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Sample records for beluga whale delphinapterus

  1. The Genome of the Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Steven J. M. Jones

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available The beluga whale is a cetacean that inhabits arctic and subarctic regions, and is the only living member of the genus Delphinapterus. The genome of the beluga whale was determined using DNA sequencing approaches that employed both microfluidic partitioning library and non-partitioned library construction. The former allowed for the construction of a highly contiguous assembly with a scaffold N50 length of over 19 Mbp and total reconstruction of 2.32 Gbp. To aid our understanding of the functional elements, transcriptome data was also derived from brain, duodenum, heart, lung, spleen, and liver tissue. Assembled sequence and all of the underlying sequence data are available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI under the Bioproject accession number PRJNA360851A.

  2. 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 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.

  3. Migratory culture, population structure and stock identity in North Pacific beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Suydam, Robert; Quakenbush, Lori; Potgieter, Brooke; Harwood, Lois; Litovka, Dennis; Ferrer, Tatiana; Citta, John; Burkanov, Vladimir; Frost, Kathy; Mahoney, Barbara

    2018-01-01

    The annual return of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, to traditional seasonal locations across the Arctic may involve migratory culture, while the convergence of discrete summering aggregations on common wintering grounds may facilitate outbreeding. Natal philopatry and cultural inheritance, however, has been difficult to assess as earlier studies were of too short a duration, while genetic analyses of breeding patterns, especially across the beluga’s Pacific range, have been hampered by inadequate sampling and sparse information on wintering areas. Using a much expanded sample and genetic marker set comprising 1,647 whales, spanning more than two decades and encompassing all major coastal summering aggregations in the Pacific Ocean, we found evolutionary-level divergence among three geographic regions: the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas, and the Sea of Okhotsk (Φst = 0.11–0.32, Rst = 0.09–0.13), and likely demographic independence of (Fst-mtDNA = 0.02–0.66), and in many cases limited gene flow (Fst-nDNA = 0.0–0.02; K = 5–6) among, summering groups within regions. Assignment tests identified few immigrants within summering aggregations, linked migrating groups to specific summering areas, and found that some migratory corridors comprise whales from multiple subpopulations (PBAYES = 0.31:0.69). Further, dispersal is male-biased and substantial numbers of closely related whales congregate together at coastal summering areas. Stable patterns of heterogeneity between areas and consistently high proportions (~20%) of close kin (including parent-offspring) sampled up to 20 years apart within areas (G = 0.2–2.9, p>0.5) is the first direct evidence of natal philopatry to migration destinations in belugas. Using recent satellite telemetry findings on belugas we found that the spatial proximity of winter ranges has a greater influence on the degree of both individual and genetic exchange than summer ranges (rwinter-Fst-mtDNA = 0

  4. 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 (studies on call meaning and function.

  5. 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

  6. 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:

  7. Teeth as biomonitors of selenium concentrations in tissues of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kinghorn, April; Humphries, Murray M.; Outridge, Peter; Chan, Hing Man

    2008-01-01

    Selenium (Se) is an essential element which has been shown to play an important role in protecting marine mammals against the toxic effects of mercury (Hg) and other metals. It has been suggested that metal concentration in marine mammal teeth can potentially be used as bioindicators for body burden. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between Se concentrations in beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) teeth and those previously measured in soft tissues (liver, kidney, muscle and muktuk). Tooth Hg concentrations are also measured, and the relationships between Se and Hg in teeth and soft tissues are examined. Se in the teeth of beluga was measured using hydride generation atomic fluorescence spectrometry (HG-AFS) and Hg in beluga teeth was measured by cold-vapour atomic absorption. Tooth Se concentrations ranged from 108 ng/g to 245 ng/g dry weight, and tooth Hg concentrations ranged from 10 to 189 ng/g dry weight. In the soft tissues, Se concentrations were highest in the liver, followed by kidney, muktuk, and muscle. There were significant correlations between tooth Se concentrations and animal age, tooth Se and liver and muscle Se, and between liver Se and animal age. The molar ratio of Hg:Se in the liver was found to be 0.70. This study is the first to measure Se in the teeth of a marine mammal species, and HG-AFS is found to be an effective technique for determining Se in beluga teeth. Tooth Se can be used as predictor for liver and muscle Se, although these relationships may be strongly influenced by the association of Se with Hg in marine mammal tissues. This study contributes to an increased understanding of the storage and metabolism of Se in marine mammals

