feeding season at the same rate for mature (mean ± s.e.m.=0.0028 ± 0.00103 m(3) day(-1); N=61 male, 5 female) and pregnant whales (0.0024 ± 0.00100 m(3) day(-1); N=49), suggesting that minke whales aim to maximise energy storage while on the feeding grounds. The total amount of blubber accumulated over the feeding season (0.51 ± 0.119 m(3) for mature and 0.43 ± 0.112 m(3) for pregnant whales), together with energy stored as muscle and intra-abdominal fats, constitutes the total amount of energy available for reproduction (fetus development and lactation) on the breeding grounds, as well as migration, daily field metabolic rates, growth and body maintenance. No seasonal variation was observed for immature whales (N=4 male, 12 female), suggesting that they are investing most of their excess energy into growth rather than reproduction, in order to reach the length of sexual maturity faster and start reproducing earlier. Our novel modelling approach provides insight into large whale bioenergetics and life history strategies, as well as the relationship between single-site measurement of blubber thickness and total blubber volume.

  11. Giardiasis in pinnipeds from eastern Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Measures, L N; Olson, M

    1999-10-01

    Cysts of Giardia sp. were detected in feces from the rectum of 20 of 74 pinnipeds examined from the eastern coast of Canada in 1997 and 1998 using a monoclonal antibody technique. Infected pinnipeds included 15 adult harp seals (Phoca groenlandica), four adult grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), and one juvenile harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). Cysts were not detected in 15 seal pups St. Lawrence. The overall prevalence of Giardia sp. in grey and harbor seals, excluding pups, from the Gulf and St. Lawrence estuary was 23%. Feces from 11 beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and one northern bottle-nosed whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) stranded in the St. Lawrence estuary were negative for Giardia sp. cysts. The significance of Giardia sp. in marine mammals, shown here for the first time in eastern coastal Canada, is unknown.

  12. Distribution and abundance of West Greenland humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae )

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Larsen, Finn; Hammond, P.S.

    2004-01-01

    Photo-identification surveys of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae were conducted at West Greenland during 1988-93, the last 2 years of which were part of the internationally coordinated humpback whale research programme YoNAH, with the primary aim of estimating abundance for the West Greenland...... effort. A total of 670 groups of humpback whales was encountered leading to the identification of 348 individual animals. Three areas of concentration were identified: an area off Nuuk; an area at c. 63degrees30'N; and an area off Frederikshab. Sequential Petersen capture-recapture estimates of abundance...

  13. Description of a new fossil beaked whale from the Late Miocene Gram Fm. in Denmark, and aspects of beaked whale evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ramassamy, Benjamin Fernand Guy

    Modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) are among the least known groups of mammals. This family of toothed whales forage at great depths on cephalopods, their favored prey. The origin and timing of their specialisation to deep diving is almost unknown. The discovery of a new fossil beaked whale from De...

  14. Whales and dolphins (Mammalia, Cetacea) of the Cape Verde Islands, with special reference to the Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hazevoet, Cornelis J.; Wenzel, Frederick W.

    2000-01-01

    Observations of whales and dolphins in the Cape Verde Islands obtained in 1995 and 1996 are reported and data on the occurrence of 14 taxa are given, including four not previously reported from the region, viz. Bryde’s Whale Balaenoptera edeni, Killer Whale Orcinus orca, Rough-toothed Dolphin Steno

  15. Investigation of the Physiological Responses of Belugas to Stressors to Aid in Assessing the Impact of Environmental and Anthropogenic Challenges on Health

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-12-19

    However, all belugas could establish visual and auditory contact with each other. Blood samples had been collected and archived for a subset of the...Connecticut (UCONN), Department of Marine Biosciences will contribute to development of an assay for measuring stress hormones in cetacean blow as well...activity of granulocytes and monocytes were assayed immediately following blood collection. Hormone (cortisol, ACTH, and aldosterone) and cat echo

  16. Humpback whale song: A new review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frankel, Adam S.

    2003-04-01

    The humpback whale song has been described and investigated since the early 1970s. Much has been learned about the humpback whale social structure, but the understanding of the song and its function remains elusive. The hierarchical nature of the song structure was described early on: Songs can be sung for a long period, apparently by males, and primarily during the mating season. However, singers also become physically competitive, suggesting alternative mating strategies. There are a number of unique structural features of song. Its structure evolves over time and combination. The nature of song evolution strongly implies cultural transmission. Song structure appears to be shared within an entire population, even though there appears to be little interchange of individuals between sub populations. Despite over thirty years of inquiry there are still numerous unanswered questions: Why is the song structure so complex? Is song a sexual advertisement, an acoustic space mediation mechanism, or both? How do females choose mates, or do they? What drives song evolution, and why is there so much variation in the rate of change? Are there nonreproductive functions of song? What prompts a male to begin or end singing? Our current understanding and the outstanding questions yet to be answered will be reviewed.

  17. Isolation of Brucella ceti from a Long-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas) and a Sowerby's Beaked Whale (Mesoploden bidens).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Geoffrey; Whatmore, Adrian M; Dagleish, Mark P; Baily, Johanna L; Deaville, Rob; Davison, Nicholas J; Koylass, Mark S; Perrett, Lorraine L; Stubberfield, Emma J; Reid, Robert J; Brownlow, Andrew C

    2015-10-01

    Brucella ceti is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that has been recovered from several species of cetaceans in the world's oceans over the past 20 yr. We report the recovery of B. ceti from a Sowerby's beaked whale (Mesoploden bidens) and a long-finned pilot whale (Globicehala melas). Recovery from the testis of a long-finned pilot whale provides further evidence of potential for B. ceti infection to impact the reproductive success of cetaceans, many of which are threatened species. The addition of another two cetacean species to the growing number from which B. ceti has been recovered also further emphasizes the concern for human infections with this organism.

  18. Necropsy report of a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) stranded in Denmark in 2010

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alstrup, Aage K. O.; Hedayat, Abdi; Jensen, Trine Hammer;

    2013-01-01

    There is little detailed information on stranded fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the scientific literature (Notarbartolo di Sciara et al., 2003). In Denmark, at least eight fin whales stranded between the years 1603 and 1958 (Kinze, 1995). On 16 June 2010, a live subadult or adult male fin...... whale stranded in the Bay of Vejle (55º 69' N, 9º 58' E), Denmark. Despite several attempts, it was not possible to rescue the fin whale, which was only partially exposed by the water. The fin whale succumbed after 5 d stranded in shallow water. The dead fin whale was transported to a nearby pier...

  19. Gulf of Mexico killer whale photo-ID catalog

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Photo-identification data on killer whales occupying the northern Gulf of Mexico have been collected in association with large vessel surveys since 1991. Photographs...

  20. Passive acoustic detection of deep-diving beaked whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zimmer, W.M.X.; Harwood, J.; Tyack, P.L.

    2008-01-01

    Beaked whales can remain submerged for an hour or more and are difficult to sight when they come to the surface to breathe. Passive acoustic detection (PAD) not only complements traditional visual-based methods for detecting these species but also can be more effective because beaked whales produce...... clicks regularly to echolocate on prey during deep foraging dives. The effectiveness of PAD for beaked whales depends not only on the acoustic behavior and output of the animals but also on environmental conditions and the quality of the passive sonar implemented. A primary constraint on the range...... at which beaked whale clicks can be detected involves their high frequencies, which attenuate rapidly, resulting in limited ranges of detection, especially in adverse environmental conditions. Given current knowledge of source parameters and in good conditions, for example, with a wind speed of 2  m...

  1. Arctic wildlife sketches: Whales of the Northwest Territories

    Data.gov (United States)

    US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior — This report covers whales of the Northwest Territories. Topics covered include distribution, behavior, food, reproduction, and economic status and management.

  2. Hydrodynamic properties of fin whale flippers predict maximum rolling performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Segre, Paolo S; Cade, David E; Fish, Frank E; Potvin, Jean; Allen, Ann N; Calambokidis, John; Friedlaender, Ari S; Goldbogen, Jeremy A

    2016-11-01

    Maneuverability is one of the most important and least understood aspects of animal locomotion. The hydrofoil-like flippers of cetaceans are thought to function as control surfaces that effect maneuvers, but quantitative tests of this hypothesis have been lacking. Here, we constructed a simple hydrodynamic model to predict the longitudinal-axis roll performance of fin whales, and we tested its predictions against kinematic data recorded by on-board movement sensors from 27 free-swimming fin whales. We found that for a given swimming speed and roll excursion, the roll velocity of fin whales calculated from our field data agrees well with that predicted by our hydrodynamic model. Although fluke and body torsion may further influence performance, our results indicate that lift generated by the flippers is sufficient to drive most of the longitudinal-axis rolls used by fin whales for feeding and maneuvering.

  3. The separation of whale myoglobins with two-dimensional electrophoresis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spicer, G S

    1988-10-01

    Five myoglobins (sperm whale, Sei whale, Hubbs' beaked whale, pilot whale, and Amazon River dolphin) were examined using two-dimensional electrophoresis. Previous reports indicated that none of these proteins could be separated by using denaturing (in the presence of 8-9 M urea) isoelectric focusing. This result is confirmed in the present study. However, all the proteins could be separated by using denaturing nonequilibrium pH-gradient electrophoresis in the first dimension. Additionally, all the myoglobins have characteristic mobilities in the second dimension (sodium dodecyl sulfate), but these mobilities do not correspond to the molecular weights of the proteins. We conclude that two-dimensional electrophoresis can be more sensitive to differences in primary protein structure than previous studies indicate and that the assessment seems to be incorrect that this technique can separate only proteins that have a unit charge difference.

  4. The world's most isolated and distinct whale population? Humpback whales of the Arabian Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cristina Pomilla

    Full Text Available A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understanding of its relationship to other populations. We analysed 11 microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from 67 Arabian Sea humpback whale tissue samples and compared them to equivalent datasets from the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific. Results show that the Arabian Sea population is highly distinct; estimates of gene flow and divergence times suggest a Southern Indian Ocean origin but indicate that it has been isolated for approximately 70,000 years, remarkable for a species that is typically highly migratory. Genetic diversity values are significantly lower than those obtained for Southern Hemisphere populations and signatures of ancient and recent genetic bottlenecks were identified. Our findings suggest this is the world's most isolated humpback whale population, which, when combined with low population abundance estimates and anthropogenic threats, raises concern for its survival. We recommend an amendment of the status of the population to "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.

  5. The world's most isolated and distinct whale population? Humpback whales of the Arabian Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomilla, Cristina; Amaral, Ana R; Collins, Tim; Minton, Gianna; Findlay, Ken; Leslie, Matthew S; Ponnampalam, Louisa; Baldwin, Robert; Rosenbaum, Howard

    2014-01-01

    A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understanding of its relationship to other populations. We analysed 11 microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA sequences extracted from 67 Arabian Sea humpback whale tissue samples and compared them to equivalent datasets from the Southern Hemisphere and North Pacific. Results show that the Arabian Sea population is highly distinct; estimates of gene flow and divergence times suggest a Southern Indian Ocean origin but indicate that it has been isolated for approximately 70,000 years, remarkable for a species that is typically highly migratory. Genetic diversity values are significantly lower than those obtained for Southern Hemisphere populations and signatures of ancient and recent genetic bottlenecks were identified. Our findings suggest this is the world's most isolated humpback whale population, which, when combined with low population abundance estimates and anthropogenic threats, raises concern for its survival. We recommend an amendment of the status of the population to "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.

  6. Multiple origins of gigantism in stem baleen whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Kohno, Naoki

    2016-12-01

    Living baleen whales (Mysticeti) include the world's largest animals to have ever lived—blue whales ( Balaenoptera musculus) can reach more than 30 m. However, the gigantism in baleen whales remains little explored. Here, we compiled all published stem mysticetes from the Eocene and Oligocene and then mapped the estimated body size onto different phylogenies that suggest distinct evolutionary histories of baleen whales. By assembling all known stem baleen whales, we present three novel findings in early mysticete evolution. Results show that, regardless of different phylogenetic scenarios, large body size (more than 5-m long) evolved multiple times independently in their early evolutionary history. For example, the earliest known aetiocetid ( Fucaia buelli, 33-31 Ma) was small in size, about 2 m, and a later aetiocetid ( Morawanocetus-like animal, 26-23 Ma) can reach 8-m long—almost four times the size of Fucaia buelli—suggesting an independent gigantism in the aetiocetid lineage. In addition, our reconstruction of ancestral state demonstrates that the baleen whales originated from small body size (less than 5 m) rather than large body size as previously acknowledged. Moreover, reconstructing the evolution of body size in stem baleen whales suggests that the initial pulse of mysticete gigantism started at least back to the Paleogene and in turn should help to understand the origin, pattern, and process of the extreme gigantism in the crown baleen whales. This study illustrates that Cope's rule is insufficient to explain the evolution of body size in a group that comprises the largest animals in the history of life, although currently the lack of exact ancestor-descendant relationships remains to fully reveal the evolutionary history of body size.

  7. Beaked Whale Group Deep Dive Behavior from Passive Acoustic Monitoring

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Beaked Whale Group Deep Dive Behavior from Passive...Research Organisation P.O. Box AB-20714 Marsh Harbour Abaco, Bahamas phone: (242) 366-4155 fax: (242) 366-4155 email: dclaridge...N000141512649 LONG-TERM GOALS While a significant body of knowledge regarding individual beaked whale behavior at depth has been established in the

  8. The modelling and assessment of whale-watching impacts

    OpenAIRE

    New, Leslie Frances; Hall, Ailsa Jane; Harcourt, R.; Kaufman, G.; E. C. M. Parsons; Pearson, H.C.; Cosentino, A.M.; Schick, Robert Schilling

    2015-01-01

    In recent years there has been significant interest in modelling cumulative effects and the population consequences of individual changes in cetacean behaviour and physiology due to disturbance. One potential source of disturbance that has garnered particular interest is whale-watching. Though perceived as 'green' or eco-friendly tourism, there is evidence that whale-watching can result in statistically significant and biologically meaningful changes in cetacean behaviour, raising the questio...

  9. Aerodynamic assessment of humpback whale ventral fin shapes

    OpenAIRE

    2011-01-01

    The ventral fins of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) include a bulbous leading edge acting as a natural high-lift device. It has been suggested that application of this concept to wing design may yield advantages over traditional shapes (Miklosovic, et al., 2004). During the course of this project, the aerodynamic performance of whale fin models will be compared with conventional wing shapes. Based on the results of the study new wing design paradigms will be developed to improve t...

  10. Building a Virtual Model of a Baleen Whale: Phase 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    within a day or two, depending upon several factors. Some of these factors are: the power of the RSW system, the nutritive condition of the whale...vessel where internal organ structure might be compromised. Neither will it have rolled around in the surf on a rocky beach in the hot sun, but rather...297-324. Perryman, W. L., and Lynn, M. S. (2002). "Evaluation of nutritive condition and reproductive status of migrating gray whales (Eschrichtius

  11. The modelling and assessment of whale-watching impacts

    Science.gov (United States)

    New, Leslie; Hall, Ailsa J.; Harcourt, Robert; Kaufman, Greg; Parsons, E.C.M.; Pearson, Heidi C.; Cosentino, A. Mel; Schick, Robert S

    2015-01-01

    In recent years there has been significant interest in modelling cumulative effects and the population consequences of individual changes in cetacean behaviour and physiology due to disturbance. One potential source of disturbance that has garnered particular interest is whale-watching. Though perceived as ‘green’ or eco-friendly tourism, there is evidence that whale-watching can result in statistically significant and biologically meaningful changes in cetacean behaviour, raising the question whether whale-watching is in fact a long term sustainable activity. However, an assessment of the impacts of whale-watching on cetaceans requires an understanding of the potential behavioural and physiological effects, data to effectively address the question and suitable modelling techniques. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the viability of long-term whale-watching, as well as logistical limitations and potential opportunities. We conclude that an integrated, coordinated approach will be needed to further understanding of the possible effects of whale-watching on cetaceans.

  12. A model to resolve organochlorine pharmacokinetics in migrating humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cropp, Roger; Nash, Susan Bengtson; Hawker, Darryl

    2014-07-01

    Humpback whales are iconic mammals at the top of the Antarctic food chain. Their large reserves of lipid-rich tissues such as blubber predispose them to accumulation of lipophilic contaminants throughout their lifetime. Changes in the volume and distribution of lipids in humpback whales, particularly during migration, could play an important role in the pharmacokinetics of lipophilic contaminants such as the organochlorine pesticide hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Previous models have examined constant feeding and nonmigratory scenarios. In the present study, the authors develop a novel heuristic model to investigate HCB dynamics in a humpback whale and its environment by coupling an ecosystem nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton-detritus (NPZD) model, a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model, and a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. The model takes into account the seasonal feeding pattern of whales, their energy requirements, and fluctuating contaminant burdens in the supporting plankton food chain. It is applied to a male whale from weaning to maturity, spanning 20 migration and feeding cycles. The model is initialized with environmental HCB burdens similar to those measured in the Southern Ocean and predicts blubber HCB concentrations consistent with empirical concentrations observed in a southern hemisphere population of male, migrating humpback whales. Results show for the first time some important details of the relationship between energy budgets and organochlorine pharmacokinetics.

  13. Prenatal cranial ossification of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hampe, Oliver; Franke, Helena; Hipsley, Christy A; Kardjilov, Nikolay; Müller, Johannes

    2015-05-01

    Being descendants of small terrestrial ungulate mammals, whales underwent enormous transformations during their evolutionary history, that is, extensive changes in anatomy, physiology, and behavior were evolved during secondary adaptations to life in water. However, still only little is known about whale ontogenetic development, which help to identify the timing and sequence of critical evolutionary events, such as modification of the cetacean ear. This is particularly true for baleen whales (Mysticeti), the group including the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae. We use high-resolution X-ray computed tomography to reinvestigate humpback whale fetuses from the Kükenthal collection at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, thus, extending historic descriptions of their skeletogenesis and providing for the first time sequences of cranial ossification for this species. Principally, the ossification sequence of prenatal Megaptera follows a typical mammalian pattern with the anterior dermal bones being the first ossifying elements in the skull, starting with the dentary. In contrast to other mammals, the ectotympanic bone ossifies at an early stage. Alveolar structure can be observed in both the maxillae and dentaries in these early prenatal specimens but evidence for teeth is lacking. Although the possibility of obtaining new embryological material is unlikely due to conservation issues, our study shows that reexamination of existing specimens employing new technologies still holds promise for filling gaps in our knowledge of whale evolution and ontogeny.

  14. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Fais

    Full Text Available Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0 = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120-418 within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands.

  15. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fais, Andrea; Lewis, Tim P; Zitterbart, Daniel P; Álvarez, Omar; Tejedor, Ana; Aguilar Soto, Natacha

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0) = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120-418) within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands.

  16. Mimicking the humpback whale: An aerodynamic perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aftab, S. M. A.; Razak, N. A.; Mohd Rafie, A. S.; Ahmad, K. A.

    2016-07-01

    This comprehensive review aims to provide a critical overview of the work on tubercles in the past decade. The humpback whale is of interest to aerodynamic/hydrodynamic researchers, as it performs manoeuvres that baffle the imagination. Researchers have attributed these capabilities to the presence of lumps, known as tubercles, on the leading edge of the flipper. Tubercles generate a unique flow control mechanism, offering the humpback exceptional manoeuverability. Experimental and numerical studies have shown that the flow pattern over the tubercle wing is quite different from conventional wings. Research on the Tubercle Leading Edge (TLE) concept has helped to clarify aerodynamic issues such as flow separation, tonal noise and dynamic stall. TLE shows increased lift by delaying and restricting spanwise separation. A summary of studies on different airfoils and reported improvement in performance is outlined. The major contributions and limitations of previous work are also reported.

  17. Characteristics of the Great Whale River plume

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingram, R. Grant

    1981-03-01

    Observations of the motion field and dilution effects associated with the plume of Great Whale River in Hudson Bay are presented for both open water and ice-covered conditions. In the summer months a distinct plume of about 100 km2 in area is formed offshore which is characterized by a 1-2 m thickness and large velocities directed away from the river mouth in contrast to slower currents parallel to the shore in the ambient waters underneath. Surface drifter results suggest that the outer boundary of plume may be a zone of frontal convergence. Under ice-covered conditions the plume was significantly thicker and extended much farther offshore in spite of a marked reduction in river runoff at this time.