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Desforges, Jean-Pierre W.; Ross, Peter S.; Dangerfield, Neil; Palace, Vince P.; Whiticar, Michael; Loseto, Lisa L.

    2013-01-01

    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 15 N and δ 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 2 = 0.13, p = 0.014), and regression models found that vitamin A concentrations were negatively correlated with PCB levels in liver (esters: r 2 = 0.19, p = 0.001), but positively in plasma (retinol: r 2 = 0.20, p = 0.06) and blubber (retinol: r 2 = 0.22, p = 0.001, esters: r 2 = 0.43, p < 0.001). Our analyses provide a basis to propose an integrated toxicity reference value for disruption of vitamin A and E profiles in beluga of 1.6 mg

  9. 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

  10. 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

    -ice coverage or early annual ice recession. This is in contrast to the relatively confined distribution of belugas near the coast in limited open areas in the early 1980s, when sea-ice cover was greater. However, the effects of the changes in coastal availability of belugas can also be observed...

  11. 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))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 most of the chemicals examined. Several factors are expected to have influenced the temporal changes of PBT concentrations in beluga which limit the usefulness of this species as a bioindicator of changes in PBT contamination in the SLE ecosystem.

  12. Effects of preparation on nutrient and environmental contaminant levels in Arctic beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) traditional foods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Binnington, Matthew J; Lei, Ying D; Pokiak, Lucky; Pokiak, James; Ostertag, Sonja K; Loseto, Lisa L; Chan, Hing M; Yeung, Leo W Y; Huang, Haiyong; Wania, Frank

    2017-08-16

    For Canadian Arctic indigenous populations, marine mammal (MM) traditional foods (TFs) represent sources of both important nutrients and hazardous environmental contaminants. Food preparation is known to impact the nutrient and environmental contaminant content of processed items, yet the impacts of preparation on indigenous Arctic MM TFs remain poorly characterized. In order to determine how the various processes involved in preparing beluga blubber TFs affect their levels of nutrients and environmental contaminants, we collected blubber samples from 2 male beluga whales, aged 24 and 37 years, captured during the 2014 summer hunting season in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, and processed them according to local TF preparation methods. We measured the levels of select nutrients [selenium (Se), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)] and contaminants [organochlorine pesticides, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), mercury (Hg)] in raw and prepared (boiled, roasted, aged) beluga blubber TFs. The impacts of beluga blubber TF preparation methods on nutrient and environmental contaminant levels were inconsistent, as the majority of processes either did not appear to influence concentrations or affected the two belugas differently. However, roasting and ageing beluga blubber consistently impacted certain compounds: roasting blubber increased concentrations of hydrophilic substances (Se and certain PFASs) through solvent depletion and deposited PAHs from cookfire smoke. The solid-liquid phase separation involved in ageing blubber depleted hydrophilic elements (Se, Hg) and some ionogenic PFASs from the lipid-rich liquid oil phase, while PUFA levels appeared to increase, and hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants were retained. Ageing blubber adjacent to in-use smokehouses also resulted in considerable PAH deposition to processed samples. Our findings

  13. 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

  14. Contextual imitation of intransitive body actions in a Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas): A “do as other does” study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hernández-Lloreda, Mª Victoria; Esteban, José-Antonio; Colmenares, Fernando; Aboitiz, Francisco; Call, Josep

    2017-01-01

    Cetaceans are remarkable for exhibiting group-specific behavioral traditions or cultures in several behavioral domains (e.g., calls, behavioral tactics), and the question of whether they can be acquired socially, for example through imitative processes, remains open. Here we used a “Do as other does” paradigm to experimentally study the ability of a beluga to imitate familiar intransitive (body-oriented) actions demonstrated by a conspecific. The participant was first trained to copy three familiar behaviors on command (training phase) and then was tested for her ability to generalize the learned “Do as the other does” command to a different set of three familiar behaviors (testing phase). We found that the beluga (1) was capable of learning the copy command signal “Do what-the-other-does”; (2) exhibited high matching accuracy for trained behaviors (mean = 84% of correct performance) after making the first successful copy on command; (3) copied successfully the new set of three familiar generalization behaviors that were untrained to the copy command (range of first copy = 12 to 35 trials); and (4) deployed a high level of matching accuracy (mean = 83%) after making the first copy of an untrained behavior on command. This is the first evidence of contextual imitation of intransitive (body-oriented) movements in the beluga and adds to the reported findings on production imitation of sounds in this species and production imitation of sounds and motor actions in several cetaceans, especially dolphins and killer whales. Collectively these findings highlight the notion that cetaceans have a natural propensity at skillfully and proficiently matching the sounds and body movements demonstrated by conspecifics, a fitness-enhancing propensity in the context of cooperative hunting and anti-predatory defense tactics, and of alliance formation strategies that have been documented in these species’ natural habitats. Future work should determine if the beluga can

  15. Contextual imitation of intransitive body actions in a Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas: A "do as other does" study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    José Z Abramson

    Full Text Available Cetaceans are remarkable for exhibiting group-specific behavioral traditions or cultures in several behavioral domains (e.g., calls, behavioral tactics, and the question of whether they can be acquired socially, for example through imitative processes, remains open. Here we used a "Do as other does" paradigm to experimentally study the ability of a beluga to imitate familiar intransitive (body-oriented actions demonstrated by a conspecific. The participant was first trained to copy three familiar behaviors on command (training phase and then was tested for her ability to generalize the learned "Do as the other does" command to a different set of three familiar behaviors (testing phase. We found that the beluga (1 was capable of learning the copy command signal "Do what-the-other-does"; (2 exhibited high matching accuracy for trained behaviors (mean = 84% of correct performance after making the first successful copy on command; (3 copied successfully the new set of three familiar generalization behaviors that were untrained to the copy command (range of first copy = 12 to 35 trials; and (4 deployed a high level of matching accuracy (mean = 83% after making the first copy of an untrained behavior on command. This is the first evidence of contextual imitation of intransitive (body-oriented movements in the beluga and adds to the reported findings on production imitation of sounds in this species and production imitation of sounds and motor actions in several cetaceans, especially dolphins and killer whales. Collectively these findings highlight the notion that cetaceans have a natural propensity at skillfully and proficiently matching the sounds and body movements demonstrated by conspecifics, a fitness-enhancing propensity in the context of cooperative hunting and anti-predatory defense tactics, and of alliance formation strategies that have been documented in these species' natural habitats. Future work should determine if the beluga can also

  16. Assessment of neurotoxic effects of mercury in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krey, Anke; Ostertag, Sonja K; Chan, Hing Man