  18. Is it possible to go whale watching off the coast of Peru?: A case study of humpback whales

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aldo S Pacheco

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Whale watching is the human activity of encountering cetaceans in their natural habitat for recreational and scientific purposes. Despite the high diversity of cetaceans in Peruvian waters, this activity has yet to be developed. Herein we present data regarding the distribution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae off northern Peru, evaluating the possibility of extending whale watching activities in this area. Data were obtained from surveys conducted from an ecotourism boat. Humpbacks were distributed in shallow waters, usually in pairs or trios throughout the study period between late July and late September. The presence of whales off northern Peru is due to winter migration for breeding and calving purposes. A high probability of encountering humpbacks within the study area could encourage the development of a whale watching industry. As this stage in the life cycle of this species is very delicate, we suggest the adoption of the precautionary principie in the management of the activity in order to minimize the risk of negative impacts on humpback populations. Whale watching in northern Peru is feasible and could be considered an alternative to fishing.

  19. Are baleen whales exposed to the threat of microplastics? A case study of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fossi, Maria Cristina; Panti, Cristina; Guerranti, Cristiana; Coppola, Daniele; Giannetti, Matteo; Marsili, Letizia; Minutoli, Roberta

    2012-11-01

    Baleen whales are potentially exposed to micro-litter ingestion as a result of their filter-feeding activity. However, the impacts of microplastics on baleen whales are largely unknown. In this case study of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), we explore the toxicological effects of microplastics on mysticetes. The study included the following three steps: (1) the collection/count of microplastics in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea), (2) the detection of phthalates in surface neustonic/planktonic samples, and (3) the detection of phthalates in stranded fin whales. A total of 56% of the surface neustonic/planktonic samples contained microplastic particles. The highest abundance of microplastics (9.63 items/m(3)) was found in the Portofino MPA (Ligurian Sea). High concentrations of phthalates (DEHP and MEHP) were detected in the neustonic/planktonic samples. The concentrations of MEHP found in the blubber of stranded fin whales suggested that phthalates could serve as a tracer of the intake of microplastics. The results of this study represent the first warning of this emerging threat to baleen whales.

  20. AFSC/NMML: North Pacific Right Whale Photo-ID Catalog

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The eastern population of the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) is the most endangered stock of whales in the world, with recent abundance estimates...

  1. SRKW seasonal occurence - Patterns of seasonal occurrence of Southern Resident Killer Whales

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Patterns of seasonal occurrence of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) throughout their range. Southern Resident Killer Whales are listed as a Distinct Population...

  2. SWFSC/MMTD: Sperm Whale Abundance and Population Structure (SWAPS) 1997

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The 1997 Sperm Whale Abundance and Population Structures (SWAPS) line-transect survey was designed to census sperm whales near the end of their breeding season in...

  3. Right Whale and Cetacean Abundance Spring Survey (AL0404, EK60)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The right whale and cetacean survey primarily focuses on right whales in the coastal and continental shelf areas, with the following objectives: 1) Develop a better...

  4. Humpback and Fin Whaling in the Gulf of Maine from 1800 to 1918

    OpenAIRE

    Reeves, Randall R.; Smith, Ted D.; Webb, Robert L.; Robbins, Jooke; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2002-01-01

    The history of whaling in the Gulf of Maine was reviewed primarily to estimate removals of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, especially during the 19th century. In the decades from 1800 to 1860, whaling effort consisted of a few localized, small-scale, shore-based enterprises on the coast of Maine and Cape Cod, Mass. Provincetown and Nantucket schooners occasionally conducted short cruises for humpback whales in New England waters. With the development of bomb-lance technology at mid c...

  5. Herpesvirus infection with severe lymphoid necrosis affecting a beaked whale stranded in the Canary Islands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arbelo, Manuel; Sierra, Eva; Esperón, Fernando; Watanabe, Tatiane T N; Bellière, Edwige N; Espinosa de los Monteros, Antonio; Fernández, Antonio

    2010-04-01

    This report describes the pathologic findings in a single, adult female Cuvier's beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris stranded in the Canary Islands. The study indicated that this whale died with a severe, systemic, herpesviral infection and clearly exhibited lesions different from those of the fat and gas embolic syndrome described in beaked whale mass strandings associated with sonar exposure. This is the first report of a cetacean alphaherpesvirus infection of the lymphoid system in a beaked whale.

  6. Physical and Biological Controls of Copepod Aggregation and Baleen Whale Distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-30

    springtime feeding area for right, sei, humpback , and fin whales in the southwestern Gulf of Maine • Examine the relationship between these mechanisms and...behavior of top predators, including those that feed directly on zooplankton (e.g., basking sharks, manta rays, right whales ). While all marine mammals...DVM, whereas right whale abundance was unaffected by DVM behavior. Sei whales appear to be restricted to feeding only on surface aggregations of

  7. Blue Whale Behavioral Response Study and Field Testing of the New Bioacoustic Probe

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    shipping routes into southern and central California ports with predictable blue whale feeding grounds makes this an ideal location of the study of...4.8 hrs., while maximum deployment duration was Although this project focused on blue whales , tags also were deployed on 3 humpback whales , one...of Cetacean Research and Management 7: 177-187. FRISTRUP, K. M., L. T. HATCH and C. W. CLARK. 2003. Variation in humpback whale (Megaptera

  8. 77 FR 5491 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Sei Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-03

    ...; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Sei Whales AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic...; request for information. SUMMARY: NMFS announces a 5-year review of sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis... of any such information on sei whales that has become available since that has become available...

  9. Whale Multi-Disciplinary Studies: A Marine Education Infusion Unit. Northern New England Marine Education Project.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maine Univ., Orono. Coll. of Education.

    This multidisciplinary unit deals with whales, whaling lore and history, and the interaction of the whale with the complex marine ecosystem. It seeks to teach adaptation of marine organisms. It portrays the concept that man is part of the marine ecosystem and man's activities can deplete and degrade marine ecosystems, endangering the survival of…

  10. 78 FR 4835 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-23

    ... Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and... Plan (Plan) for the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica). NMFS is soliciting review and... West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Attn: North Pacific Right Whale Recovery Plan. Instructions:...

  11. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... killer whale (Orcinus orca). 226.206 Section 226.206 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES... CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.206 Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca). Critical habitat is designated for the Southern Resident killer whale as described in this section. The...

  12. 75 FR 68756 - Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of Petition Availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-11-09

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA018 Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale; Notice of... Pacific population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal... assessment report for Eastern North Pacific gray whales is available on the Internet at the following...

  13. 75 FR 970 - Availability of Seats for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-07

    ... Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council AGENCY: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS... and alternate members of the following seats on its Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine... other various groups that help to focus efforts and attention on the humpback whale and its...

  14. Stranding of two sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the "North Sea trap" at Henne Strand, Denmark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Mette Sif; Alstrup, Aage K. O.; Hansen, Jørgen H.

    2016-01-01

    In February 2014 two male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded at Henne Strand, Denmark. One whale (MCE 1644) was found dead, while the other (MCE 1645) was still alive, but drowned during the high tide. To increase our knowledge of sperm whales, conduct forage investigations, post...

  15. Novel locomotor muscle design in extreme deep-diving whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velten, B P; Dillaman, R M; Kinsey, S T; McLellan, W A; Pabst, D A

    2013-05-15

    Most marine mammals are hypothesized to routinely dive within their aerobic dive limit (ADL). Mammals that regularly perform deep, long-duration dives have locomotor muscles with elevated myoglobin concentrations that are composed of predominantly large, slow-twitch (Type I) fibers with low mitochondrial volume densities (V(mt)). These features contribute to extending ADL by increasing oxygen stores and decreasing metabolic rate. Recent tagging studies, however, have challenged the view that two groups of extreme deep-diving cetaceans dive within their ADLs. Beaked whales (including Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon densirostris) routinely perform the deepest and longest average dives of any air-breathing vertebrate, and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) perform high-speed sprints at depth. We investigated the locomotor muscle morphology and estimated total body oxygen stores of several species within these two groups of cetaceans to determine whether they (1) shared muscle design features with other deep divers and (2) performed dives within their calculated ADLs. Muscle of both cetaceans displayed high myoglobin concentrations and large fibers, as predicted, but novel fiber profiles for diving mammals. Beaked whales possessed a sprinter's fiber-type profile, composed of ~80% fast-twitch (Type II) fibers with low V(mt). Approximately one-third of the muscle fibers of short-finned pilot whales were slow-twitch, oxidative, glycolytic fibers, a rare fiber type for any mammal. The muscle morphology of beaked whales likely decreases the energetic cost of diving, while that of short-finned pilot whales supports high activity events. Calculated ADLs indicate that, at low metabolic rates, both beaked and short-finned pilot whales carry sufficient onboard oxygen to aerobically support their dives.

  16. True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martín, Vidal; Silva, Monica; Edler, Roland; Reyes, Cristel; Carrillo, Manuel; Schiavi, Agustina; Morales, Talia; García-Ovide, Belen; Sanchez-Mora, Anna; Garcia-Tavero, Nerea; Steiner, Lisa; Scheer, Michael; Gockel, Roland; Walker, Dylan; Villa, Enrico; Szlama, Petra; Eriksson, Ida K.; Tejedor, Marisa; Perez-Gil, Monica; Quaresma, João; Bachara, Wojtek; Carroll, Emma

    2017-01-01

    The True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus, True 1913) is a poorly known member of the Ziphiidae family. Its distribution in the northern hemisphere is thought to be restricted to the temperate or warm temperate waters of the North Atlantic, while a few stranding records from the southern hemisphere suggest a wider and antitropical distribution, extending to waters from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to South Africa, Mozambique, Australia and the Tasman Sea coast of New Zealand. This paper (i) reports the first molecular confirmation of the occurrence of the True’s beaked whale at the southern limit of its distribution recorded in the northeast Atlantic: the Azores and Canary Islands (macaronesian ecoregion); (ii) describes a new colouration for this species using evidence from a whale with molecular species confirmation; and (iii) contributes to the sparse worldwide database of live sightings, including the first underwater video recording of this species and close images of a calf. Species identification was confirmed in two cases using mitochondrial DNA control region and cytochrome b gene markers: a subadult male True’s beaked whale that stranded in El Hierro, Canary Islands, in November 2012, and a subadult male found floating dead near Faial, the Azores, in July 2004. The whale that stranded in the Canary Islands had a clearly delimited white area on its head, extending posteriorly from the tip of the beak to cover the blowhole dorsally and the gular grooves ventrally. This colouration contrasts with previous descriptions for the species and it may be rare, but it exemplifies the variability of the colouration of True’s beaked whales in the North Atlantic, further confirmed here by live sightings data. The recording of several observations of this species in deep but relatively coastal waters off the Azores and the Canary Islands suggests that these archipelagos may be unique locations to study the behaviour of the enigmatic True’s beaked whale. PMID

  17. True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus in Macaronesia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natacha Aguilar de Soto

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available The True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus, True 1913 is a poorly known member of the Ziphiidae family. Its distribution in the northern hemisphere is thought to be restricted to the temperate or warm temperate waters of the North Atlantic, while a few stranding records from the southern hemisphere suggest a wider and antitropical distribution, extending to waters from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to South Africa, Mozambique, Australia and the Tasman Sea coast of New Zealand. This paper (i reports the first molecular confirmation of the occurrence of the True’s beaked whale at the southern limit of its distribution recorded in the northeast Atlantic: the Azores and Canary Islands (macaronesian ecoregion; (ii describes a new colouration for this species using evidence from a whale with molecular species confirmation; and (iii contributes to the sparse worldwide database of live sightings, including the first underwater video recording of this species and close images of a calf. Species identification was confirmed in two cases using mitochondrial DNA control region and cytochrome b gene markers: a subadult male True’s beaked whale that stranded in El Hierro, Canary Islands, in November 2012, and a subadult male found floating dead near Faial, the Azores, in July 2004. The whale that stranded in the Canary Islands had a clearly delimited white area on its head, extending posteriorly from the tip of the beak to cover the blowhole dorsally and the gular grooves ventrally. This colouration contrasts with previous descriptions for the species and it may be rare, but it exemplifies the variability of the colouration of True’s beaked whales in the North Atlantic, further confirmed here by live sightings data. The recording of several observations of this species in deep but relatively coastal waters off the Azores and the Canary Islands suggests that these archipelagos may be unique locations to study the behaviour of the enigmatic True

  18. Endoparasite survey of free-swimming baleen whales (Balaenoptera musculus, B. physalus, B. borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using non/minimally invasive methods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hermosilla, Carlos; Silva, Liliana M R; Kleinertz, Sonja; Prieto, Rui; Silva, Monica A; Taubert, Anja

    2016-02-01

    A number of parasitic diseases have gained importance as neozoan opportunistic infections in the marine environment. Here, we report on the gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna of three baleen whale species and one toothed whale: blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), and sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the Azores Islands, Portugal. In total, 17 individual whale fecal samples [n = 10 (B. physalus); n = 4 (P. macrocephalus); n = 2 (B. musculus); n = 1 (B. borealis)] were collected from free-swimming animals as part of ongoing studies on behavioral ecology. Furthermore, skin biopsies were collected from sperm whales (n = 5) using minimally invasive biopsy darting and tested for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Besnoitia besnoiti DNA via PCR. Overall, more than ten taxa were detected in whale fecal samples. Within protozoan parasites, Entamoeba spp. occurred most frequently (64.7%), followed by Giardia spp. (17.6%) and Balantidium spp. (5.9%). The most prevalent metazoan parasites were Ascaridida indet. spp. (41.2%), followed by trematodes (17.7%), acanthocephalan spp., strongyles (11.8%), Diphyllobotrium spp. (5.9%), and spirurids (5.9%). Helminths were mainly found in sperm whales, while enteric protozoan parasites were exclusively detected in baleen whales, which might be related to dietary differences. No T. gondii, N. caninum, or B. besnoiti DNA was detected in any skin sample. This is the first record on Giardia and Balantidium infections in large baleen whales.

  19. 76 FR 20870 - Protective Regulations for Killer Whales in the Northwest Region Under the Endangered Species Act...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-14

    ... Killer Whales in the Northwest Region Under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act... from approaching killer whales within 200 yards (182.9 m) and from parking in the path of whales when... of this final rule is to protect killer whales from interference and noise associated with...

  20. Entanglements of right whales, Eubalaena australis (Cetacea, Mysticeti, in the 2010 breeding season in Santa Catarina state, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mônica Pontalti

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Right whales (Eubalaena australis have been suffering with anthropogenic activities such as pollution, marine traffic and entanglement in fishing nets. The entanglement of right whales grows each breeding season on the southern coast of Santa Catarina state, and can cause strands and even death. During the 2010 breeding season, six entanglements among immature and adult whales were recorded. In most of the cases, the whales kept swimming slowly and didn’t want to approximate the whale watching boat. Fishing activities in the area during the right whale breeding season need to be regularized to avoid conflicts and injuries to the whales.

  1. The impact of whaling on the ocean carbon cycle: why bigger was better.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew J Pershing

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Humans have reduced the abundance of many large marine vertebrates, including whales, large fish, and sharks, to only a small percentage of their pre-exploitation levels. Industrial fishing and whaling also tended to preferentially harvest the largest species and largest individuals within a population. We consider the consequences of removing these animals on the ocean's ability to store carbon. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Because body size is critical to our arguments, our analysis focuses on populations of baleen whales. Using reconstructions of pre-whaling and modern abundances, we consider the impact of whaling on the amount of carbon stored in living whales and on the amount of carbon exported to the deep sea by sinking whale carcasses. Populations of large baleen whales now store 9.1×10(6 tons less carbon than before whaling. Some of the lost storage has been offset by increases in smaller competitors; however, due to the relative metabolic efficiency of larger organisms, a shift toward smaller animals could decrease the total community biomass by 30% or more. Because of their large size and few predators, whales and other large marine vertebrates can efficiently export carbon from the surface waters to the deep sea. We estimate that rebuilding whale populations would remove 1.6×10(5 tons of carbon each year through sinking whale carcasses. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Even though fish and whales are only a small portion of the ocean's overall biomass, fishing and whaling have altered the ocean's ability to store and sequester carbon. Although these changes are small relative to the total ocean carbon sink, rebuilding populations of fish and whales would be comparable to other carbon management schemes, including ocean iron fertilization.

  2. Hearing loss in stranded odontocete dolphins and whales.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Mann

    Full Text Available The causes of dolphin and whale stranding can often be difficult to determine. Because toothed whales rely on echolocation for orientation and feeding, hearing deficits could lead to stranding. We report on the results of auditory evoked potential measurements from eight species of odontocete cetaceans that were found stranded or severely entangled in fishing gear during the period 2004 through 2009. Approximately 57% of the bottlenose dolphins and 36% of the rough-toothed dolphins had significant hearing deficits with a reduction in sensitivity equivalent to severe (70-90 dB or profound (>90 dB hearing loss in humans. The only stranded short-finned pilot whale examined had profound hearing loss. No impairments were detected in seven Risso's dolphins from three different stranding events, two pygmy killer whales, one Atlantic spotted dolphin, one spinner dolphin, or a juvenile Gervais' beaked whale. Hearing impairment could play a significant role in some cetacean stranding events, and the hearing of all cetaceans in rehabilitation should be tested.

  3. The Legal Status of Whales: capabilities, entitlements and culture

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel Nussbaum Wichert

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Whales, among our planet’s most majestic, mysterious, powerful, and intelligent beings, are profoundly endangered. International law has for some time attempted to protect them from extinction. Our paper addresses the legal status of whales and argues that they should be regarded as creatures with rights, not simply as commodities. Currently, international law does not recognize whales as creatures with rights. International organizations, particularly the International Whaling Commission (IWC and its founding document, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW, have focused on the issue of overfishing and have allowed exceptions to usual standards based both on the alleged needs of scientific research (in the case of Japan and on the alleged claims of culture (in the case of aboriginal groups in the Arctic.

  4. Blue whales respond to simulated mid-frequency military sonar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldbogen, Jeremy A; Southall, Brandon L; DeRuiter, Stacy L; Calambokidis, John; Friedlaender, Ari S; Hazen, Elliott L; Falcone, Erin A; Schorr, Gregory S; Douglas, Annie; Moretti, David J; Kyburg, Chris; McKenna, Megan F; Tyack, Peter L

    2013-08-22

    Mid-frequency military (1-10 kHz) sonars have been associated with lethal mass strandings of deep-diving toothed whales, but the effects on endangered baleen whale species are virtually unknown. Here, we used controlled exposure experiments with simulated military sonar and other mid-frequency sounds to measure behavioural responses of tagged blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in feeding areas within the Southern California Bight. Despite using source levels orders of magnitude below some operational military systems, our results demonstrate that mid-frequency sound can significantly affect blue whale behaviour, especially during deep feeding modes. When a response occurred, behavioural changes varied widely from cessation of deep feeding to increased swimming speed and directed travel away from the sound source. The variability of these behavioural responses was largely influenced by a complex interaction of behavioural state, the type of mid-frequency sound and received sound level. Sonar-induced disruption of feeding and displacement from high-quality prey patches could have significant and previously undocumented impacts on baleen whale foraging ecology, individual fitness and population health.

  5. Baleen whale infrasonic sounds: Natural variability and function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Christopher W.

    2001-05-01

    Blue and fin whales (Balaenoptera musculus and B. physalus) produce very intense, long, patterned sequences of infrasonic sounds. The acoustic characteristics of these sounds suggest strong selection for signals optimized for very long-range propagation in the deep ocean as first hypothesized by Payne and Webb in 1971. This hypothesis has been partially validated by very long-range detections using hydrophone arrays in deep water. Humpback songs recorded in deep water contain units in the 20-l00 Hz range, and these relatively simple song components are detectable out to many hundreds of miles. The mid-winter peak in the occurrence of 20-Hz fin whale sounds led Watkins to hypothesize a reproductive function similar to humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) song, and by default this function has been extended to blue whale songs. More recent evidence shows that blue and fin whales produce infrasonic calls in high latitudes during the feeding season, and that singing is associated with areas of high productivity where females congregate to feed. Acoustic sampling over broad spatial and temporal scales for baleen species is revealing higher geographic and seasonal variability in the low-frequency vocal behaviors than previously reported, suggesting that present explanations for baleen whale sounds are too simplistic.

  6. Levels of C{sub 10}-C{sub 13} polychloro-n-alkanes in marine mammals from the Arctic and the St. Lawrence River estuary

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Tomy, G.T.; Muir, D.C.G.; Stern, G.A.; Westmore, J.B.

    2000-05-01

    Marine mammals from various regions of the Arctic and the St. Lawrence River estuary were examined for the first time for levels of C{sub 10}--C{sub 13} polychloro-n-alkanes (sPCAs). Respective mean total sPCA concentrations in the blubber of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Saqqaq and Nuussuaq, western Greenland, were 0.23 {+-} 0.02 (n = 2) and 0.164 {+-} 0.06 {micro}g/g (n = 2), similar to that in beluga from the Mackenzie Delta in the western Canadian Arctic 0.21 {+-} 0.08 {micro}g/g (m = 3). sPCAs levels were higher in beluga blubber from the St. Lawrence River (0.37 to 1.4 {micro}g/g). Mean sPCA concentrations in the blubber samples from walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) (Thule, northwest Greenland) and ringed seal (Phoca hispida) (Eureka, southwest Ellesmere Island) were 0.43 {+-} 0.06 (n = 2) and 0.53 {+-} 0.2 {micro}g/g (n = 6), respectively. Relative to commercial sPCA formulations, samples from the Arctic marine mammals showed a predominance of the shorter chain length lower percent chlorinated PCA congeners, the more volatile components of industrial formulations. This observation is consistent with long-range atmospheric transport of sPCAs to this region. The profiles of the belugas from the St. Lawrence River estuary, however, had higher proportions of the less volatile sPCA congeners, implying that contamination to this region is probably from local sources.

  7. Design of a Multi-Week Sound and Motion Recording and Telemetry (SMRT) Tag for Behavioral Studies on Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Telemetry (SMRT) Tag for Behavioral Studies on Whales Mark Johnson & Bernie McConnell University of St. Andrews St. Andrews, Fife KY16 8LB, UK...expensive or infeasible to recover tags that are attached to whales for several weeks necessitating that essential information be transmitted via low data...species of deep-diving marine mammals (Blainville’s beaked whales , short-finned pilot whales and sperm whales ) taken from the DTAG data archive. The

  8. Toxaphene in minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) from the North Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gouteux, B; Muir, D C G; Backus, S; Born, E W; Dietz, R; Haug, T; Metcalfe, T; Metcalfe, C; Øien, N

    2008-05-01

    Toxaphene contamination of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) from North Atlantic waters was examined for the first time. Total toxaphene and SigmaCHB (sum of 11 chlorobornanes) concentrations in blubber samples ranged from 170+/-110 and 41+/-39 ng/g lipid weight (l.w.) for female minke whales from southeastern Greenland to 5800+/-4100 and 1100+/-780 ng/g l.w. for males from the North Sea, respectively. Very large variations in toxaphene concentrations among sampling areas were observed suggesting a spatial segregation of minke whales. However, much of the apparent geographical discrimination was explained by the seasonal fluctuation of animal fat mass. Patterns of CHBs in males revealed that recalcitrant CHBs were in higher proportions in animals from the more easterly areas than in animals from the more westerly areas. This trend may be influenced by the predominance of the US, over the European, input of toxaphene to North Atlantic waters.

  9. Gray whale sightings in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, September 2014

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwahara, Yuka; Fujiwara, Amane; Ito, Keizo; Miyashita, Kazushi; Mitani, Yoko

    2016-06-01

    Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are distributed within the productive neritic and estuarine waters of the North Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and adjacent waters of the Arctic Ocean. They migrate to high-latitude feeding grounds each spring. Their main feeding grounds in the Arctic include the Chirikov Basin, the northeastern Chukchi Sea from Pt. Hope to Cape Lisburne and Pt. Lay to Pt. Barrow, and the northwestern Chukchi Sea along the Chukotka coast. Although sightings are rare in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, we observed three gray whales in two groups in this area in September 2014. A mud plume was observed near one of the whales, suggesting the animal had been feeding. In the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, large-scale monitoring of the distributions of marine mammals has been continuously conducted since 1979; however, there has been less monitoring in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. Therefore, it is necessary to record opportunistic sightings, such as those described here.

  10. Sperm whale clicks: Directionality and source level revisited

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Møhl, Bertel; Wahlberg, Magnus; Madsen, Peter T.;

    2000-01-01

    In sperm whales ~Physeter catodon L. 1758! the nose is vastly hypertrophied, accounting for about one-third of the length or weight of an adult male. Norris and Harvey @in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 ~1972!, pp. 397–417# ascribed a sound-generating function to this organ complex....... A sound generator weighing upward of 10 tons and with a cross-section of 1 m is expected to generate high-intensity, directional sounds. This prediction from the Norris and Harvey theory is not supported by published data for sperm whale clicks ~source levels of 180 dB re 1 mPa and little, if any....... This implicates sonar as a possible function of the clicks. Thus, previously published properties of sperm whale clicks underestimate the capabilities of the sound generator and therefore cannot falsify the Norris and Harvey theory....

  11. Large Scale Density Estimation of Blue and Fin Whales: Utilizing Sparse Array Data to Develop and Implement a New Method for Estimating Blue and Fin Whale Density

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Large Scale Density Estimation of Blue and Fin Whales ...Utilizing Sparse Array Data to Develop and Implement a New Method for Estimating Blue and Fin Whale Density Len Thomas & Danielle Harris Centre...to develop and implement a new method for estimating blue and fin whale density that is effective over large spatial scales and is designed to cope

  12. How important are herring to humpback whales? The role of herring in meeting the energetic requirements of humpback whales in a British Columbian feeding ground

    OpenAIRE

    McMillan, Christie Jane

    2014-01-01

    Management of cetacean populations is a global conservation concern. The North Pacific humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Canada is listed as threatened under the Species At Risk Act, and prey reduction has been identified as a threat to this population. I used focal follows of humpback whales and underwater video of herring schools to estimate Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) consumption by humpback whales in eastern Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia. I combined these results ...

  13. What do humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenopteridae pairs do after tagging?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Artur Andriolo

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available The social structure of humpback whales in their tropical wintering grounds is very fluid. To date, no information has been published for cases in which two whales were both satellite-tagged while in association. Here, we report the movements of four humpback whale pairs tagged together off the coast of Brazil. Fieldwork and satellite tagging of humpback whales was conducted between 2003 and 2008 along the eastern coast of Brazil, between 20°S and 8°S. Movement was monitored while whales were still in their breeding ground. A switching state space model was applied to the filtered data of each humpback whale to standardize telemetry data and allow direct comparison of each individual track. GIS was used to plot model-predicted locations and to visually compare animal movements. The results confirm the short-lived nature of associations between breeding humpback whales, and shows that individuals differ widely in their movements.

  14. Proceedings of International Conference on the Role of the Polar Regions in Global Change Held in Fairbanks, Alaska on 11-15 June 1990. Volume 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    1992-03-01

    a Ekv Wales 2 "’ * , ,’.• Siklook. i ;* ’ s */-- ’......... a m. ... . .. .. " Kuku .... ,S... ....... .... S *,&." Punuk...OCEAN KEY: EJ Beluga Distribution %x,x’ Gray Whale Spring Migration Route -- Bowhead Whale Spring Migration Route Figure 1. Selected Siberian and...Alaskan prehistoric an,! historic whale harvesting sites, and present-day migration routes of gray and bow- head whales; distribution of beluga whales is

  15. The enigmatic whale: the North Atlantic humpback

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tim D Smith

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available We know more about the North Atlantic humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae than we do for virtually any other cetacean, yet attempts to use this information to describe the status of the populations in this ocean basin have not proven satisfactory. The North Atlantic humpback has been the subject of extensive research over the past few decades, resulting in a substantial amount of knowledge about what has proven to be a species with a very complex life history and population structure. While several population models have been developed to integrate the available information, the data overall are not well described by any of the models. This has left considerable uncertainty about population status, and has raised questions about the interpretation of some of the data. We describe 7 specific areas where puzzling or ambiguous observations have been made; these require closer attention if population status is to be determined. These areas raise several fundamental questions, including: How many breeding populations are there? How much do the populations mix on the feeding grounds? How has the distribution of animals on both feeding and breeding grounds changed? We identify additional research needed to address the 7 areas and these questions in particular, so that population status might be determined.

  16. Cultural turnover among Galápagos sperm whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal; Rendell, Luke

    2016-01-01

    While populations may wax and wane, it is rare for an entire population to be replaced by a completely different set of individuals. We document the large-scale relocation of cultural groups of sperm whale off the Galápagos Islands, in which two sympatric vocal clans were entirely replaced by two different ones. Between 1985 and 1999, whales from two clans (called Regular and Plus-One) defined by cultural dialects in coda vocalizations were repeatedly photo-identified off Galápagos. Their occurrence in the area declined through the 1990s; by 2000, none remained. We reassessed Galápagos sperm whales in 2013–2014, identifying 463 new females. However, re-sighting rates were low, with no matches with the Galápagos 1985–1999 population, suggesting an eastward shift to coastal areas. Their vocal repertoires matched those of two other clans (called Short and Four-Plus) found across the Pacific but previously rare or absent around Galápagos. The mechanisms behind this cultural turnover may include large-scale environmental regime shifts favouring clan-specific foraging strategies, and a response to heavy whaling in the region involving redistribution of surviving whales into high-quality habitats. The fall and rise of sperm whale cultures off Galápagos reflect the structuring of the Pacific population into large, enduring clans with dynamic ranges. Long-lasting clan membership illustrates how culture can be bound up in the structure and dynamics of animal populations and so how tracking cultural traits can reveal large-scale population shifts. PMID:27853582

  17. Collisions between Whales and Fast Ferries around Korean Waters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyung-Jun Song

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Although there is heavy maritime traffic around Korean waters, collisions between whales and fast ferries around Korean waters are nearly unknown. A ship strike that was associated with a minke whale occurred near the southeastern part of Tsushima Island along the sailing route of the fast ferry between Korea and Japan on December 16, 2004. It was associated with a fast ferry that runs at a speed of approximately 46.1 kn (83 km/h between Korea and Japan. This individual was certainly seriously injured or killed by this ship strike because large amounts of skin of this individual were attached to the surface of the fast ferry, and also large amounts of blood of this individual spread out in that area. However, fortunately, serious damage did not occur to the mariners and passengers of the ferry, although many passengers were knocked down to the floor of the fast ferry when the fast ferry collided with the minke whale. In addition, a total of 4 records of possible collisions between whales and fast ferries have occurred on the fast ferry route between Korea and Japan between 2004 and 2007. This study is the first formal report on collisions between whales and fast ferries around Korean waters. Although the effect of ship strikes on the survival of cetaceans distributed around Korean waters is not very high at present compared with that of other threats, such as entanglement in fishing gear, ship strikes can pose a significant potential threat to endangered cetaceans such as western gray whales. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare prevention measures for ship strikes for the conservation of cetaceans around Korean waters in the future.

  18. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christoph A. Rohner

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available Whale sharks Rhincodon typus are globally threatened, but a lack of biological and demographic information hampers an accurate assessment of their vulnerability to further decline or capacity to recover. We used laser photogrammetry at two aggregation sites to obtain more accurate size estimates of free-swimming whale sharks compared to visual estimates, allowing improved estimates of biological parameters. Individual whale sharks ranged from 432–917 cm total length (TL (mean ± SD = 673 ± 118.8 cm, N = 122 in southern Mozambique and from 420–990 cm TL (mean ± SD = 641 ± 133 cm, N = 46 in Tanzania. By combining measurements of stranded individuals with photogrammetry measurements of free-swimming sharks, we calculated length at 50% maturity for males in Mozambique at 916 cm TL. Repeat measurements of individual whale sharks measured over periods from 347–1,068 days yielded implausible growth rates, suggesting that the growth increment over this period was not large enough to be detected using laser photogrammetry, and that the method is best applied to estimating growth rates over longer (decadal time periods. The sex ratio of both populations was biased towards males (74% in Mozambique, 89% in Tanzania, the majority of which were immature (98% in Mozambique, 94% in Tanzania. The population structure for these two aggregations was similar to most other documented whale shark aggregations around the world. Information on small (<400 cm whale sharks, mature individuals, and females in this region is lacking, but necessary to inform conservation initiatives for this globally threatened species.

  19. Social structure in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valsecchi, Elena; Hale, Peter; Corkeron, Peter; Amos, William

    2002-03-01

    Although largely solitary, humpback whales exhibit a number of behaviours where individuals co-operate with one another, for example during bubble net feeding. Such cases could be due to reciprocal altruism brought on by exceptional circumstances, for example the presence of abundant shoaling fish. An alternative explanation is that these behaviours have evolved through kin selection. With little restriction to either communication or movement, diffuse groups of relatives could maintain some form of social organization without the need to travel in tight-nit units. To try to distinguish between these hypotheses, we took advantage of the fact that migrating humpback whales often swim together in small groups. If kin selection is important in humpback whale biology, these groups should be enriched for relatives. Consequently, we analysed biopsy samples from 57 groups of humpback whales migrating off Eastern Australia in 1992. A total of 142 whales were screened for eight microsatellite markers. Mitochondrial DNA sequences (371 bp) were also used to verify and assist kinship identification. Our data add support to the notion that mothers travel with their offspring for the first year of the calf's life. However, beyond the presence of mother-calf/yearling pairs, no obvious relatedness pattern was found among whales sampled either in the same pod or on the same day. Levels of relatedness did not vary between migratory phases (towards or away from the breeding ground), nor between the two sexes considered either overall or in the north or south migrations separately. These findings suggest that, if any social organization does exist, it is formed transiently when needed rather than being a constant feature of the population, and hence is more likely based on reciprocal altruism than kin selection.

  20. Dynamics of whale shark occurrence at their fringe oceanic habitat.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Pedro Afonso

    Full Text Available Studies have shown that the whale shark (Rhincodon typus, a vulnerable large filter feeder, seasonally aggregates at highly productive coastal sites and that individuals can perform large, trans-boundary migrations to reach these locations. Yet, the whereabouts of the whale shark when absent from these sites and the potential oceanographic and biological drivers involved in shaping their present and future habitat use, including that located at the fringes of their suitable oceanic habitat, are largely unknown. We analysed a 16-year (1998-2013 observer dataset from the pole-and-line tuna fishery across the Azores (mid-North Atlantic and used GAM models to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of whale shark occurrence in relation to oceanographic features. Across this period, the whale shark became a regular summer visitor to the archipelago after a sharp increase in sighting frequency seen in 2008. We found that SST helps predicting their occurrence in the region associated to the position of the seasonal 22°C isotherm, showing that the Azores are at a thermal boundary for this species and providing an explanation for the post 2007 increase. Within the region, whale shark detections were also higher in areas of increased bathymetric slope and closer to the seamounts, coinciding with higher chl-a biomass, a behaviour most probably associated to increased feeding opportunities. They also showed a tendency to be clustered around the southernmost island of Santa Maria. This study shows that the region integrates the oceanic habitat of adult whale shark and suggests that an increase in its relative importance for the Atlantic population might be expected in face of climate change.

  1. Dynamics of whale shark occurrence at their fringe oceanic habitat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Afonso, Pedro; McGinty, Niall; Machete, Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Studies have shown that the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), a vulnerable large filter feeder, seasonally aggregates at highly productive coastal sites and that individuals can perform large, trans-boundary migrations to reach these locations. Yet, the whereabouts of the whale shark when absent from these sites and the potential oceanographic and biological drivers involved in shaping their present and future habitat use, including that located at the fringes of their suitable oceanic habitat, are largely unknown. We analysed a 16-year (1998-2013) observer dataset from the pole-and-line tuna fishery across the Azores (mid-North Atlantic) and used GAM models to investigate the spatial and temporal patterns of whale shark occurrence in relation to oceanographic features. Across this period, the whale shark became a regular summer visitor to the archipelago after a sharp increase in sighting frequency seen in 2008. We found that SST helps predicting their occurrence in the region associated to the position of the seasonal 22°C isotherm, showing that the Azores are at a thermal boundary for this species and providing an explanation for the post 2007 increase. Within the region, whale shark detections were also higher in areas of increased bathymetric slope and closer to the seamounts, coinciding with higher chl-a biomass, a behaviour most probably associated to increased feeding opportunities. They also showed a tendency to be clustered around the southernmost island of Santa Maria. This study shows that the region integrates the oceanic habitat of adult whale shark and suggests that an increase in its relative importance for the Atlantic population might be expected in face of climate change.

  2. A multi-hypothesis tracker for clicking whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baggenstoss, Paul M

    2015-05-01

    This paper describes a tracker specially designed to track clicking beaked whales using widely spaced bottom-mounted hydrophones, although it can be adapted to different species and sensors. The input to the tracker is a sequence of static localization solutions obtained using time difference of arrival information at widely spaced hydrophones. To effectively handle input localizations with high ambiguity, the tracker is based on multi-hypothesis tracker concepts, so it considers all potential association hypotheses and keeps a large number of potential tracks in memory. The method is demonstrated on actual data and shown to successfully track multiple beaked whales at depth.

  3. Spyhoppers and Stargazers: Can Whales See the Stars?

    CERN Document Server

    West, Michael J

    2013-01-01

    In Moby Dick, Herman Melville wondered how - or what - whales see with eyes on opposite sides of their heads. "It is plain that he can never see an object which is exactly ahead... Is his brain so much more comprehensive, combining and subtle than man's that he can at the same moment of time attentively examine two distinct prospects, one on one side of him, and the other in an exactly opposite direction?" he asked. It's a good question. But if Melville were alive today he might have pondered something perhaps even more intriguing: Can whales see the stars?

  4. Software for real-time localization of baleen whale calls using directional sonobuoys: A case study on Antarctic blue whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Brian S; Calderan, Susannah; Gillespie, Douglas; Weatherup, Graham; Leaper, Russell; Collins, Kym; Double, Michael C

    2016-03-01

    Directional frequency analysis and recording (DIFAR) sonobuoys can allow real-time acoustic localization of baleen whales for underwater tracking and remote sensing, but limited availability of hardware and software has prevented wider usage. These software limitations were addressed by developing a module in the open-source software PAMGuard. A case study is presented demonstrating that this software provides greater efficiency and accessibility than previous methods for detecting, localizing, and tracking Antarctic blue whales in real time. Additionally, this software can easily be extended to track other low and mid frequency sounds including those from other cetaceans, pinnipeds, icebergs, shipping, and seismic airguns.

  5. The CLO3403/CLO3404 two-component system of Clostridium botulinum E1 Beluga is important for cold shock response and growth at low temperatures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mascher, Gerald; Derman, Yagmur; Kirk, David G; Palonen, Eveliina; Lindström, Miia; Korkeala, Hannu

    2014-01-01

    In order to survive a temperature downshift, bacteria have to sense the changing environment and adjust their metabolism and structure. Two-component signal transduction systems (TCSs) play a central role in sensing and responding to many different environmental stimuli. Although the nonproteolytic (group II) Clostridium botulinum represents a major hazard in chilled foods, the cold adaption mechanisms of group II C. botulinum organisms are not known. Here, we show that the CLO3403/CLO3404 TCS of C. botulinum E1 Beluga is involved in the cold shock response and growth at 12°C. Cold shock induced the expression of the genes encoding the histidine kinase (clo3403) and the response regulator (clo3404) by more than 100-fold after 5 h relative to their expression in a nonshocked culture at the corresponding time point. The involvement of CLO3403/CLO3404 in growth at low temperature was demonstrated by impaired growth of the insertional clo3403 and clo3404 knockout mutants at 12°C compared to the growth of the wild-type culture. Additionally, the inactivation of clo3403 had a negative effect on motility. The growth efficiency at 12°C of the TCS mutants and the motility of the kinase mutants were restored by introducing a plasmid harboring the operon of the CLO3403/CLO3404 TCS. The results suggest that the CLO3403/CLO3404 TCS is important for the cold tolerance of C. botulinum E1 Beluga.