    2015-03-15

    Marine mammals are indicator species of the Arctic ecosystem and an integral component of the traditional Inuit diet. The potential neurotoxic effects of increased mercury (Hg) in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are not clear. We assessed the risk of Hg-associated neurotoxicity to these species by comparing their brain Hg concentrations with threshold concentrations for toxic endpoints detected in laboratory animals and field observations: clinical symptoms (>6.75 mg/kg wet weight (ww)), neuropathological signs (>4 mg/kg ww), neurochemical changes (>0.4 mg/kg ww), and neurobehavioral changes (>0.1mg/kg ww). The total Hg (THg) concentrations in the cerebellum and frontal lobe of ringed seals and polar bears were 3mg/kg ww. Our results suggest that brain THg levels in polar bears are below levels that induce neurobehavioral effects as reported in the literature, while THg concentrations in ringed seals are within the range that elicit neurobehavioral effects and individual ringed seals exceed the threshold for neurochemical changes. The relatively high THg concentration in beluga whales exceeds all of the neurotoxicity thresholds assessed. High brain selenium (Se):Hg molar ratios were observed in all three species, suggesting that Se could protect the animals from Hg-associated neurotoxicity. This assessment was limited by several factors that influence neurotoxic effects in animals, including: animal species; form of Hg in the brain; and interactions with modifiers of Hg-associated toxicity, such as Se. Comparing brain Hg concentrations in wildlife with concentrations of appropriate laboratory studies can be used as a tool for risk characterization of the neurotoxic effects of Hg in Arctic marine mammals. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  17. Adults Play but Not Like Their Young: The Frequency and Types of Play by Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) in Human Care

    OpenAIRE

    Heather Hill; Domonique Ramirez

    2014-01-01

    While play occurs in many taxa with younger conspecifics engaging in play behaviors more often than older conspecifics, little empirical research currently exists on play by white whales, or belugas, (Delphinapterus leucas). The purpose of the current study was to explore the types of play exhibited by a group of belugas in human care. Archived video footage representing 24.5 hours of observation time collected over three years for 14 belugas (5 immature and 9 adults) was coded for type, freq...

  18. 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)....

  19. 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.

  20. 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)....

  1. Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas Novel Bubble Helix Play Behavior

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brittany L. Jones

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Cetaceans demonstrate considerable ingenuity in their play with bubbles. Both wild and captive cetaceans have been reported to manipulate self-produced bubbles (Delfour & Aulagnier, 1997; Gewalt, 1989; Kuczaj, Makecha, Trone, Paulos, & Ramos, 2006; Kuczaj & Walker, 2006; McCowan, Marino, Vance, Walke, & Reiss, 2000; Pace, 2000; Paulos, Trone, & Kuczaj, 2010; Tizzi, Castellano, & Pace, 2000. The spread of unique and novel play behaviors across a group may involve social learning as well as trial and error learning (Kuczaj et al., 2006; Kuczaj, Yeater, & Highfill, 2012; McCowan et al., 2000; Pace, 2000. We report on a form of bubble play in belugas (Delphinapterus leucas that has not been previously reported. Four belugas at the Shedd Aquarium were videotaped producing bubble helices, smooth, long “helical tubes” that were created by the animal producing a pressure vortex that caused bubbles to merge and elongate based on pressure variation in the vortex (Marten, Shariff, Psarakos, & White, 1996. These observations revealed that belugas create novel bubble play behaviors that are transmitted among members of the group through social learning. When a beluga engaged in bubble helix play following the play of another beluga, it often acted on the bubble in the same manner as the most recent player, consistent with the notion that the second beluga was mimicking the behavior of the first beluga. Kimalu, a calf, was more likely to both observe and interact with Miki, his older brother, during bubble helix play bouts than with Naya (no relation, or Mauyak, his mother. Dolphin calves have also been found to be more likely to imitate the play behaviors of older more competent peers (Kuczaj et al., 2006; Kuczaj et al., 2012. Consistent with previous analyses of cetacean play (Kuczaj et al., 2006, belugas also varied the complexity of the play behavior in order to keep the game stimulating.