  6. The use of non destructive biomarkers in the study of marine mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    M Cristina Fossi And Letizia Marsili

    1997-01-01

    Marine mammals have been subject to heavy anthropogenic pressure by direct killing and chemical pollution all over the world. Most studies of contamination and biomarker responses in marine mammals have been conducted using animals killed by hunting out of a total of 12 cetacean species studied, 45 of the specimens were obtained by sacrificing the animal; out of a total of eight pinniped species studied, 40 of the specimens were obtained by killing. The development of a series of non destructive techniques to evaluate biomarker responses and residue levels is recommended for the hazard assessment and conservation of endangered species of marine mammals. Here we review the current status of the non destructive biomarker approach in marine mammals, describing the biological materials available for non destructive tests in stranded brain, liver, blood, skin, subcutaneous blubber, muscle and fur and free ranging animals blood, skin biopsy, fur and faeces and the respective biomarker techniques mixed function oxidase activity and DNA damage in skin biopsy samples; porphyrins in faeces and fur; esterases, porphyrins, clinical biochemical parameter, vitamin A and micronuclei in blood samples. Residue analysis can be carried out in the various biological materials. We also report the results of applying this methodological approach to cetaceans minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata, fin whale-- Balaenoptera physalus, beluga whale-- Delphinapterus leucas, short finned pilot whale-- Globicephala macrorhynchus, harbour porpoise -- Phocoena phocoena, Rissos dolphin-- Risso s Grampus griseus, Dall s porpoise-- Phocoenoides dalli dalli, melon headed whale-- Peponocephala electra, bottlenose dolphin -- Tursiops truncatus, striped dolphin-- Stenella coeruleoalba, spinner dolphin-- Stenella longirostris, killer whale-- Orcinus orca and pinnipeds northern fur seal- Callorhinus ursinus, hooded seal-- Cystophora cristata, grey seal-- Halichoerus grypus, harbour seal-- Phoca vitulina

  7. Dangerous dining: surface foraging of North Atlantic right whales increases risk of vessel collisions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parks, Susan E; Warren, Joseph D; Stamieszkin, Karen; Mayo, Charles A; Wiley, David

    2012-02-23

    North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered and, despite international protection from whaling, significant numbers die from collisions with ships. Large groups of right whales migrate to the coastal waters of New England during the late winter and early spring to feed in an area with large numbers of vessels. North Atlantic right whales have the largest per capita record of vessel strikes of any large whale population in the world. Right whale feeding behaviour in Cape Cod Bay (CCB) probably contributes to risk of collisions with ships. In this study, feeding right whales tagged with archival suction cup tags spent the majority of their time just below the water's surface where they cannot be seen but are shallow enough to be vulnerable to ship strike. Habitat surveys show that large patches of right whale prey are common in the upper 5 m of the water column in CCB during spring. These results indicate that the typical spring-time foraging ecology of right whales may contribute to their high level of mortality from vessel collisions. The results of this study suggest that remote acoustic detection of prey aggregations may be a useful supplement to the management and conservation of right whales.

  8. Functional properties of myoglobins from five whale species with different diving capacities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helbo, Signe; Fago, Angela

    2012-10-01

    Whales show an exceptionally wide range of diving capabilities and many express high amounts of the O(2) carrier protein myoglobin (Mb) in their muscle tissues, which increases their aerobic diving capacity. Although previous studies have mainly focused on the muscle Mb concentration and O(2) carrying capacity as markers of diving behavior in whales, it still remains unexplored whether whale Mbs differ in their O(2) affinities and nitrite reductase and peroxidase enzymatic activities, all functions that could contribute to differences in diving capacities. In this study, we have measured the functional properties of purified Mbs from five toothed whales and two baleen whales and have examined their correlation with average dive duration. Results showed that some variation in functional properties exists among whale Mbs, with toothed whale Mbs having higher O(2) affinities and nitrite reductase activities (similar to those of horse Mb) compared with baleen whale Mbs. However, these differences did not correlate with average dive duration. Instead, a significant correlation was found between whale Mb concentration and average duration and depth of dives, and between O(2) affinity and nitrite reductase activity when including horse Mb. Despite the fact that the functional properties showed little species-specific differences in vitro, they may still contribute to enhancing diving capacity as a result of the increased muscle Mb concentration found in extreme divers. In conclusion, Mb concentration rather than specific functional reactivities may support whale diving performance.

  9. Comparative Chromosome Map and Heterochromatin Features of the Gray Whale Karyotype (Cetacea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulemzina, Anastasia I; Proskuryakova, Anastasia A; Beklemisheva, Violetta R; Lemskaya, Natalia A; Perelman, Polina L; Graphodatsky, Alexander S

    2016-01-01

    Cetacean karyotypes possess exceptionally stable diploid numbers and highly conserved chromosomes. To date, only toothed whales (Odontoceti) have been analyzed by comparative chromosome painting. Here, we studied the karyotype of a representative of baleen whales, the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus, Mysticeti), by Zoo-FISH with dromedary camel and human chromosome-specific probes. We confirmed a high degree of karyotype conservation and found an identical order of syntenic segments in both branches of cetaceans. Yet, whale chromosomes harbor variable heterochromatic regions constituting up to a third of the genome due to the presence of several types of repeats. To investigate the cause of this variability, several classes of repeated DNA sequences were mapped onto chromosomes of whale species from both Mysticeti and Odontoceti. We uncovered extensive intrapopulation variability in the size of heterochromatic blocks present in homologous chromosomes among 3 individuals of the gray whale by 2-step differential chromosome staining. We show that some of the heteromorphisms observed in the gray whale karyotype are due to distinct amplification of a complex of common cetacean repeat and heavy satellite repeat on homologous autosomes. Furthermore, we demonstrate localization of the telomeric repeat in the heterochromatin of both gray and pilot whale (Globicephala melas, Odontoceti). Heterochromatic blocks in the pilot whale represent a composite of telomeric and common repeats, while heavy satellite repeat is lacking in the toothed whale consistent with previous studies.

  10. Testing the feasibility of a hypothetical whaling-conservation permit market in Norway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Biao; Abbott, Joshua K; Fenichel, Eli P; Muneepeerakul, Rachata; Perrings, Charles; Gerber, Leah

    2017-02-24

    A "cap and trade" style system for managing whale harvests represents a potentially useful approach to resolve the current gridlock in international whale management. The establishment of whale permit markets, open to both whalers and conservationists, could reveal the strength of conservation demand. However, while much is known about demand for whale-based products there is uncertainty about demand for conservation and the willingness of conservation interests to engage in the market. This makes it difficult to predict the outcome of a hypothetical whale permit market. As a thought experiment, we develop a bioeconomic model to evaluate the influence of economic uncertainty about demand for whale conservation or harvest. We use simulations over a wide range of parameterizations of whaling and conservation demands to examine the potential ecological consequences of the establishment of a whale permit market in Norwegian waters under bounded (but substantial) economic uncertainty. We find that while a whale conservation market has the potential to yield a wide range of conservation and harvest outcomes, the most likely outcomes are those in which conservationists buy all whale permits. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  11. Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samaran, Flore; Stafford, Kathleen M; Branch, Trevor A; Gedamke, Jason; Royer, Jean-Yves; Dziak, Robert P; Guinet, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the seasonal movements and distribution patterns of migratory species over ocean basin scales is vital for appropriate conservation and management measures. However, assessing populations over remote regions is challenging, particularly if they are rare. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus spp) are an endangered species found in the Southern and Indian Oceans. Here two recognized subspecies of blue whales and, based on passive acoustic monitoring, four "acoustic populations" occur. Three of these are pygmy blue whale (B.m. brevicauda) populations while the fourth is the Antarctic blue whale (B.m. intermedia). Past whaling catches have dramatically reduced their numbers but recent acoustic recordings show that these oceans are still important habitat for blue whales. Presently little is known about the seasonal movements and degree of overlap of these four populations, particularly in the central Indian Ocean. We examined the geographic and seasonal occurrence of different blue whale acoustic populations using one year of passive acoustic recording from three sites located at different latitudes in the Indian Ocean. The vocalizations of the different blue whale subspecies and acoustic populations were recorded seasonally in different regions. For some call types and locations, there was spatial and temporal overlap, particularly between Antarctic and different pygmy blue whale acoustic populations. Except on the southernmost hydrophone, all three pygmy blue whale acoustic populations were found at different sites or during different seasons, which further suggests that these populations are generally geographically distinct. This unusual blue whale diversity in sub-Antarctic and sub-tropical waters indicates the importance of the area for blue whales in these former whaling grounds.

  12. Detection of Blainville’s beaked whales with towed arrays

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Benda-Beckmann, A.M. von; Lam, F.P.A.; Moretti, D.J.; Fulkerson, K.; Ainslie, M.A.; IJsselmuide, S.P. van; Theriault, J.; Beerens, S.P.

    2010-01-01

    The detection performance of a towed hydrophone array for deep-diving species is quantified by comparing detections of echolocation clicks from foraging groups of Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) from the TNO Delphinus array to detections from bottom-mounted hydrophones at the At

  13. On the Research of Whales%鲸鱼考

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    杨秀英; 沙大禹

    2012-01-01

    As the biggest fish in the ocean, Whales are full of mystery in the ancient people' s eyes. In ancient times, the whale is named in different ways. This paper attempts make an analysis about the ancient names of whales based on the ancient literature review together with the modern scientific research achieve- ments. Furthermore, this paper also aims to explore the relevant problems such as various names of whales in different historical period and the regional distribution in order to make contrast between ancient and modern research.%鲸,在古人看来,是充满了神秘色彩的海鱼之最大者。古人对鲸鱼的命名也是多种多样。本文试图通过对古代历史文献的梳理,结合现代科学研究成果,对鲸鱼的古代名称详加辨析,并探讨鲸鱼在不同历史时期的异名、区域分布等相关问题,以便古今对照,有所借鉴。

  14. Even The Whales Have Their Predators:Ships

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2008-01-01

    @@ On a day SO clear the ocean,from certain angles,is nothing but a field of glare,a team of spotters in a Twin Otter airplane flies a precise grid pattern,looking for North Atlantic right whales in the warm,shallow waters they use as their winter calving ground.

  15. Functional convergence in bat and toothed whale biosonars

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madsen, P T; Surlykke, A

    2013-01-01

    Echolocating bats and toothed whales hunt and navigate by emission of sound pulses and analysis of returning echoes to form a self-generated auditory scene. Here, we demonstrate a striking functional convergence in the way these two groups of mammals independently evolved the capability to sense ...

  16. Population characteristics of DNA fingerprints in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baker, C S; Gilbert, D A; Weinrich, M T; Lambertsen, R; Calambokidis, J; McArdle, B; Chambers, G K; O'Brien, S J

    1993-01-01

    Humpback whales exhibit a remarkable social organization that is characterized by seasonal long-distance migration (> 10,000 km/year) between summer feeding grounds in high latitudes and winter calving and breeding grounds in tropical or near-tropical waters. All populations are currently considered endangered as a result of intensive commercial exploitation during the last 200 years. Using three hypervariable minisatellite DNA probes (33.15, 3'HVR, and M13) originally developed for studies of human genetic variation, we examined genetic variation within and among three regional subpopulations of humpback whales from the North Pacific and one from the North Atlantic oceans. Analysis of DNA extracted from skin tissues collected by biopsy darting from free-ranging whales revealed considerable variation in each subpopulation. The extent of this variation argues against a recent history of inbreeding among humpback whales as a result of nineteenth- and twentieth-century hunting. A canonical variate analysis suggested a relationship between scaled genetic distance, based on similarities of DNA fingerprints, and geographic distance (i.e., longitude of regional subpopulation). Significant categorical differences were found between the two oceanic populations using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with a modification of the Mantel nonparametric permutation test. The relationship between DNA fingerprint similarities and geographic distance suggests that nuclear gene flow between regional subpopulations within the North Pacific is restricted by relatively low rates of migratory interchange between breeding grounds or assortative mating on common wintering grounds.

  17. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parks, Susan E; Cusano, Dana A; Stimpert, Alison K; Weinrich, Mason T; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N

    2014-12-16

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a 'paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species.

  18. Cenozoic cooling, Antarctic nutrient pump, and the evolution of whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, W. H.

    2007-10-01

    The evolution of large marine mammals and their invasion of the pelagic realm is tied to the availability of sufficient food, which in turn is linked to upwelling areas and other highly productive regions in the ocean, as has been recognized for some time. Here I propose that silicate-supported upwelling (which provides the shorter food chain and hence the higher yield for apex consumers) and deep mixing within the Southern Ocean are the crucial ingredients of the system providing the stage for the evolution of whales. The Circumpolar Current receives silicate from various sources but especially from the North Atlantic Deep Water introduced in the Atlantic sector. The silicate is largely trapped in the Ring, some in the water, and some in the sediment, and is made available to shallower waters by unusually deep mixing. From these shallower depths silica-rich waters can enter the thermocline all through the southern hemisphere, stimulating diatom growth in upwelling systems to the equator and beyond. From the link diatoms-krill-whales and diatoms-krill-small fishes, it is readily apparent that the link between the climate narrative and the narrative of whale evolution (both for mysticetes and odontocetes) is the silica cycle. Studying it will generate hypotheses about whale evolution that can be tested using fossils.

  19. Calling behavior of blue and fin whales off California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oleson, Erin Marie

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an effective means for evaluating cetacean presence in remote regions and over long time periods, and may become an important component of cetacean abundance surveys. To use passive acoustic recordings for abundance estimation, an understanding of the behavioral ecology of cetacean calling is crucial. In this dissertation, I develop a better understanding of how blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (B. physalus ) whales use sound with the goal of evaluating passive acoustic techniques for studying their populations. Both blue and fin whales produce several different call types, though the behavioral and environmental context of these calls have not been widely investigated. To better understand how calling is used by these whales off California I have employed both new technologies and traditional techniques, including acoustic recording tags, continuous long-term autonomous acoustic recordings, and simultaneous shipboard acoustic and visual surveys. The outcome of these investigations has led to several conclusions. The production of blue whale calls varies with sex, behavior, season, location, and time of day. Each blue whale call type has a distinct behavioral context, including a male-only bias in the production of song, a call type thought to function in reproduction, and the production of some calls by both sexes. Long-term acoustic records, when interpreted using all call types, provide a more accurate measure of the local seasonal presence of whales, and how they use the region annually, seasonally and daily. The relative occurrence of different call types may indicate prime foraging habitat and the presence of different segments of the population. The proportion of animals heard calling changes seasonally and geographically relative to the number seen, indicating the calibration of acoustic and visual surveys is complex and requires further study on the motivations behind call production and the behavior of calling whales

  20. An outline of the Antarctic minke whale assessment cruise (IWC/IDCR) in 1978/79 to 1980/81

    OpenAIRE

    Hidehiro, Kato

    1982-01-01

    Since the 1978/79 Antarctic whaling season, extensive and systematic whale sightings and marking cruises on the Antarctic minke whales have been carried out under the International Whaling Commission/International Decade of Cetacean Research (IWC/IDCR) programme. The programme was carried out in the Southern Hemisphere Whaling Areas (for baleen whales) IV (70°-130°E), III (0°-70°E) and V (130°E-170°W) during the Antarctic summer season in 1978/79,1979/80 and 1980/81,respectively. The total nu...

  1. Tris (4-chlorophenyl) methane and tris (4-chlorophenyl) methanol in marine mammals from the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lebeuf, M; Bernt, K E; Trottier, S; Noël, M; Hammill, M O; Measures, L

    2001-01-01

    Levels of tris (4-chlorophenyl) methanol (TCPM) and its presumed precursor tris (4-chlorophenyl) methane (TCPMe) are reported in marine mammals from the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. These compounds were measured in blubber samples of seals and whales using ion trap mass spectrometry (MS/MS) detection. Detectable concentrations of both TCPM and TCPMe were observed in all of the samples analysed. Concentrations of these compounds varied with species ranging from 1.7 to 153 and from 1.3 to 50.6 ng/g lipid wt. for TCPM and TCPMe, respectively. TCPM was from 1.3 to 10 times more concentrated than TCPMe. The highest levels of both TCPM and TCPMe were observed in adult male beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, while adult female beluga whales from the same area showed levels similar to those in the seals examined. Among the four seal species investigated, TCPM and TCPMe levels were the highest in grey (Halichoerus grypus) and hooded (Cystophora cristata) seals, and lowest in harp seals (Phoca groenlandica). Intermediate levels were found in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina); however, their concentrations might be underestimated considering the younger mean age of these animals. Ratios of both 4,4'-DDE/sigma DDT and TCPM/sigma TCP were very similar between animals from the same species. Strong correlations between sigma TCP and sigma DDT were also observed for each species of mammals, most likely indicating that both sigma TCP and sigma DDT are bioaccumulated in marine mammals. The relationships between sigma DDT and sigma TCP also demonstrate that sigma TCP are less bioaccumulated than sigma DDT by the marine mammal species examined.

  2. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: Implications for anti-predator strategies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Curé, C.; Antunes, R.; Alves, A.C.; Visser, F.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Miller, P.J.O.

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between individuals of different cetacean species are often observed in the wild. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) can be potential predators of many other cetaceans, and the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may trigger anti-predator behavior that could m

  3. Getting to know you: Identification of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata and melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra under challenging conditions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Salvatore Siciliano

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra and Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata are very poorly known species and are often confused with each other. We examined in detail Figure 3 in MARIGO and GIFFONI (2010 who reported that two melon-headed whales were taken in a surface driftnet about 90 nm off Santos, Brazil. We concluded they were in fact pygmy killer whales and explain our reasoning. To aid in future identifications, we illustrate and describe some of the main differences between these two species of small cetaceans. The incident reported by MARIGO and GIFFONI (2010 might represent the 'tip of the iceberg' regarding the incidental catches of cetaceans by pelagic drift nets off Brazil. Offshore driftnetting operating along the south-southeastern coast of Brazil may threaten pygmy killer whales.

  4. Whales originated from aquatic artiodactyls in the Eocene epoch of India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thewissen, J G M; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Clementz, Mark T; Bajpai, Sunil; Tiwari, B N

    2007-12-20

    Although the first ten million years of whale evolution are documented by a remarkable series of fossil skeletons, the link to the ancestor of cetaceans has been missing. It was known that whales are related to even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls), but until now no artiodactyls were morphologically close to early whales. Here we show that the Eocene south Asian raoellid artiodactyls are the sister group to whales. The raoellid Indohyus is similar to whales, and unlike other artiodactyls, in the structure of its ears and premolars, in the density of its limb bones and in the stable-oxygen-isotope composition of its teeth. We also show that a major dietary change occurred during the transition from artiodactyls to whales and that raoellids were aquatic waders. This indicates that aquatic life in this lineage occurred before the origin of the order Cetacea.

  5. Model-based passive acoustic tracking of sperm whale foraging behavior in the Gulf of Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tiemann, Christopher; Thode, Aaron; Straley, Jan; Folkert, Kendall; O'Connell, Victoria

    2005-09-01

    In 2004, the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) introduced the use of passive acoustics to help monitor the behavior of sperm whales depredating longline fishing operations. Acoustic data from autonomous recorders mounted on longlines provide the opportunity to demonstrate a tracking algorithm based on acoustic propagation modeling while providing insight into whales' foraging behavior. With knowledge of azimuthally dependent bathymetry, a 3D track of whale motion can be obtained using data from just one hydrophone by exploiting multipath arrival information from recorded sperm whale clicks. The evolution of multipath arrival patterns is matched to range-, depth-, and azimuth-dependent modeled arrival patterns to generate an estimate of whale motion. This technique does not require acoustic ray identification (i.e., direct path, surface reflected, etc.) while still utilizing individual ray arrival information, and it can also account for all waveguide propagation physics such as interaction with range-dependent bathymetry and ray refraction.

  6. Modelling the effects of environmental conditions on the acoustic occurrence and behaviour of Antarctic blue whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shabangu, Fannie W; Yemane, Dawit; Stafford, Kathleen M; Ensor, Paul; Findlay, Ken P

    2017-01-01

    Harvested to perilously low numbers by commercial whaling during the past century, the large scale response of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia to environmental variability is poorly understood. This study uses acoustic data collected from 586 sonobuoys deployed in the austral summers of 1997 through 2009, south of 38°S, coupled with visual observations of blue whales during the IWC SOWER line-transect surveys. The characteristic Z-call and D-call of Antarctic blue whales were detected using an automated detection template and visual verification method. Using a random forest model, we showed the environmental preferences pattern, spatial occurrence and acoustic behaviour of Antarctic blue whales. Distance to the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (SBACC), latitude and distance from the nearest Antarctic shores were the main geographic predictors of blue whale call occurrence. Satellite-derived sea surface height, sea surface temperature, and productivity (chlorophyll-a) were the most important environmental predictors of blue whale call occurrence. Call rates of D-calls were strongly predicted by the location of the SBACC, latitude and visually detected number of whales in an area while call rates of Z-call were predicted by the SBACC, latitude and longitude. Satellite-derived sea surface height, wind stress, wind direction, water depth, sea surface temperatures, chlorophyll-a and wind speed were important environmental predictors of blue whale call rates in the Southern Ocean. Blue whale call occurrence and call rates varied significantly in response to inter-annual and long term variability of those environmental predictors. Our results identify the response of Antarctic blue whales to inter-annual variability in environmental conditions and highlighted potential suitable habitats for this population. Such emerging knowledge about the acoustic behaviour, environmental and habitat preferences of Antarctic blue whales is

  7. Understanding the Foraging Ecology of Beaked and Short-Finned Pilot Whales in Hawaiian Waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Finned Pilot Whales in Hawaiian Waters Whitlow W. L. Au Marine Mammal Research Program Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology phone: (808) 247...N000141410673 LONG-TERM GOALS The overall goal of our research is to understand beaked whale foraging and to learn how to alleviate acoustic encounters...between Navy assets and beaked whales and other deep diving odontocetes. Understanding of the characteristics and dynamics of the prey field is

  8. Modelling the effects of environmental conditions on the acoustic occurrence and behaviour of Antarctic blue whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shabangu, Fannie W.; Yemane, Dawit; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Ensor, Paul; Findlay, Ken P.

    2017-01-01

    Harvested to perilously low numbers by commercial whaling during the past century, the large scale response of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia to environmental variability is poorly understood. This study uses acoustic data collected from 586 sonobuoys deployed in the austral summers of 1997 through 2009, south of 38°S, coupled with visual observations of blue whales during the IWC SOWER line-transect surveys. The characteristic Z-call and D-call of Antarctic blue whales were detected using an automated detection template and visual verification method. Using a random forest model, we showed the environmental preferences pattern, spatial occurrence and acoustic behaviour of Antarctic blue whales. Distance to the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (SBACC), latitude and distance from the nearest Antarctic shores were the main geographic predictors of blue whale call occurrence. Satellite-derived sea surface height, sea surface temperature, and productivity (chlorophyll-a) were the most important environmental predictors of blue whale call occurrence. Call rates of D-calls were strongly predicted by the location of the SBACC, latitude and visually detected number of whales in an area while call rates of Z-call were predicted by the SBACC, latitude and longitude. Satellite-derived sea surface height, wind stress, wind direction, water depth, sea surface temperatures, chlorophyll-a and wind speed were important environmental predictors of blue whale call rates in the Southern Ocean. Blue whale call occurrence and call rates varied significantly in response to inter-annual and long term variability of those environmental predictors. Our results identify the response of Antarctic blue whales to inter-annual variability in environmental conditions and highlighted potential suitable habitats for this population. Such emerging knowledge about the acoustic behaviour, environmental and habitat preferences of Antarctic blue whales is

  9. Baseline Behavior of Pilot Whales and their Responses to Playback of Anthropogenic and Natural Sounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Baseline Behavior of Pilot Whales and their Responses to...N000141210417 LONG-TERM GOALS This project investigated the social ecology and baseline behavior of long-finned pilot whales as part of a broad...noise sources compared to beaked whales . However, studies have been hindered by high inherent variability in acoustic and diving behavior and a lack

  10. Stable Isotopes Provide Insight into Population Structure and Segregation in Eastern North Atlantic Sperm Whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Borrell, Asuncion; Velasquez Vacca, Adriana; Pinela, Ana M.

    2013-01-01

    In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly......, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted....

  11. Development of Novel Noninvasive Methods of Stress Assessment in Baleen Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Assessment in Baleen Whales Kathleen E. Hunt, Rosalind M. Rolland, & Scott D. Kraus New England Aquarium Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110 phone...large whales . Few methods exist for assessment of physiological stress levels of free-swimming cetaceans (Amaral 2010, ONR 2010, Hunt et al. 2013...Prior to this grant, we demonstrated that respiratory vapor (blow) sampling is practical and feasible for large whales , and that blow samples contain

  12. Population Parameters of Blainville’s and Cuvier’s Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    whales Natacha Aguilar de Soto University of La Laguna (ULL) Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain phone: +34 922318387 fax: +34 922318311...463443 email: psh2@st-andrews.ac.uk Award Number: N00014-12-1-0626 http://webpages.ull.es/users/cetaceos LONG TERM GOALS Beaked whales ...This information will greatly augment the sparse knowledge of beaked whale population biology, facilitating the assessment of possible population

  13. Development and Validation of a Technique for Detection of Stress and Pregnancy in Large Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    of Stress and Pregnancy in Large Whales Shannon Atkinson 17101 Point Lena Loop Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 phone: (907) 796.5453 fax: (907...being nested under the overall goal of developing techniques that can be used for the detection of stress and pregnancy in large whales . 1) The...first objective is to develop and conduct analytical and preliminary biological validations of pregnancy and stress hormones for three large whales

  14. Fine Scale Baleen Whale Behavior Observed Via Tagging Over Daily Time Scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Fine Scale Baleen Whale Behavior Observed Via Tagging... labor intensive and exhaustive, and is therefore difficult to maintain with great accuracy for tens of hours. To accomplish sustained tracking over...receiver and an ARGOS radio transmitter integrated in the whale-borne tag. Every 5-15 minutes, FastLoc GPS data collected during the tagged whales

  15. Assessing Stress Responses in Beaked and Sperm Whales in the Bahamas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    C, Tyack PL, and Mead J. 2009. Beaked whale strandings and naval exercises . Aquatic Mammals 35(4): 452-4 72. Hayward, L.S., Booth, R.K., and Wasser...net mesh (Florida Aquatic Nets, Winter Haven, FL). For both beaked and sperm whale samples, some seawater was scooped up along with the fecal...temporally and spatially with naval exercises utilizing mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS), beaked whales appear to be particularly sensitive to this

  16. The Pattern of Ovarian Development in the Prepubertal Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

    OpenAIRE

    TETSUKA, MASAFUMI; ASADA, Masatsugu; MOGOE, Toshihiro; Fukui, Yutaka; Ishikawa, Hajime; OHSUMI, Seiji; 手塚, 雅文; 福井, 豊

    2004-01-01

    This study describes the morphological and morphometrical changes associated with prepubertal ovarian development in the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Ovaries were harvested from 94 immature minke whales caught in the Antarctic Ocean during the summer feeding season (December-March). Notable differences in ovarian size and morphology were found among animals. Up to 10 folds difference in ovarian weight was found among prepubertal whales of similar body size. During the pre...

  17. Wintering habitat model for the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in the southeastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gowan, Timothy A; Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G

    2014-01-01

    The coastal waters off the southeastern United States (SEUS) are a primary wintering ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), used by calving females along with other adult and juvenile whales. Management actions implemented in this area for the recovery of the right whale population rely on accurate habitat characterization and the ability to predict whale distribution over time. We developed a temporally dynamic habitat model to predict wintering right whale distribution in the SEUS using a generalized additive model framework and aerial survey data from 2003/2004 through 2012/2013. We built upon previous habitat models for right whales in the SEUS and include data from new aerial surveys that extend the spatial coverage of the analysis, particularly in the northern portion of this wintering ground. We summarized whale sightings, survey effort corrected for probability of whale detection, and environmental data at a semimonthly resolution. Consistent with previous studies, sea surface temperature (SST), water depth, and survey year were significant predictors of right whale relative abundance. Additionally, distance to shore, distance to the 22°C SST isotherm, and an interaction between time of year and latitude (to account for the latitudinal migration of whales) were also selected in the analysis presented here. Predictions from the model revealed that the location of preferred habitat differs within and between years in correspondence with variation in environmental conditions. Although cow-calf pairs were rarely sighted in the company of other whales, there was minimal evidence that the preferred habitat of cow-calf pairs was different than that of whale groups without calves at the scale of this study. The results of this updated habitat model can be used to inform management decisions for a migratory species in a dynamic oceanic environment.

  18. Edwardsiella tarda sepsis in a live-stranded sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cools, Piet; Haelters, Jan; Lopes dos Santos Santiago, Guido; Claeys, Geert; Boelens, Jerina; Leroux-Roels, Isabel; Vaneechoutte, Mario; Deschaght, Pieter

    2013-09-27

    Whale strandings remain poorly understood, although bacterial infections have been suggested to contribute. We isolated Edwardsiella tarda from the blood of a stranded sperm whale. The pathogen was identified with MALDI-TOF MS, confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantified in blood by qPCR. We report the first case of sepsis in a sperm whale. The zoonotic potential of E. tarda and the possible role of bacterial infections in the enigmatic strandings of cetaceans are discussed.

  19. Conservation efforts of the East African Whale Shark Trust in Kenya.

    OpenAIRE

    Bassen, V.

    2007-01-01

    While it is known that the highly migratory nature of whale sharks results in the world’s largest fish being found in the waters of Kenya, minimal research has been conducted into their distribution and abundance along the Kenyan coast. The whale shark is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), however the species is not protected by law in Kenya and whale sharks fishing remains unchecked. The ...

  20. Acoustic monitoring on a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding ground shows continual singing into late Spring.

    OpenAIRE

    Clark, Christopher W.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2004-01-01

    Singing by males is a major feature of the mating system of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski). Although a few songs have been opportunistically recorded on the whales' high-latitude feeding grounds, singing in these regions was thought to be only sporadic. We report results from the first continuous acoustic monitoring of a humpback whale feeding ground (off Cape Cod, MA, USA) in spring. Using autonomous sea-floor recording systems, we found singing on a daily basis over the ...

  1. Mechanics, Hydrodynamics and Energetics of Blue Whale Lunge Feeding: Efficiency Dependence on Krill Density

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    krill patches are sustained at the sea surface, humpback whales will continue to feed into the night (Ware et al., 2010). All of our deployments that...downwelling sunlight. However, there is limited evidence that humpback whales feed at night using putative echolocation (Stimpert et al., 2007) or tactile...Friedlaender, A. S. and Nowacek, D. P. (2010). Shallow and deep lunge feeding of humpback whales in fjords of the West Antarctic Peninsula. Mar. Mammal Sci

  2. Blue Whale Behavioral Response Study & Field Testing of the New Bioacoustic Probe

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    were to determine how blue whales respond to close approach of ships and exposure to high intensity ship noise including changes in diving, feeding ...central California ports with predictable blue whale feeding grounds makes this an ideal location of the study of the impact of intense low-frequency...L. T. HATCH and C. W. CLARK. 2003. Variation in humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song length in relation to low-frequency sound broadcasts

  3. Low Diversity in the Mitogenome of Sperm Whales Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

    OpenAIRE

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Slikas, Beth; Hoekzema, Kendra; Carraher, Colm; Parks, Matthew; Cronn, Richard; Baker, C. Scott

    2012-01-01

    Large population sizes and global distributions generally associate with high mitochondrial DNA control region (CR) diversity. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an exception, showing low CR diversity relative to other cetaceans; however, diversity levels throughout the remainder of the sperm whale mitogenome are unknown. We sequenced 20 mitogenomes from 17 sperm whales representative of worldwide diversity using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies (Illumina GAIIx, Roche 45...

  4. Baleen whale spatial patterns in the Scotia Sea during January and February 2003

    OpenAIRE

    2006-01-01

    Different species of baleen whales display distinct spatial distribution patterns in the Scotia Sea during the austral summer. Passive acoustic and visual surveys for baleen whales were conducted aboard the RRS James Clark Ross in the Scotia Sea and around South Georgia in January and February 2003. Identified calls from four species were recorded during the acoustic survey including southern right (Eubalaena australis), blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus) and humpback whales (Meg...

  5. Recording and quantification of ultrasonic echolocation clicks from free-ranging toothed whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madsen, Peter Teglberg; Wahlberg, Magnus

    2007-01-01

    Toothed whales produce short, ultrasonic clicks of high directionality and source level to probe their environment acoustically. This process, termed echolocation, is to a large part governed by the properties of the emitted clicks. Therefore derivation of click source parameters from free......-ranging animals is of increasing importance to understand both how toothed whales use echolocation in the wild and how they may be monitored acoustically. This paper addresses how source parameters can be derived from free-ranging toothed whales in the wild using calibrated multi-hydrophone arrays and digital...... of discrete versions of toothed whale clicks that are meaningful in a biosonar context....

  6. Testing the effectiveness of an acoustic deterrent for gray whales along the Oregon coast

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lagerquist, Barbara [Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute; Winsor, Martha [Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute; Mate, Bruce [Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute

    2012-12-31

    This study was conducted to determine whether a low-powered sound source could be effective at deterring gray whales from areas that may prove harmful to them. With increased interest in the development of marine renewal energy along the Oregon coast the concern that such development may pose a collision or entanglement risk for gray whales. A successful acoustic deterrent could act as a mitigation tool to prevent harm to whales from such risks. In this study, an acoustic device was moored on the seafloor in the pathway of migrating gray whales off Yaquina Head on the central Oregon coast. Shore-based observers tracked whales with a theodolite (surveyor’s tool) to accurately locate whales as they passed the headland. Individual locations of different whales/whale groups as well as tracklines of the same whale/whale groups were obtained and compared between times with the acoustic device was transmitting and when it was off. Observations were conducted on 51 d between January 1 and April 15, 2012. A total of 143 individual whale locations were collected for a total of 243 whales, as well as 57 tracklines for a total of 142 whales. Inclement weather and equipment problems resulted in very small sample sizes, especially during experimental periods, when the device was transmitting. Because of this, the results of this study were inconclusive. We feel that another season of field testing is warranted to successfully test the effectiveness of the deterrent, but recommend increasing the zone of influence to 3 km to ensure the collection of adequate sample sizes. Steps have been taken to acquire the necessary federal research permit modification to authorize the increased zone of influence and to modify the acoustic device for the increased power. With these changes we are confident we will be able to determine whether the deterrent is effective at deflecting gray whales. A successful deterrent device may serve as a valuable mitigation tool to protect gray whales, and

  7. Assessing Stress Responses in Beaked and Sperm Whales in the Bahamas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-05-23

    Stress Responses in Beaked and Sperm Whales in the Bahamas" Please find attached final reports for the above referenced ONR award for the period ending...Assessing Stress Responses in Beaked and Sperm Whales in the Bahamas Rosalind M. Rolland D.V.M., Kathleen E. Hunt Ph.D., Elizabeth A. Burgess M.Sc. Ph.D...project was to develop fecal hormone assays to assess stress responses in Blainville’s beaked whales (lv!esoplodon densirostris) and sperm whales

  8. The safety of bycatch: South Korean responses to the moratorium on commercial whaling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bradley Tatar

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available When the global moratorium on commercial whaling was implemented in 1986, Korea prohibited whaling; however, there was no effort to build the capacity of social institutions to guide local residents to cooperate with the policy. Utilizing a social ecology approach, this research examines the practice of eating whale meat in Ulsan, South Korea, to illustrate the importance of culture for attaining the social acceptance of wildlife conservation policy. The cultural models which influence the consumption of whale meat are here classified as representing four distinct responses to the moratorium: opposition, resistance, evasion and support. The two most important changes are the public utilization of whale meat as a symbol of an endangered culture, and the reliance on meat procured legally from accidental entanglements of whales in fishing nets (cetacean bycatch. These cultural changes have a social function, which is to impart legitimacy and acceptance to the continued consumption of whale meat, from illegal as well as legal sources. Given the cultural acceptance of whale meat, I argue that it will not be possible to eradicate the illegal market through enforcement alone. Instead, the solution is to persuade local consumers of whale meat to cooperate with the moratorium.

  9. Is it 'boom times' for baleen whales in the Pacific Arctic region?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Sue E

    2016-09-01

    The marine ecosystem in the Pacific Arctic region has experienced dramatic transformation, most obvious by the loss of sea ice volume (75%), late-summer areal extent (50%) and change in phenology (four to six weeks longer open-water period). This alteration has resulted in an opening of habitat for subarctic species of baleen whales, many of which are recovering in number from severe depletions from commercial whaling in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Specifically, humpback, fin and minke whales (Megaptera novaeangliae, Balaenoptera physalus and Balaenoptera acutorostrata) are now regularly reported during summer and autumn in the southern Chukchi Sea. These predators of zooplankton and forage fishes join the seasonally resident grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) and the arctic-endemic bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) in the expanding open-ocean habitat of the Pacific Arctic. Questions arising include: (i) what changes in whale-prey production and delivery mechanisms have accompanied the loss of sea ice, and (ii) how are these five baleen whale species partitioning the expanding ice-free habitat? While there has been no programme of research specifically focused on these questions, an examination of seasonal occurrence, foraging plasticity and (for bowhead whales) body condition suggests that the current state of Pacific Arctic marine ecosystem may be 'boom times' for baleen whales. These favourable conditions may be moderated, however, by future shifts in ecosystem structure and/or negative impacts to cetaceans related to increased commercial activities in the region.

  10. Fin whale vocalizations observed with ocean bottom seismometers of cabled observatories off east Japan Pacific Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwase, Ryoichi

    2015-07-01

    Fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived waveform data from both hydrophones and ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) of a cabled observatory off Kushiro-Tokachi in Hokkaido. A fin whale was localized on the basis of the incident orientation estimated with a single OBS and the time difference of multipath arrival of sound pressure data from a hydrophone. Furthermore, several fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived OBS waveform data from other cabled observatories off east Japan Pacific Ocean. These findings suggest that the cabled OBSs would be significant apparatuses for real-time monitoring of the presence of baleen whales around Japan.

  11. The use of modern scannings techniques in whale research: possibilities and limitations

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alstrup, Aage Kristian Olsen

    information about the tooth cortex and medulla without the need for sectioning the teeth. MRI scanning was also employed for visualizing the vascularization of an intact eye from a stranded sperm whale, and it possible to describe the in situ vascularization. CT to describe anatomy of fossil whales We have....... As none of the other pathological findings can account convincingly for the stranding of the whale, it is possible that the found ankylosing spondylosis may have constrained spinal mobility and contributed to its stranding. MRI and CT to describe anatomy MRI and CT scans of sperm whale (Physeter...

  12. Morphological specializations of baleen whales associated with hydrodynamic performance and ecological niche.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodward, Becky L; Winn, Jeremy P; Fish, Frank E

    2006-11-01

    Feeding behavior, prey type, and habitat appear to be associated with the morphological design of body, fluke, and flippers in baleen whales. Morphometric data from whaling records and recent stranding events were compiled, and morphometric parameters describing the body length, and fluke and flipper dimensions for an "average" blue whale Balaenoptera musculus, humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae, gray whale Eschrichtius robustus, and right whale Eubalaena glacialis were determined. Body mass, body volume, body surface area, and fluke and flipper surface areas were estimated. The resultant morphological configurations lent themselves to the following classifications based on hydrodynamic principles: fast cruiser, slow cruiser, fast maneuverer, and slow maneuverer. Blue whales have highly streamlined bodies with small, high aspect ratio flippers and flukes for fast efficient cruising in the open ocean. On the other hand, the rotund right whale has large, high aspect ratio flukes for efficient slow speed cruising that is optimal for their continuous filter feeding technique. Humpbacks have large, high aspect ratio flippers and a large, low aspect ratio tail for quick acceleration and high-speed maneuvering which would help them catch their elusive prey, while gray whales have large, low aspect ratio flippers and flukes for enhanced low-speed maneuvering in complex coastal water habitats.