  2. Beluga whale summer habitat associations in the Nelson River estuary, western Hudson Bay, Canada.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander J Smith

    Full Text Available To understand beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas estuarine use in the Nelson River estuary, southwest Hudson Bay, we recorded and examined beluga movements and habitat associations for the July through August period in 2002-2005. We compared locations of belugas fitted with satellite transmitters ("tags" (2002-2005 and aerial-surveyed (2003 and 2005 belugas for years of differing freshwater flow from the Nelson River which is influenced by hydroelectric activity. Using the beluga telemetry location data, we estimated an early August behavioral shift in beluga distribution patterns from local estuarine use to a progressively more migratory behavior away from the estuary. The timing of this shift in behavior was also apparent in results of beluga aerial surveys from the 1940s-1960s, despite environmental changes including later freeze-up and warming ocean temperatures. Overall, during the higher than average discharge ("wet" year of 2005, the three tagged belugas ranged farther from the Nelson River but not farther from the nearest shore along southwestern Hudson Bay, compared to the 10 tagged belugas tracked during the "dry" years of 2002-2004 with below average discharges. Aerial survey data for 2003 and 2005 display a similar dry vs. wet year shift in spatial patterns, with no significant change in overall density of belugas within the study area. In the Nelson estuary, proximity to the fresh-salt water mixing area may be more important than the shallow waters of the upper estuary. Killer whales (Orcinus orca were observed in the Churchill area (200 km northwest during each year of study, 2002-05, and belugas may benefit from the proximity to shallow estuary waters that provide protection from the larger-bodied predator. Study results contribute to an understanding of the influence of environmental variation on how and why belugas use estuaries although considerable uncertainties exist and additional research is required.

  3. De novo transcriptome assembly and RNA-Seq expression analysis in blood from beluga whales of Bristol Bay, AK.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morey, Jeanine S; Burek Huntington, Kathy A; Campbell, Michelle; Clauss, Tonya M; Goertz, Caroline E; Hobbs, Roderick C; Lunardi, Denise; Moors, Amanda J; Neely, Marion G; Schwacke, Lori H; Van Dolah, Frances M

    2017-10-01

    Assessing the health of marine mammal sentinel species is crucial to understanding the impacts of environmental perturbations on marine ecosystems and human health. In Arctic regions, beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, are upper level predators that may serve as a sentinel species, potentially forecasting impacts on human health. While gene expression profiling from blood transcriptomes has widely been used to assess health status and environmental exposures in human and veterinary medicine, its use in wildlife has been limited due to the lack of available genomes and baseline data. To this end we constructed the first beluga whale blood transcriptome de novo from samples collected during annual health assessments of the healthy Bristol Bay, AK stock during 2012-2014 to establish baseline information on the content and variation of the beluga whale blood transcriptome. The Trinity transcriptome assembly from beluga was comprised of 91,325 transcripts that represented a wide array of cellular functions and processes and was extremely similar in content to the blood transcriptome of another cetacean, the bottlenose dolphin. Expression of hemoglobin transcripts was much lower in beluga (25.6% of TPM, transcripts per million) than has been observed in many other mammals. A T12A amino acid substitution in the HBB sequence of beluga whales, but not bottlenose dolphins, was identified and may play a role in low temperature adaptation. The beluga blood transcriptome was extremely stable between sex and year, with no apparent clustering of samples by principle components analysis and impacts of season, sexual maturity, disease, and geography on the beluga blood transcriptome must be established, the presence of transcripts involved in stress, detoxification, and immune functions indicate that blood gene expression analyses may provide information on health status and exposure. This study provides a wealth of transcriptomic data on beluga whales and provides a sizeable

  4. Temporal trends of PBDEs and emerging flame retardants in belugas from the St. Lawrence Estuary (Canada) and comparisons with minke whales and Canadian Arctic belugas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simond, Antoine E; Houde, Magali; Lesage, Véronique; Verreault, Jonathan