  13. Acquisition of Oceanographic Measurements from Baleen Whales and Acquisition of Oceanographic Measurements from Baleen Whales: Field Deployments of Tags Developed Under Grant ONR (N00014-13-1-0854)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Whales & Acquisition of Oceanographic Measurements from Baleen Whales : Field Deployments of Tags Developed Under Grant ONR (N00014-13-1-0854...e-mail: jte@bios.au.dk Award Number: N00014-14-1-0424 / N00014-13-1-0854 LONG-TERM GOALS To use large baleen whales as oceanographic...transmitters for baleen whales that can collect and transmit data on location, depth, temperature and salinity at specific depths. • To develop and test

  14. SRKW acoustic response - Investigating noise effects on the acoustic signals and behavior of Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In this study, vocal compensation is being investigated in Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) calls to determine the degree to which whales can adjust to...

  15. Migratory Movements of Pygmy Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) between Australia and Indonesia as Revealed by Satellite Telemetry

    OpenAIRE

    Double, Michael C.; Virginia Andrews-Goff; Jenner, K. Curt S.; Micheline-Nicole Jenner; Laverick, Sarah M.; Branch, Trevor A; Nicholas J. Gales

    2014-01-01

    In Australian waters during the austral summer, pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) occur predictably in two distinct feeding areas off western and southern Australia. As with other blue whale subspecies, outside the austral summer their distribution and movements are poorly understood. In order to describe the migratory movements of these whales, we present the satellite telemetry derived movements of eleven individuals tagged off western Australia over two years. Whales wer...

  16. Sperm whales reduce foraging effort during exposure to 1-2 kHz sonar and killer whale sounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isojunno, Saana; Cure, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold; Lam, Frans-Peter Alexander; Tyack, Peter Lloyd; Wensveen, Paul Jacobus; Miller, Patrick James O'Malley

    2016-01-01

    The time and energetic costs of behavioral responses to incidental and experimental sonar exposures, as well as control stimuli, were quantified using hidden state analysis of time series of acoustic and movement data recorded by tags (DTAG) attached to 12 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using suction cups. Behavioral state transition modeling showed that tagged whales switched to a non-foraging, non-resting state during both experimental transmissions of low-frequency active sonar from an approaching vessel (LFAS; 1-2 kHz, source level 214 dB re 1 µPa m, four tag records) and playbacks of potential predator (killer whale, Orcinus orca) sounds broadcast at naturally occurring sound levels as a positive control from a drifting boat (five tag records). Time spent in foraging states and the probability of prey capture attempts were reduced during these two types of exposures with little change in overall locomotion activity, suggesting an effect on energy intake with no immediate compensation. Whales switched to the active non-foraging state over received sound pressure levels of 131-165 dB re 1 µPa during LFAS exposure. In contrast, no changes in foraging behavior were detected in response to experimental negative controls (no-sonar ship approach or noise control playback) or to experimental medium-frequency active sonar exposures (MFAS; 6-7 kHz, source level 199 re 1 µPa m, received sound pressure level [SPL] = 73-158 dB re 1 µPa). Similarly, there was no reduction in foraging effort for three whales exposed to incidental, unidentified 4.7-5.1 kHz sonar signals received at lower levels (SPL = 89-133 dB re 1 µPa). These results demonstrate that similar to predation risk, exposure to sonar can affect functional behaviors, and indicate that increased perception of risk with higher source level or lower frequency may modulate how sperm whales respond to anthropogenic sound.

  17. Improved Satellite-Monitored Radio Tags for Large Whales: Dependable ARGOS Location-Only Tags and a GPS-Linked ARGOS Tag Reveal 3-Dimensional Body-Orientation and Surface Movements

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    are in groups of foraging sperm whales , the way humpbacks seem to be during coordinated bubble-net feeding . We will also be able to determine if whales ...funded tags have been used on a variety of projects: western gray whales in Russia, Pacific Coast Feeding Group (PCFG) gray whales , and sperm whales ...gray whale habitat and migration Satellite tags were attached to gray whales from the pacific coast feeding group (PCFG) during fall 2009, 2012 and

  18. Operational Performance Analysis of Passive Acoustic Monitoring for Killer Whales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Matzner, Shari; Fu, Tao; Ren, Huiying; Deng, Zhiqun; Sun, Yannan; Carlson, Thomas J.

    2011-09-30

    For the planned tidal turbine site in Puget Sound, WA, the main concern is to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) due to their Endangered Species Act status. A passive acoustic monitoring system is proposed because the whales emit vocalizations that can be detected by a passive system. The algorithm for detection is implemented in two stages. The first stage is an energy detector designed to detect candidate signals. The second stage is a spectral classifier that is designed to reduce false alarms. The evaluation presented here of the detection algorithm incorporates behavioral models of the species of interest, environmental models of noise levels and potential false alarm sources to provide a realistic characterization of expected operational performance.

  19. Separation of sperm whale click-trains for multipath rejection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baggenstoss, Paul M

    2011-06-01

    In this paper an algorithm is described for grouping sperm whale clicks received at a single hydrophone into click-trains associated with a given whale and propagation path. To accomplish this, features are extracted from pairs of clicks in order to derive a statistical measure of click similarity. Then, the algorithm maximizes a global measure of similarity between the associated clicks. In addition to grouping clicks according to click-trains, it classifies click-trains into a propagation path (direct, surface, bottom reverberation). The propagation path is identified using a combination of (1) a statistical classifier operating on features extracted from individual clicks and (2) the cross-correlation of click-trains to identify the relative time delays. The algorithm is demonstrated on at-sea recorded data, showing the elimination of time-delay ambiguities associated with the reverberation paths observed at sensor pairs.

  20. Properties and architecture of the sperm whale skull amphitheatre.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alam, Parvez; Amini, Shahrouz; Tadayon, Maryam; Miserez, Ali; Chinsamy, Anusuya

    2016-02-01

    The sperm whale skull amphitheatre cradles an enormous two-tonne spermaceti organ. The amphitheatre separates this organ from the cranium and the cervical vertebrae that lie in close proximity to the base of the skull. Here, we elucidate that this skull amphitheatre is an elastic, flexible, triple-layered structure with mechanical properties that are conjointly guided by bone histology and the characteristics of pore space. We contend that the amphitheatre will flex elastically to equilibrate forces transmitted via the spermaceti organ that arise through diving. We find that collisions from sperm whale aggression do not cause the amphitheatre to bend, but rather localise stress to the base of the amphitheatre on its anterior face. We consider, therefore, that the uniquely thin and extended construction of the amphitheatre, has relevance as an energy absorptive structure in diving.

  1. Phylogenomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype divergence in sympatry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moura, A E; Kenny, J G; Chaudhuri, R R; Hughes, M A; Reisinger, R R; de Bruyn, P J N; Dahlheim, M E; Hall, N; Hoelzel, A R

    2015-01-01

    For many highly mobile species, the marine environment presents few obvious barriers to gene flow. Even so, there is considerable diversity within and among species, referred to by some as the 'marine speciation paradox'. The recent and diverse radiation of delphinid cetaceans (dolphins) represents a good example of this. Delphinids are capable of extensive dispersion and yet many show fine-scale genetic differentiation among populations. Proposed mechanisms include the division and isolation of populations based on habitat dependence and resource specializations, and habitat release or changing dispersal corridors during glacial cycles. Here we use a phylogenomic approach to investigate the origin of differentiated sympatric populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca). Killer whales show strong specialization on prey choice in populations of stable matrifocal social groups (ecotypes), associated with genetic and phenotypic differentiation. Our data suggest evolution in sympatry among populations of resource specialists.

  2. Archaeocete-like jaws in a baleen whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzgerald, Erich M G

    2012-02-23

    The titanic baleen whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti) have a bizarre skull morphology, including an elastic mandibular symphysis, which permits dynamic oral cavity expansion during bulk feeding. How this key innovation evolved from the sutured symphysis of archaeocetes has remained unclear. Now, mandibles of the Oligocene toothed mysticete Janjucetus hunderi show that basal mysticetes had an archaeocete-like sutured symphysis. This archaic morphology was paired with a wide rostrum typical of later-diverging baleen whales. This demonstrates that increased oral capacity via rostral widening preceded the evolution of mandibular innovations for filter feeding. Thus, the initial evolution of the mysticetes' unique cranial form and huge mouths was perhaps not linked to filtering plankton, but to enhancing suction feeding on individual prey.

  3. Ultrasonic hearing and echolocation in the earliest toothed whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Evans, Alistair R

    2016-04-01

    The evolution of biosonar (production of high-frequency sound and reception of its echo) was a key innovation of toothed whales and dolphins (Odontoceti) that facilitated phylogenetic diversification and rise to ecological predominance. Yet exactly when high-frequency hearing first evolved in odontocete history remains a fundamental question in cetacean biology. Here, we show that archaic odontocetes had a cochlea specialized for sensing high-frequency sound, as exemplified by an Oligocene xenorophid, one of the earliest diverging stem groups. This specialization is not as extreme as that seen in the crown clade. Paired with anatomical correlates for high-frequency signal production in Xenorophidae, this is strong evidence that the most archaic toothed whales possessed a functional biosonar system, and that this signature adaptation of odontocetes was acquired at or soon after their origin.

  4. Massive losses of taste receptor genes in toothed and baleen whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Ping; Zheng, Jinsong; Rossiter, Stephen J; Wang, Ding; Zhao, Huabin

    2014-05-06

    Taste receptor genes are functionally important in animals, with a surprising exception in the bottlenose dolphin, which shows extensive losses of sweet, umami, and bitter taste receptor genes. To examine the generality of taste gene loss, we examined seven toothed whales and five baleen whales and sequenced the complete repertoire of three sweet/umami (T1Rs) and ten bitter (T2Rs) taste receptor genes. We found all amplified T1Rs and T2Rs to be pseudogenes in all 12 whales, with a shared premature stop codon in 10 of the 13 genes, which demonstrated massive losses of taste receptor genes in the common ancestor of whales. Furthermore, we analyzed three genome sequences from two toothed whales and one baleen whale and found that the sour taste marker gene Pkd2l1 is a pseudogene, whereas the candidate salty taste receptor genes are intact and putatively functional. Additionally, we examined three genes that are responsible for taste signal transduction and found the relaxation of functional constraints on taste signaling pathways along the ancestral branch leading to whales. Together, our results strongly suggest extensive losses of sweet, umami, bitter, and sour tastes in whales, and the relaxation of taste function most likely arose in the common ancestor of whales between 36 and 53 Ma. Therefore, whales represent the first animal group to lack four of five primary tastes, probably driven by the marine environment with high concentration of sodium, the feeding behavior of swallowing prey whole, and the dietary switch from plants to meat in the whale ancestor.

  5. Acoustically detected year-round presence of right whales in an urbanized migration corridor.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morano, Janelle L; Rice, Aaron N; Tielens, Jamey T; Estabrook, Bobbi J; Murray, Anita; Roberts, Bethany L; Clark, Christopher W

    2012-08-01

    Species' conservation relies on understanding their seasonal habitats and migration routes. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, migrate from the southeastern U.S. coast to Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, a federally designated critical habitat, from February through May to feed. The whales then continue north across the Gulf of Maine to northern waters (e.g., Bay of Fundy). To enter Cape Cod Bay, right whales must traverse an area of dense shipping and fishing activity in Massachusetts Bay, where there are no mandatory regulations for the protection of right whales or management of their habitat. We used passive acoustic recordings of right whales collected in Massachusetts Bay from May 2007 through October 2010 to determine the annual spatial and temporal distribution of the whales and their calling activity. We detected right whales in the bay throughout the year, in contrast to results from visual surveys. Right whales were detected on at least 24% of days in each month, with the exception of June 2007, in which there were no detections. Averaged over all years, right whale calls were most abundant from February through May. During this period, calls were most frequent between 17:00 and 20:00 local time; no diel pattern was apparent in other months. The spatial distribution of the approximate locations of calling whales suggests they may use Massachusetts Bay as a conduit to Cape Cod Bay in the spring and as they move between the Gulf of Maine and waters to the south in September through December. Although it is unclear how dependent right whales are on the bay, the discovery of their widespread presence in Massachusetts Bay throughout the year suggests this region may need to be managed to reduce the probability of collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear.

  6. Omura's whales (Balaenoptera omurai) off northwest Madagascar: ecology, behaviour and conservation needs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cerchio, Salvatore; Andrianantenaina, Boris; Lindsay, Alec; Rekdahl, Melinda; Andrianarivelo, Norbert; Rasoloarijao, Tahina

    2015-10-01

    The Omura's whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was described as a new species in 2003 and then soon after as an ancient lineage basal to a Bryde's/sei whale clade. Currently known only from whaling and stranding specimens primarily from the western Pacific and eastern Indian Oceans, there exist no confirmed field observations or ecological/behavioural data. Here we present, to our knowledge, the first genetically confirmed documentation of living Omura's whales including descriptions of basic ecology and behaviour from northwestern Madagascar. Species identification was confirmed through molecular phylogenetic analyses of biopsies collected from 18 adult animals. All individuals shared a single haplotype in a 402 bp sequence of mtDNA control region, suggesting low diversity and a potentially small population. Sightings of 44 groups indicated preference for shallow-water shelf habitat with sea surface temperature between 27.4°C and 30.2°C. Frequent observations were made of lunge feeding, possibly on zooplankton. Observations of four mothers with young calves, and recordings of a song-like vocalization probably indicate reproductive behaviour. Social organization consisted of loose aggregations of predominantly unassociated single individuals spatially and temporally clustered. Photographic recapture of a female re-sighted the following year with a young calf suggests site fidelity or a resident population. Our results demonstrate that the species is a tropical whale without segregation of feeding and breeding habitat, and is probably non-migratory; our data extend the range of this poorly studied whale into the western Indian Ocean. Exclusive range restriction to tropical waters is rare among baleen whale species, except for the various forms of Bryde's whales and Omura's whales. Thus, the discovery of a tractable population of Omura's whales in the tropics presents an opportunity for understanding the ecological factors driving potential convergence of life

  7. Sperm whales (Physeter catodon) in the Gulf of Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Collum, L.A.; Fritts, T.H.

    1985-01-01

    The distribution of the sperm whale, Physeter catodon, was documented in the Gulf of Mexico during 1979 to 1981 using regular aerial surveys and opportunistic sightings from ships. Most sightings were in the western Gulf of Mexico in deep waters near the edge of the continental shelf. A total of 47 adults and 12 young animals was sighted in groups containing from one to 14 animals.

  8. Building a Virtual Model of a Baleen Whale: Phase 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    E. (2005). International Regulation of Underwater Sound: Establishing Rules and Standards to Address Ocean Noise Pollution (Kluwer Academic...funded in Phase 3. APPROACH Oceanic sound levels have increased steadily over the last half-century (McCarthy, 2005), especially the low...due to a bone conduction mechanism. This mechanism is activated when long wavelength sounds interact with the whale’s emormous skull bones, causing

  9. Oxygen saturation in free-diving whales: optical sensor development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutierrez-Herrera, Enoch; Vacas-Jacques, Paulino; Anderson, Rox; Zapol, Warren; Franco, Walfre

    2013-02-01

    Mass stranding of live whales has been explained by proposing many natural or human-related causes. Recent necropsy reports suggest a link between the mass stranding of beaked whales and the use of naval mid-frequency sonar. Surprisingly, whales have experienced symptoms similar to those caused by inert gas bubbles in human divers. Our goal is to develop a compact optical sensor to monitor the consumption of the oxygen stores in the muscle of freely diving whales. To this end we have proposed the use of a near-infrared phase-modulated frequency-domain spectrophotometer, in reflectance mode, to probe tissue oxygenation. Our probe consists of three main components: radiofrequency (RF) modulated light sources, a high-bandwidth avalanche photodiode with transimpedance amplifier, and a RF gain and phase detector. In this work, we concentrate on the design and performance of the light sensor, and its corresponding amplifier unit. We compare three state-of-the-art avalanche photodiodes: one through-hole device and two surface-mount detectors. We demonstrate that the gain due to the avalanche effect differs between sensors. The avalanche gain near maximum bias of the through-hole device exceeds by a factor of 2.5 and 8.3 that of the surface-mount detectors. We present the behavior of our assembled through-hole detector plus high-bandwidth transimpedance amplifier, and compare its performance to that of a commercially available module. The assembled unit enables variable gain, its phase noise is qualitatively lower, and the form factor is significantly smaller. Having a detecting unit that is compact, flexible, and functional is a milestone in the development of our tissue oxygenation tag.

  10. Initial characterization of novel beaked whale morbillivirus in Hawaiian cetaceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jacob, Jessica M; West, Kristi L; Levine, Gregg; Sanchez, Susan; Jensen, Brenda A

    2016-01-13

    Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) is a causative factor in epizootics that have resulted in thousands of deaths throughout the Atlantic and Mediterranean since 1987, but less is known of its presence and significance in the Pacific. The first case of CeMV reported in Hawai'i was in a Longman's beaked whale that stranded in 2010. The initial CeMV sequence from this individual indicated the possibility of a novel strain. To address this, archived samples from cetaceans that stranded in Hawai'i between 1997 and 2014 were screened for CeMV. The beaked whale morbillivirus (BWMV) was detected in 15 individuals representing 12 different species (24% of Code 1 and 2 stranded cetaceans). The earliest detected case was a humpback whale that stranded in 1998. Sequence comparisons of a 2.2 kb sequence spanning the phosphoprotein (P) and nucleocapsid (N) genes strongly suggest that the BWMV represents a novel strain of CeMV present in Hawai'i and the Central Pacific. In contrast to recently reported isolates from Brazil and Australia that may represent a distinct clade, BWMV appears to be more closely related to known strains of CeMV (dolphin morbillivirus; porpoise morbillivirus; and pilot whale morbillivirus). Detection rates with repeat sampling of positive lymph nodes were between 2 and 61%, illustrating the extreme heterogeneity that can occur in affected tissues. Taken together, these results suggest that BWMV may be common and established in Hawaiian cetacean populations. BWMV will be important for understanding CeMV and health threats in the relatively understudied cetaceans of the Pacific.

  11. Environmental Influences On Diel Calling Behavior In Baleen Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Environmental Influences On Diel Calling Behavior In...understanding of the social and environmental factors that influence variability in the calling behavior of baleen whales. One of the most prevalent...observations in passive acoustic recordings over scales of days to months is diel calling behavior (i.e., higher calling rates by day versus night or

  12. Virus and the whale: exploring evolution in a museum collaboration

    OpenAIRE

    Diamond, Judy; Spiegel, Amy; Meier, Debra; Disbrow, Sarah

    2005-01-01

    A major new collaboration of museums in the U.S. will teach the public about current research in evolutionary biology. This project, entitled Explore Evolution, combines the strength of interactive exhibits, Web activities and outreach programs for youth to feature seven influential research projects on organisms ranging in size from the smallest, Hiy to the largest, a whale. Launched in 2003 and funded by the Informal Science Education Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Explor...

  13. 75 FR 17377 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Southern Resident Killer Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-06

    ... of 5-Year Review for Southern Resident Killer Whales AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS... whales (Orcinus orca) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). A 5-year review is a..., we are requesting submission of any such information on Southern Resident killer whales that...

  14. 78 FR 19176 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-day Finding on a Petition to List Sperm Whales in the Gulf...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-03-29

    ... Threatened Wildlife; 90-day Finding on a Petition to List Sperm Whales in the Gulf of Mexico as a Distinct...: We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition from WildEarth Guardians to list the sperm whale... whales in the Gulf of Mexico to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that...

  15. 75 FR 39916 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Intent to Prepare a Recovery Plan for the Sei Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-13

    ... Intent to Prepare a Recovery Plan for the Sei Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS... its intent to prepare a recovery plan for the Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis) and requests... ``Sei Whale Recovery Plan Information'' 3. Mail: National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of...

  16. Improving Attachments of Remotely-Deployed Dorsal Fin-Mounted Tags: Tissue Structure, Hydrodynamics, in situ Performance, and Tagged-Animal Follow-up

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    alternative method for satellite tagging beluga whales . In: Abstracts of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Conference, April 5, 2014. Anchorage, AK. [oral...G.M. Towers, J.R., Pilkington, J.F., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., and Andrews, R.D. (2013). New insights into the northward migration route of gray whales ...our project includes follow-up studies of whales that have been tagged with a remotely-deployed dorsal fin-mounted tag to accurately quantify wound

  17. Morphology of the eyeball from the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, Fernanda M; Silva, Fernanda M O; Trompieri-Silveira, Ana Carolina; Vergara-Parente, Jociery E; Miglino, Maria Angélica; Guimarães, Juliana P

    2014-05-01

    Aquatic mammals underwent morphological and physiological adaptations due to the transition from terrestrial to aquatic environment. One of the morphological changes regards their vision since cetaceans' eyes are able to withstand mechanical, chemical, osmotic, and optical water conditions. Due to insufficient information about these animals, especially regarding their sense organs, this study aimed to describe the morphology of the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) eyeball. Three newborn females, stranded dead on the coast of Sergipe and Bahia, Brazil, were used. Samples were fixed in a 10% formalin solution, dissected, photographed, collected, and evaluated through light and electron microscopy techniques. The Humpback whale sclera was thick and had an irregular surface with mechanoreceptors in its lamina propria. Lens was dense, transparent, and ellipsoidal, consisting of three layers, and the vascularized choroid contains melanocytes, mechanoreceptors, and a fibrous tapetum lucidum. The Humpback whale eyeball is similar to other cetaceans and suggests an adaptation to diving and migration, contributing to the perception of differences in temperature, pressure, and lighting.

  18. Hearing in Whales and Dolphins: Relevance and Limitations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pacini, Aude F; Nachtigall, Paul E

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the hearing of marine mammals has been a priority to quantify and mitigate the impact of anthropogenic sound on these apex predators. Yet our knowledge of cetacean hearing is still limited to a few dozen species, therefore compromising any attempt to design adaptive management strategies. The use of auditory evoked potentials allows scientists to rapidly and noninvasively obtain the hearing data of species rarely available in captivity. Unfortunately, many practical and ethical reasons still limit the availability of large whales, thus restricting the possibility to effectively ensure that anthropogenic sounds have minimum effects on these species. The example of a recent Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) audiogram collected after a stranding indicated, for instance, very specialized hearing between 40 and 50 kHz, which corresponded to the frequency-modulated upsweep signals used by this species during echolocation. The methods used during a stranding event are presented along with the major difficulties that have slowed down the scientific community in measuring the audition of large whales and the potential value in obtaining such results when successful.

  19. Identifying individual sperm whales acoustically using self-organizing maps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ioup, Juliette W.; Ioup, George E.

    2005-09-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) is a consortium at Stennis Space Center comprising the University of New Orleans, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. LADC deployed three Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2001 to study ambient noise and marine mammals. Each LADC EARS was an autonomous, self-recording buoy capable of 36 days of continuous recording of a single channel at an 11.7-kHz sampling rate (bandwidth to 5859 Hz). The hydrophone selected for this analysis was approximately 50 m from the bottom in a water depth of 800 m on the continental slope off the Mississippi River delta. This paper contains recent analysis results for sperm whale codas recorded during a 3-min period. Results are presented for the identification of individual sperm whales from their codas, using the acoustic properties of the clicks within each coda. The recorded time series, the Fourier transform magnitude, and the wavelet transform coefficients are each used separately with a self-organizing map procedure for 43 codas. All show the codas as coming from four or five individual whales. [Research supported by ONR.

  20. Dividing up the pie: Whales, fish, and humans as competitors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruzicka, James J.; Steele, John H.; Ballerini, Tosca; Gaichas, Sarah K.; Ainley, David G.

    2013-09-01

    Similarly structured food web models of four coastal ecosystems (Northern California Current, Central Gulf of Alaska, Georges Bank, southwestern Antarctic Peninsula) were used to investigate competition among whales, fishes, pinnipeds, and humans. Two analysis strategies simulated the effects of historic baleen and odontocete whale abundances across all trophic levels: food web structure scenarios and time-dynamic scenarios. Direct competition between whales and commercial fisheries is small at current whale abundances; whales and fisheries each take similar proportions of annual pelagic fish production (4-7%). Scenarios show that as whale populations grow, indirect competition between whales and fish for zooplankton would more likely impact fishery production than would direct competition for fish between whales and commercial fisheries. Increased baleen whale abundance would have greater and broader indirect effects on upper trophic levels and fisheries than a similar increase in odontocete abundance. Time-dynamic scenarios, which allow for the evolution of compensatory mechanisms, showed more modest impacts than structural scenarios, which show the immediate impacts of altered energy pathways. Structural scenarios show that in terms of energy availability, there is potential for large increases in whale abundance without major changes to existing food web structures and without substantial reduction of fishery production. For each ecosystem, a five-fold increase in baleen whale abundance could be supported with minor disruptions to existing energy flow pathways. However, such an increase would remain below historical population levels for many cetaceans. A larger expansion (20X) could be accommodated only with large reductions in energy flow to competitor groups. The scope for odontocete expansion varies between ecosystems but may be more restricted than the scope for baleen expansion because they feed at higher, less productive trophic levels. Egestion

  1. Calcification provides mechanical reinforcement to whale baleen alpha-keratin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szewciw, L J; de Kerckhove, D G; Grime, G W; Fudge, D S

    2010-09-01

    Hard alpha-keratins such as hair, nail, wool and horn are stiff epidermal appendages used by mammals in a variety of functions including thermoregulation, feeding and intraspecific competition. Hard alpha-keratins are fibre-reinforced structures consisting of cytoskeletal elements known as 'intermediate filaments' embedded in an amorphous protein matrix. Recent research has shown that intermediate filaments are soft and extensible in living keratinocytes but become far stiffer and less extensible in keratinized cells, and this stiffening may be mediated by air-drying. Baleen, the keratinous plates used by baleen whales during filter feeding, is an unusual mammalian keratin in that it never air dries, and in some species, it represents the most heavily calcified of all the hard alpha-keratins. We therefore tested the hypothesis that whale baleen is stiffened by calcification. Here, we provide, to our knowledge, the first comprehensive description of baleen material properties and show that calcification contributes to overcoming the shortcomings of stiffening this hard alpha-keratin without the benefit of air-drying. We also demonstrate striking interspecies differences in the calcification patterns among three species of baleen whales and provide novel insights into the function and evolution of this unusual biomaterial.

  2. Experimental evidence for action imitation in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abramson, José Z; Hernández-Lloreda, Victoria; Call, Josep; Colmenares, Fernando

    2013-01-01

    Comparative experimental studies of imitative learning have focused mainly on primates and birds. However, cetaceans are promising candidates to display imitative learning as they have evolved in socioecological settings that have selected for large brains, complex sociality, and coordinated predatory tactics. Here we tested imitative learning in killer whales, Orcinus orca. We used a 'do-as-other-does' paradigm in which 3 subjects witnessed a conspecific demonstrator's performance that included 15 familiar and 4 novel behaviours. The three subjects (1) learned the copy command signal 'Do that' very quickly, that is, 20 trials on average; (2) copied 100 % of the demonstrator's familiar and novel actions; (3) achieved full matches in the first attempt for 8-13 familiar behaviours (out of 15) and for the 2 novel behaviours (out of 2) in one subject; and (4) took no longer than 8 trials to accurately copy any familiar behaviour, and no longer than 16 trials to copy any novel behaviour. This study provides experimental evidence for body imitation, including production imitation, in killer whales that is comparable to that observed in dolphins tested under similar conditions. These findings suggest that imitative learning may underpin some of the group-specific traditions reported in killer whales in the field.

  3. Distance estimation experiment for aerial minke whale surveys

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lars Witting

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available A comparative study between aerial cue–counting and digital photography surveys for minke whales conducted in Faxaflói Bay in September 2003 is used to check the perpendicular distances estimated by the cue-counting observers. The study involved 2 aircraft with the photo plane at 1,700 feet flying above the cue–counting plane at 750 feet. The observer–based distance estimates were calculated from head angles estimated by angle-boards and declination angles estimated by declinometers. These distances were checked against image–based estimates of the perpendicular distance to the same whale. The 2 independent distance estimates were obtained for 21 sightings of minke whale, and there was a good agreement between the 2 types of estimates. The relative absolute deviations between the 2 estimates were on average 23% (se: 6%, with the errors in the observer–based distance estimates resembling that of a log-normal distribution. The linear regression of the observer–based estimates (obs on the image–based estimates (img was Obs=1.1Img (R2=0.85 with an intercept fixed at zero. There was no evidence of a distance estimation bias that could generate a positive bias in the absolute abundance estimated by cue–counting.

  4. Blue and fin whale call source levels and propagation range in the Southern Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A; Wiggins, Sean M

    2007-08-01

    Blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) produce high-intensity, low-frequency calls, which probably function for communication during mating and feeding. The source levels of blue and fin whale calls off the Western Antarctic Peninsula were calculated using recordings made with calibrated, bottom-moored hydrophones. Blue whales were located up to a range of 200 km using hyperbolic localization and time difference of arrival. The distance to fin whales, estimated using multipath arrivals of their calls, was up to 56 km. The error in range measurements was 3.8 km using hyperbolic localization, and 3.4 km using multipath arrivals. Both species produced high-intensity calls; the average blue whale call source level was 189+/-3 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 25-29 Hz, and the average fin whale call source level was 189+/-4 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 15-28 Hz. Blue and fin whale populations in the Southern Ocean have remained at low numbers for decades since they became protected; using source level and detection range from passive acoustic recordings can help in calculating the relative density of calling whales.

  5. Source level estimation of two blue whale subspecies in southwestern Indian Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samaran, Flore; Guinet, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Motsch, Jean-François; Cansi, Yves

    2010-06-01

    Blue whales produce intense, stereotypic low frequency calls that are particularly well suited for transmission over long distances. Because these calls vary geographically, they can be used to gain insight into subspecies distribution. In the Southwestern Indian Ocean, acoustic data from a triad of calibrated hydrophones maintained by the International Monitoring System provided data on blue whale calls from two subspecies: Antarctic and pygmy blue whales. Using time difference of arrival and least-squares hyperbolic methods, the range and location of calling whales were determined. By using received level of calls and propagation modeling, call source levels of both subspecies were estimated. The average call source level was estimated to 179+/-5 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-30 Hz band for Antarctic blue whale and 174+/-1 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-50 Hz band for pygmy blue whale. According to previous estimates, slight variations in the source level could be due to inter-individual differences, inter-subspecies variations and the calculation method. These are the first reported source level estimations for blue whales in the Indian Ocean. Such data are critical to estimate detection ranges of calling blue whales.

  6. 50 CFR 224.105 - Speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic Right Whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic Right Whales. 224.105 Section 224.105 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE... AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES § 224.105 Speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic Right Whales. (a)...

  7. 50 CFR 226.203 - Critical habitat for northern right whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Critical habitat for northern right whales. 226.203 Section 226.203 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND... Critical habitat for northern right whales. (a) Great South Channel. The area bounded by 41°40′ N/69°45′...

  8. The biogeochemical role of baleen whales and krill in Southern Ocean nutrient cycling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ratnarajah, Lavenia; Bowie, Andrew R; Lannuzel, Delphine; Meiners, Klaus M; Nicol, Stephen

    2014-01-01

    The availability of micronutrients is a key factor that affects primary productivity in High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) regions of the Southern Ocean. Nutrient supply is governed by a range of physical, chemical and biological processes, and there are significant feedbacks within the ecosystem. It has been suggested that baleen whales form a crucial part of biogeochemical cycling processes through the consumption of nutrient-rich krill and subsequent defecation, but data on their contribution are scarce. We analysed the concentration of iron, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, phosphorus and carbon in baleen whale faeces and muscle, and krill tissue using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Metal concentrations in krill tissue were between 20 thousand and 4.8 million times higher than typical Southern Ocean HNLC seawater concentrations, while whale faecal matter was between 276 thousand and 10 million times higher. These findings suggest that krill act as a mechanism for concentrating and retaining elements in the surface layer, which are subsequently released back into the ocean, once eaten by whales, through defecation. Trace metal to carbon ratios were also higher in whale faeces compared to whale muscle indicating that whales are concentrating carbon and actively defecating trace elements. Consequently, recovery of the great whales may facilitate the recycling of nutrients via defecation, which may affect productivity in HNLC areas.

  9. Fin whales and microplastics: The Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez scenarios.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fossi, Maria Cristina; Marsili, Letizia; Baini, Matteo; Giannetti, Matteo; Coppola, Daniele; Guerranti, Cristiana; Caliani, Ilaria; Minutoli, Roberta; Lauriano, Giancarlo; Finoia, Maria Grazia; Rubegni, Fabrizio; Panigada, Simone; Bérubé, Martine; Urbán Ramírez, Jorge; Panti, Cristina

    2016-02-01

    The impact that microplastics have on baleen whales is a question that remains largely unexplored. This study examined the interaction between free-ranging fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and microplastics by comparing populations living in two semi-enclosed basins, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California, Mexico). The results indicate that a considerable abundance of microplastics and plastic additives exists in the neustonic samples from Pelagos Sanctuary of the Mediterranean Sea, and that pelagic areas containing high densities of microplastics overlap with whale feeding grounds, suggesting that whales are exposed to microplastics during foraging; this was confirmed by the observation of a temporal increase in toxicological stress in whales. Given the abundance of microplastics in the Mediterranean environment, along with the high concentrations of Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) chemicals, plastic additives and biomarker responses detected in the biopsies of Mediterranean whales as compared to those in whales inhabiting the Sea of Cortez, we believe that exposure to microplastics because of direct ingestion and consumption of contaminated prey poses a major threat to the health of fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea.

  10. A Teachers' Guide to the Whales of the Gulf of Maine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elk, Catherine Kiorpes; Lignell, Kathleen, Ed.

    This guide provides: (1) background information for teachers on whales; (2) 10 interdisciplinary activities; (3) teacher resources; (4) a bibliography; and (5) "pocket materials." Topic areas addressed in the first section include evolution and adaptation to an aquatic environment, diversity of whales, functional anatomy of feeding and…

  11. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Visser, F.; Curé, C.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Lam, F.P.A.; Tyack, P.L.; Miller, P.J.O.

    2016-01-01

    Social interactions among animals can influence their response to disturbance. We investigated responses of long-finned pilot whales to killer whale sound playbacks and two anthropogenic sources of disturbance: Tagging effort and naval sonar exposure. The acoustic scene and diving behaviour of tagge

  12. The biogeochemical role of baleen whales and krill in Southern Ocean nutrient cycling.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lavenia Ratnarajah

    Full Text Available The availability of micronutrients is a key factor that affects primary productivity in High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll (HNLC regions of the Southern Ocean. Nutrient supply is governed by a range of physical, chemical and biological processes, and there are significant feedbacks within the ecosystem. It has been suggested that baleen whales form a crucial part of biogeochemical cycling processes through the consumption of nutrient-rich krill and subsequent defecation, but data on their contribution are scarce. We analysed the concentration of iron, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, phosphorus and carbon in baleen whale faeces and muscle, and krill tissue using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Metal concentrations in krill tissue were between 20 thousand and 4.8 million times higher than typical Southern Ocean HNLC seawater concentrations, while whale faecal matter was between 276 thousand and 10 million times higher. These findings suggest that krill act as a mechanism for concentrating and retaining elements in the surface layer, which are subsequently released back into the ocean, once eaten by whales, through defecation. Trace metal to carbon ratios were also higher in whale faeces compared to whale muscle indicating that whales are concentrating carbon and actively defecating trace elements. Consequently, recovery of the great whales may facilitate the recycling of nutrients via defecation, which may affect productivity in HNLC areas.

  13. 76 FR 43985 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sei Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-22

    ... Plan for the Sei Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis). NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all... actions. The ESA requires the development of recovery plans for each listed species unless such a...

  14. 78 FR 34347 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-06-07

    ... Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and... Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica). ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Recovery Plan are... the development of recovery plans for each ] listed species unless such a plan would not promote...

  15. Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Brian S; Growcott, Abraham; Slooten, Elisabeth; Dawson, Stephen M

    2013-09-01

    A non-invasive acoustic method for measuring the growth of sperm whales was developed based on estimating the length of individuals by measuring the inter-pulse interval (IPI) of their clicks. Most prior knowledge of growth in male sperm whales has come from from fitting growth curves to length data gained from whaling. Recordings made at Kaikoura, New Zealand, were used to estimate the length and growth of 32 photographically identified, resident whales that have been recorded repeatedly between 1991 and 2009. All whales recorded more than six months apart (n = 30) showed an increase in IPI. Using established relationships between IPI and total length, it was found that the average growth rate in the Kaikoura population is lower, especially for smaller whales (13-14.5 m), than that derived from historical whaling data from other populations. This difference may be due to ecological differences among populations but might also reflect upward bias in measurements gained in whaling. The ability to track growth of individuals through time is only possible via non-lethal means and offers a fundamentally different kind of data because differences among individuals can be measured.

  16. Risso's dolphins alter daily resting pattern in response to whale watching at the Azores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Visser, Fleur; Hartman, Karin L.; Rood, Ente J. J.; Hendriks, Arthur J. E.; Zult, Daan B.; Wolff, Wim J.; Huisman, Jef; Pierce, Graham J.

    2011-01-01

    P>Behavioral responses of Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) to whale watching vessels were studied off Pico Island, Azores. Dolphin behavior was studied from a land-based lookout, enabling observations of groups in the absence and presence of vessels. The number of whale watching vessels showed a c

  17. Risso’s dolphins alter daily resting pattern in response to whale watching at the Azores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    F. Visser; K.L. Hartman; E.J.J. Rood; A.J.E. Hendriks; D.B. Zult; W.J. Wolff; J. Huisman; G.J. Pierce

    2011-01-01

    Behavioral responses of Risso’s dolphins (Grampus griseus) to whale watching vessels were studied off Pico Island, Azores. Dolphin behavior was studied from a land-based lookout, enabling observations of groups in the absence and presence of vessels. The number of whale watching vessels showed a cle

  18. 50 CFR 226.215 - Critical habitat for the North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica). 226.215 Section 226.215 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE... DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.215 Critical habitat for the North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica). (a) Primary Constituent Elements. The primary constituent elements of the North Pacific right...

  19. Mediterranean Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus) Threatened by Dolphin MorbilliVirus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazzariol, Sandro; Centelleghe, Cinzia; Beffagna, Giorgia; Povinelli, Michele; Terracciano, Giuliana; Cocumelli, Cristiano; Pintore, Antonio; Denurra, Daniele; Casalone, Cristina; Pautasso, Alessandra; Di Francesco, Cristina Esmeralda; Di Guardo, Giovanni

    2016-02-01

    During 2011-2013, dolphin morbillivirus was molecularly identified in 4 stranded fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea. Nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein, and hemagglutinin gene sequences of the identified strain were highly homologous with those of a morbillivirus that caused a 2006-2007 epidemic in the Mediterranean. Dolphin morbillivirus represents a serious threat for fin whales.