    2017-07-01

    An exponential level increase of the ubiquitous halogenated flame retardant (HFR) class polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) has been documented during the 1990s in endangered belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE), Eastern Canada. The recent worldwide bans and regulations of PBDE mixtures led to their replacement by alternative HFRs (so-called emerging HFRs) that are increasingly being reported in various environmental compartments. There are, however, limited knowledge on the spatial and temporal trends of PBDEs and emerging HFRs in cetaceans, especially after restrictions on PBDE usage. The first objective of this study was to investigate the occurrence of HFRs (35 PBDE congeners and 13 emerging compounds) in the blubber of belugas and minke whales (Balænoptera acutorostrata) found dead in the Estuary or Gulf of St. Lawrence as well as belugas from Nunavik (Canadian Arctic) collected as part of the Inuit subsistence hunt. A second objective was to investigate the trends of HFR concentrations in SLE beluga males between 1997 and 2013. PBDEs were the most abundant HFRs in all three whale populations, while hexabromobenzene (HBB), Chlordene Plus (CPlus), Dechlorane Plus (DP), and Dechlorane 604 Component B (Dec-604 CB) were quantified in the majority of blubber samples. Overall, concentrations of emerging HFRs were notably greater in SLE belugas compared to the two other whale populations, with the exception of DP and Dec-604 CB that were found in greater concentrations in Canadian Arctic belugas. No significant trend in blubber PBDE concentrations was found in SLE belugas during this 17-year period. This suggests that global PBDE regulations are too recent to observe changes in PBDE concentrations in belugas from this highly HFR-exposed environment. In contrast, concentrations of HBB and CPlus in SLE belugas decreased slightly from 1997 to 2013, while DP increased up until 2000 and decreased slightly thereafter. The occurrence and

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donna D W Hauser

    Full Text Available 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 results

  7. Body Growth and Rapid Hematological Development Support Breath Hold of Baby Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) during Subice Transit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Noren, Shawn R; Poll, Caryn P; Edwards, Matthew S

    Body size and oxygen stores in the blood and muscle set breath-hold limits in marine mammals, yet these characteristics are understudied in immature cetaceans. We examined body mass and hematology from birth through adulthood in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). At birth, body mass was 8% and 6% of the maximum mass recorded for adult females and males, respectively. Body mass then increased rapidly, approaching an asymptote around 12 yr for females and 18 yr for males. Interestingly, red blood cell counts, hemoglobin content, and hematocrit levels decreased after birth; this neonatal anemia was reversed as levels increased after 2 mo postpartum. Mature levels were obtained at approximately 8, 9, and 11 mo postpartum, respectively. Neonatal mean corpuscular hemoglobin also increased with ontogeny; mature levels were achieved by approximately 13 mo after birth. In contrast, mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration demonstrated a significant but subtle increase throughout ontogeny. Our results indicate that postnatal maturation was required and that maturation occurred far earlier than the age at weaning (i.e., 2-3 yr postpartum). This is atypical of marine mammals, which generally achieve mature hemoglobin levels at weaning. Hematological maturation before maternal independence undoubtedly supports the prolonged breath holds of young belugas transiting under sea ice. This assessment enhances our knowledge of cetacean physiology and provides important inputs for determining age-specific dive capacity, yielding insights into age-specific flexibility to alter underwater behaviors, as will be required for future regime shifts and disturbances.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 (pstress, 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.

  11. AFSC/REFM: Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey 2013

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The purpose of this project was to collect data to understand the publics preferences for protecting the Cook Inlet beluga whale (CIBW), a distinct population...

  12. Testosterone and progesterone concentrations in blow samples are biologically relevant in belugas (Delphinapterus leucas).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard, Justin T; Robeck, Todd R; Osborn, Steven D; Naples, Lisa; McDermott, Alexa; LaForge, Robert; Romano, Tracy A; Sartini, Becky L