  20. Dolphin Morbillivirus Associated with a Mass Stranding of Sperm Whales, Italy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Centelleghe, Cinzia; Di Provvido, Andrea; Di Renzo, Ludovica; Cardeti, Giusy; Cersini, Antonella; Fichi, Gianluca; Petrella, Antonio; Di Francesco, Cristina Esmeralda; Mignone, Walter; Casalone, Cristina; Di Guardo, Giovanni

    2017-01-01

    In September 2014, seven sperm whales were stranded along Italy’s Adriatic coastline. Postmortem investigations on 3 female adult whales and 1 male fetus carried by the largest female revealed molecular and immunohistochemical evidence of dolphin morbillivirus infection. A possible role of the virus in the stranding event was considered. PMID:27983493

  1. Mediterranean Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus) Threatened by Dolphin MorbilliVirus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Centelleghe, Cinzia; Beffagna, Giorgia; Povinelli, Michele; Terracciano, Giuliana; Cocumelli, Cristiano; Pintore, Antonio; Denurra, Daniele; Casalone, Cristina; Pautasso, Alessandra; Di Francesco, Cristina Esmeralda; Di Guardo, Giovanni

    2016-01-01

    During 2011–2013, dolphin morbillivirus was molecularly identified in 4 stranded fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea. Nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein, and hemagglutinin gene sequences of the identified strain were highly homologous with those of a morbillivirus that caused a 2006–2007 epidemic in the Mediterranean. Dolphin morbillivirus represents a serious threat for fin whales. PMID:26812485

  2. Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale densities in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hildebrand, John A; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Frasier, Kaitlin E; Trickey, Jennifer S; Merkens, Karlina P; Wiggins, Sean M; McDonald, Mark A; Garrison, Lance P; Harris, Danielle; Marques, Tiago A; Thomas, Len

    2015-11-12

    Beaked whales are deep diving elusive animals, difficult to census with conventional visual surveys. Methods are presented for the density estimation of beaked whales, using passive acoustic monitoring data collected at sites in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) from the period during and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010-2013). Beaked whale species detected include: Gervais' (Mesoplodon europaeus), Cuvier's (Ziphius cavirostris), Blainville's (Mesoplodon densirostris) and an unknown species of Mesoplodon sp. (designated as Beaked Whale Gulf - BWG). For Gervais' and Cuvier's beaked whales, we estimated weekly animal density using two methods, one based on the number of echolocation clicks, and another based on the detection of animal groups during 5 min time-bins. Density estimates derived from these two methods were in good general agreement. At two sites in the western GOM, Gervais' beaked whales were present throughout the monitoring period, but Cuvier's beaked whales were present only seasonally, with periods of low density during the summer and higher density in the winter. At an eastern GOM site, both Gervais' and Cuvier's beaked whales had a high density throughout the monitoring period.

  3. Blue Whale Visual and Acoustic Encounter Rates in the Southern California Bight

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-07-01

    encounter rates. Dual-mode shipboard surveys of blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and humpback ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) whales reported higher acoustic than...2003. Acoustic and visual survey of humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) distribution in the eastern and southern Caribbean Sea. Caribbean Journal...Comparison between visual and pas- sive acoustic detection of finless porpoises in the Yangtze River . Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

  4. Observations on the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) in the Dutch Caribbean

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Debrot, A.O.; Leon, R.; Esteban, N.; Meesters, H.W.G.

    2013-01-01

    Records of whale sharks in the Caribbean are relatively sparse. Here we document 24 records of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus Smith 1882) for the Dutch Caribbean, four for the windward islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten, and twenty for the southern Caribbean leeward islands of Aruba, Cura

  5. Architecture of the sperm whale forehead facilitates ramming combat

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Olga Panagiotopoulou

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick was inspired by historical instances in which large sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus L. sank 19th century whaling ships by ramming them with their foreheads. The immense forehead of sperm whales is possibly the largest, and one of the strangest, anatomical structures in the animal kingdom. It contains two large oil-filled compartments, known as the “spermaceti organ” and “junk,” that constitute up to one-quarter of body mass and extend one-third of the total length of the whale. Recognized as playing an important role in echolocation, previous studies have also attributed the complex structural configuration of the spermaceti organ and junk to acoustic sexual selection, acoustic prey debilitation, buoyancy control, and aggressive ramming. Of these additional suggested functions, ramming remains the most controversial, and the potential mechanical roles of the structural components of the spermaceti organ and junk in ramming remain untested. Here we explore the aggressive ramming hypothesis using a novel combination of structural engineering principles and probabilistic simulation to determine if the unique structure of the junk significantly reduces stress in the skull during quasi-static impact. Our analyses indicate that the connective tissue partitions in the junk reduce von Mises stresses across the skull and that the load-redistribution functionality of the former is insensitive to moderate variation in tissue material parameters, the thickness of the partitions, and variations in the location and angle of the applied load. Absence of the connective tissue partitions increases skull stresses, particularly in the rostral aspect of the upper jaw, further hinting of the important role the architecture of the junk may play in ramming events. Our study also found that impact loads on the spermaceti organ generate lower skull stresses than an impact on the junk. Nevertheless, whilst an impact on the

  6. The right whale mandatory ship reporting system: a retrospective

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gregory K. Silber

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available In 1998, the United States sought and received International Maritime Organization-endorsement of two Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR systems designed to improve mariner awareness about averting ship collisions with the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis. Vessel collisions are a serious threat to the right whale and the program was among the first formal attempts to reduce this threat. Under the provisions of the MSR, all ships >300 gross tons are required to report their location, speed, and destination to a shore-based station when entering two key right whale habitats: one in waters off New England and one off coastal Georgia and Florida. In return, reporting ships receive an automatically-generated message, delivered directly to the ship’s bridge, that provides information about right whale vulnerability to vessel collisions and actions mariners can take to avoid collisions. The MSR has been in operation continuously from July 1999 to the present. Archived incoming reports provided a 15-plus year history of ship operations in these two locations. We analyzed a total of 26,772 incoming MSR messages logged between July 1999 and December 2013. Most ships that were required to report did so, and compliance rates were generally constant throughout the study period. Self-reported vessel speeds when entering the systems indicated that most ships travelled between 10 and 16 (range = 5–20 + knots. Ship speeds generally decreased in 2009 to 2013 following implementation of vessel speed restrictions. The number of reports into the southern system remained relatively constant following a steady increase through 2007, but numbers in the northern system decreased annually beginning in 2008. If reporting is indicative of long-term patterns in shipping operations, it reflects noteworthy changes in marine transportation. Observed declines in ship traffic are likely attributable to the 2008–2009 economic recession, the

  7. The right whale mandatory ship reporting system: a retrospective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silber, Gregory K; Adams, Jeffrey D; Asaro, Michael J; Cole, Timothy V N; Moore, Katie S; Ward-Geiger, Leslie I; Zoodsma, Barbara J

    2015-01-01

    In 1998, the United States sought and received International Maritime Organization-endorsement of two Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) systems designed to improve mariner awareness about averting ship collisions with the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Vessel collisions are a serious threat to the right whale and the program was among the first formal attempts to reduce this threat. Under the provisions of the MSR, all ships >300 gross tons are required to report their location, speed, and destination to a shore-based station when entering two key right whale habitats: one in waters off New England and one off coastal Georgia and Florida. In return, reporting ships receive an automatically-generated message, delivered directly to the ship's bridge, that provides information about right whale vulnerability to vessel collisions and actions mariners can take to avoid collisions. The MSR has been in operation continuously from July 1999 to the present. Archived incoming reports provided a 15-plus year history of ship operations in these two locations. We analyzed a total of 26,772 incoming MSR messages logged between July 1999 and December 2013. Most ships that were required to report did so, and compliance rates were generally constant throughout the study period. Self-reported vessel speeds when entering the systems indicated that most ships travelled between 10 and 16 (range = 5-20 +) knots. Ship speeds generally decreased in 2009 to 2013 following implementation of vessel speed restrictions. The number of reports into the southern system remained relatively constant following a steady increase through 2007, but numbers in the northern system decreased annually beginning in 2008. If reporting is indicative of long-term patterns in shipping operations, it reflects noteworthy changes in marine transportation. Observed declines in ship traffic are likely attributable to the 2008-2009 economic recession, the containerized shipping industry

  8. Entanglement is a costly life‐history stage in large whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    van der Hoop, Julie Marie

    2016-01-01

    and duration of life-history events such as migration and pregnancy in large whales. We present two complementary bioenergetic approaches to estimate the energy associated with entanglement in North Atlantic right whales, and compare these estimates to the natural energetic life history of individual whales....... Differences in measured blubber thicknesses and estimated blubber volumes between normal and entangled, emaciated whales indicate between 7.4 × 1010 J and 1.2 × 1011 J of energy are consumed during the course to death of a lethal entanglement. Increased thrust power requirements to overcome drag forces...... suggest that when entangled, whales require 3.95 × 109 to 4.08 × 1010 J more energy to swim. Individuals who died from their entanglements performed significantly more work (energy expenditure × time) than those that survived; entanglement duration is therefore critical in determining whales’ survival...

  9. Calling under pressure: Short-finned pilot whales make social calls during deep foraging dives

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Frants Havmand; Marrero Perez, Jacobo; Johnson, Mark

    2011-01-01

    Toothed whales rely on sound to echolocate prey and communicate with conspecifics, but little is known about how extreme pressure affects pneumatic sound production in deep-diving species with a limited air supply. The short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) is a highly social species...... among the deep-diving toothed whales, in which individuals socialize at the surface but leave their social group in pursuit of prey at depths of up to 1000 m. To investigate if these animals communicate acoustically at depth and test whether hydrostatic pressure affects communication signals, acoustic...... DTAGs logging sound, depth and orientation were attached to 12 pilot whales. Tagged whales produced tonal calls during deep foraging dives at depths of up to 800 m. Mean call output and duration decreased with depth despite the increased distance to conspecifics at the surface. This shows...

  10. Long-range acoustic detection and localization of blue whale calls in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stafford, K M; Fox, C G; Clark, D S

    1998-12-01

    Analysis of acoustic signals recorded from the U.S. Navy's SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) was used to detect and locate blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) calls offshore in the northeast Pacific. The long, low-frequency components of these calls are characteristic of calls recorded in the presence of blue whales elsewhere in the world. Mean values for frequency and time characteristics from field-recorded blue whale calls were used to develop a simple matched filter for detecting such calls in noisy time series. The matched filter was applied to signals from three different SOSUS arrays off the coast of the Pacific Northwest to detect and associate individual calls from the same animal on the different arrays. A U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft was directed to an area where blue whale calls had been detected on SOSUS using these methods, and the presence of vocalizing blue whale was confirmed at the site with field recordings from sonobuoys.

  11. Acoustic Monitoring of a Previously Unstudied Whale Shark Aggregation in the Red Sea

    KAUST Repository

    Cochran, Jesse

    2012-01-01

    The whale shark (Rhincodon, typus), is a large, pelagic, filter feeder for which the available information is limited. The Red Sea populations in particular are practically unstudied. An aggregation site was recently discovered off the western coast of Saudi Arabia. We report the use of passive acoustic monitoring to assess the spatial and temporal behavior patterns of whale sharks in this new site. The aggregation occurs in the spring and peaks in April/ May. Whale sharks showed a preference for a single near shore reef and even a specific area within it. There is no evidence of sexual segregation as the genders were present in roughly equal proportion and used the same habitat at similar times. This information can be used to guide future studies in the area and to inform local management. Continued study will add to the collective knowledge on Red Sea whale sharks, including the population dynamics within the region and how they interact with the global whale shark community.

  12. Surface-Piercing Activities of the Humpback Whale, Megaptera, Related to Parasites and Mechanics}

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galvin, C.

    2006-12-01

    Humpback whales leap out of the water (breach), strike the water surface with their long fins (flipper), strike the water surface with their tail (lobtail), and hold motionless in a vertical position with their heads above water (spyhop). These four surface-piercing activities were known to early whalers, but their explanations remain uncertain. A whale breaches by swimming from depth toward the water surface at an oblique angle, propelling himself into the air at an angle to the water's surface (0 to 70 degrees), rotating about his long axis, and landing on his back, belly up to the sky. Rotation requires applying angular momentum to the whale's trunk, which photographs suggest comes from flinging out the flipper on the side rotating upward, and keeping the downward-rotating flipper closer to the trunk. The humpback has unusually long flippers (long moment arms) up to 30 percent of trunk length. Its generic name, Megaptera, can translate as `long flipper'. Continued use of one flipper as the moment arm raises the possibility of right-handed or left-handed whales, but Whitehead's (1985) data do not support that result. Parasites as a cause of breaching is a hypothesis at least as old as Beale (1839), but in the last half of the 20th century, breaching, flippering, and lobtailing came to be understood as social activities of whales. Whitehead's work in the 1980s provides much data on humpback activities, as well as a prevailing social interpretation of the data. External parasites (loosely defined) include whale lice (fingernail-sized crablike animals) and barnacles (both fixed shell and flexible goosenecked species). Thousands of these animals may inhabit a single whale. Whale lice populate crevices of the jaws and eyes, the pleats in the throat pouch under the jaw, and shelter at fixed barnacles. Fixed barnacles thrive on exposed bumps on the whale's head and flippers. Gooseneck barnacles appear in photos attached to trailing edges of fins and tail. Some parasites

  13. The relationship between vessel traffic and noise levels received by killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M.; Giles, Deborah A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Emmons, Candice K.; Hogan, Jeffrey T.; Branch, Trevor A.; Vanblaricom, Glenn R.

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population.

  14. A simulation study of acoustic-assisted tracking of whales for mark-recapture surveys.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peel, David; Miller, Brian S; Kelly, Natalie; Dawson, Steve; Slooten, Elisabeth; Double, Michael C

    2014-01-01

    Collecting enough data to obtain reasonable abundance estimates of whales is often difficult, particularly when studying rare species. Passive acoustics can be used to detect whale sounds and are increasingly used to estimate whale abundance. Much of the existing effort centres on the use of acoustics to estimate abundance directly, e.g. analysing detections in a distance sampling framework. Here, we focus on acoustics as a tool incorporated within mark-recapture surveys. In this context, acoustic tools are used to detect and track whales, which are then photographed or biopsied to provide data for mark-recapture analyses. The purpose of incorporating acoustics is to increase the encounter rate beyond using visual searching only. While this general approach is not new, its utility is rarely quantified. This paper predicts the "acoustically-assisted" encounter rate using a discrete-time individual-based simulation of whales and survey vessel. We validate the simulation framework using existing data from studies of sperm whales. We then use the framework to predict potential encounter rates in a study of Antarctic blue whales. We also investigate the effects of a number of the key parameters on encounter rate. Mean encounter rates from the simulation of sperm whales matched well with empirical data. Variance of encounter rate, however, was underestimated. The simulation of Antarctic blue whales found that passive acoustics should provide a 1.7-3.0 fold increase in encounter rate over visual-only methods. Encounter rate was most sensitive to acoustic detection range, followed by vocalisation rate. During survey planning and design, some indication of the relationship between expected sample size and effort is paramount; this simulation framework can be used to predict encounter rates and establish this relationship. For a case in point, the simulation framework indicates unequivocally that real-time acoustic tracking should be considered for quantifying the abundance

  15. Looking for North Atlantic Baleen Whales: When are they coming to the Azores?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura González

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The archipelago of the Azores is like an oasis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by deep waters, those islands are a “must stop” place for every traveler, including, of course, cetaceans. Around the archipelago more than 24 different species of whales and dolphins can be seen. Some of them are resident such as the common dolphin or the emblematic sperm whale. But others are seasonal or sporadic, such as the spotted dolphin or the big baleen whales. The aim of this study is to assess the temporal distribution of the baleen whales sighted off Azores. We analyzed data gathered off the south coast of São Miguel (Azores from 2006 to 2013 from whale watching vessels. The whale watching company is located in Ponta Delgada and it works all throughout the year, always when the weather, the sea state and the number of tourists allow doing it. In Azores, whale watching companies use to locate cetaceans from land, with specialized lookouts spotting the animals from strategic points on the shore (as whalers did. These lookouts use powerful binoculars to locate the animals, and then give instructions to the boats to get to them. Once there, the boat registers date, hour, sea state, visibility, position (GPS, species, number of individuals, number of adults, juveniles and calves, behavior, association with other species and if there are other boats in the area. Photos are taken whenever it is possible and they are analyzed when the quality is good enough to distinguish natural marks and shapes. Most of the photos used in this study were taken in the last 5 years. Photo-Id catalogues were created for blue whales, fin whales and humpback whales. Data collected are more complete and frequent since 2009. In this case we have analyzed a total of 7691 sightings, belonging to 20 different species of cetaceans, 14 Odontoceti and 6 Mysticeti. In the latter group we recorded 491 sightings. The three most sighted Mysticeti species were the three great

  16. Passenger preferences for whale watching tour attributes and payment for grey whale habitat protection: a case study in Tofino, B.C.

    OpenAIRE

    Warren, Sandra

    2012-01-01

    Whale watching has become an important coastal tourism activity in many regions across the globe. Worldwide, more people are participating in whale watching than ever before, highlighting the need to understand passenger interests and preferences for different tour characteristics. Furthermore, the growth of the industry has raised concern over the long-term welfare of the focal species since many are already considered at risk and in need of protection in multiple regions throughout their ra...

  17. Identifying the "demon whale-biter": Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Best, Peter B; Photopoulou, Theoni

    2016-01-01

    The presence of crater-like wounds on cetaceans and other large marine vertebrates and invertebrates has been attributed to various organisms. We review the evidence for the identity of the biting agent responsible for crater wounds on large whales, using data collected from sei (Balaenoptera borealis), fin (B. physalus), inshore and offshore Bryde's (B. brydeii sp) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) examined at the Donkergat whaling station, Saldanha Bay, South Africa between March and October 1963. We then analyse the intensity and trends in its predation on large whales. Despite the scarcity of local records, we conclude that a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp is the most likely candidate. We make inferences about the trends in (1) total counts of unhealed bitemarks, and (2) the proportion of unhealed bitemarks that were recent. We use day of the year; reproductive class, social grouping or sex; depth interval and body length as candidate covariates. The models with highest support for total counts of unhealed bitemarks involve the day of the year in all species. Depth was an important predictor in all species except offshore Bryde's whales. Models for the proportion of recent bites were only informative for sei and fin whales. We conclude that temporal scarring patterns support what is currently hypothesized about the distribution and movements of these whale species, given that Isistius does not occur in the Antarctic and has an oceanic habitat. The incidence of fresh bites confirms the presence of Isistius in the region. The lower numbers of unhealed bites on medium-sized sperm whales suggests that this group spends more time outside the area in which bites are incurred, providing a clue to one of the biggest gaps in our understanding of the movements of mature and maturing sperm males.

  18. Alaska Beluga Strandings

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — NMFS is mandated by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to collect reports of marine mammal stranding events. This particular catalogue item is specific to the...

  19. Towards population-level conservation in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale: the number and distribution of their populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Attard, Catherine R. M.; Beheregaray, Luciano B.; Möller, Luciana M.

    2016-03-01

    Population-level conservation is required to prevent biodiversity loss within a species, but it first necessitates determining the number and distribution of populations. Many whale populations are still depleted due to 20th century whaling. Whales are one of the most logistically difficult and expensive animals to study because of their mobility, pelagic lifestyle and often remote habitat. We tackle the question of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) - a critically endangered subspecies and the largest extant animal - by capitalizing on the largest genetic dataset to date for Antarctic blue whales. We found evidence of three populations that are sympatric in the Antarctic feeding grounds and likely occupy separate breeding grounds. Our study adds to knowledge of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale. Future research should invest in locating the breeding grounds and migratory routes of Antarctic blue whales through satellite telemetry to confirm their population structure and allow population-level conservation.

  20. Endangered Right Whales Enhance Primary Productivity in the Bay of Fundy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roman, Joe; Nevins, John; Altabet, Mark; Koopman, Heather; McCarthy, James

    2016-01-01

    Marine mammals have recently been documented as important facilitators of rapid and efficient nutrient recycling in coastal and offshore waters. Whales enhance phytoplankton nutrition by releasing fecal plumes near the surface after feeding and by migrating from highly productive, high-latitude feeding areas to low-latitude nutrient-poor calving areas. In this study, we measured NH4+ and PO43- release rates from the feces of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), a highly endangered baleen whale. Samples for this species were primarily collected by locating aggregations of whales in surface-active groups (SAGs), which typically consist of a central female surrounded by males competing for sexual activity. When freshly collected feces were incubated in seawater, high initial rates of N release were generally observed, which decreased to near zero within 24 hours of sampling, a pattern that is consistent with the active role of gut microflora on fecal particles. We estimate that at least 10% of particulate N in whale feces becomes available as NH4+ within 24 hours of defecation. Phosphorous was also abundant in fecal samples: initial release rates of PO43- were higher than for NH4+, yielding low N/P nutrient ratios over the course of our experiments. The rate of PO43- release was thus more than sufficient to preclude the possibility that nitrogenous nutrients supplied by whales would lead to phytoplankton production limited by P availability. Phytoplankton growth experiments indicated that NH4+ released from whale feces enhance productivity, as would be expected, with no evidence that fecal metabolites suppress growth. Although North Atlantic right whales are currently rare (approximately 450 individuals), they once numbered about 14,000 and likely played a substantial role in recycling nutrients in areas where they gathered to feed and mate. Even though the NH4+ released from fresh whale fecal material is a small fraction of total whale fecal nitrogen