    2017-05-15

    Steroid hormone analysis in blow (respiratory vapor) may provide a minimally invasive way to assess the reproductive status of wild cetaceans. Biological validation of the method is needed to allow for the interpretation of hormone measurements in blow samples. Utilizing samples collected from trained belugas (Delphinapterus leucas, n=20), enzyme immunoassays for testosterone and progesterone were validated for use with beluga blow samples. Testosterone concentrations in 40 matched blood and blow samples collected from 4 male belugas demonstrated a positive correlation (R 2 =0.52, pTestosterone concentrations (mean±SD) in blow samples collected from adult males (119.3±14.2pg/ml) were higher (ptestosterone concentrations in blow demonstrated a seasonal pattern of secretion, with peak secretion occurring during the breeding season (February-April, 136.95±33.8pg/ml). Progesterone concentrations in blow varied by reproductive status; pregnant females (410.6±87.8pg/ml) and females in the luteal phase of the estrous cycle (339.5±51.0pg/ml) had higher (ptestosterone or progesterone in belugas. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. 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

    2017-06-01

    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

  14. Pure tone audiograms and possible aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss in belugas (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finneran, James J.; Carder, Donald A.; Dear, Randall; Belting, Traci; McBain, Jim; Dalton, Les; Ridgway, Sam H.

    2005-06-01

    A behavioral response paradigm was used to measure pure-tone hearing sensitivities in two belugas (Delphinapterus leucas). Tests were conducted over a 20-month period at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, in Tacoma, WA. Subjects were two males, aged 8-10 and 9-11 during the course of the study. Subjects were born in an oceanarium and had been housed together for all of their lives. Hearing thresholds were measured using a modified up/down staircase procedure and acoustic response paradigm where subjects were trained to produce audible responses to test tones and to remain quiet otherwise. Test frequencies ranged from approximately 2 to 130 kHz. Best sensitivities ranged from approximately 40 to 50 dB re 1 μPa at 50-80 kHz and 30-35 kHz for the two subjects. Although both subjects possessed traditional ``U-shaped'' mammalian audiograms, one subject exhibited significant high-frequency hearing loss above 37 kHz compared to previously published data for belugas. Hearing loss in this subject was estimated to approach 90 dB for frequencies above 50 kHz. Similar ages, ancestry, and environmental conditions between subjects, but a history of ototoxic drug administration in only one subject, suggest that the observed hearing loss was a result of the aminoglycoside antibiotic amikacin. .

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Worthington, Monty [ORPC Alaska, LLC, Anchorage, AK (United States)

    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. Visual laterality in belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) when viewing familiar and unfamiliar humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yeater, Deirdre B; Hill, Heather M; Baus, Natalie; Farnell, Heather; Kuczaj, Stan A

    2014-11-01

    Lateralization of cognitive processes and motor functions has been demonstrated in a number of species, including humans, elephants, and cetaceans. For example, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have exhibited preferential eye use during a variety of cognitive tasks. The present study investigated the possibility of visual lateralization in 12 belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and six Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) located at two separate marine mammal facilities. During free swim periods, the belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins were presented a familiar human, an unfamiliar human, or no human during 10-15 min sessions. Session videos were coded for gaze duration, eye presentation at approach, and eye preference while viewing each stimulus. Although we did not find any clear group level lateralization, we found individual left eye lateralized preferences related to social stimuli for most belugas and some Pacific white-sided dolphins. Differences in gaze durations were also observed. The majority of individual belugas had longer gaze durations for unfamiliar rather than familiar stimuli. These results suggest that lateralization occurs during visual processing of human stimuli in belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins and that these species can distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar humans.

  17. 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...

  18. Comparative hepatic in vitro depletion and metabolite formation of major perfluorooctane sulfonate precursors in Arctic polar bear, beluga whale, and ringed seal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Letcher, Robert J; Chu, Shaogang; McKinney, Melissa A; Tomy, Gregg T; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune

    2014-10-01

    Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been reported to be among the most concentrated persistent organic pollutants in Arctic marine wildlife. The present study examined the in vitro depletion of major PFOS precursors, N-ethyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamide (N-EtFOSA) and perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA), as well as metabolite formation using an assay based on enzymatically viable liver microsomes for three top Arctic marine mammalian predators, polar bear (Ursus maritimus), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), and ringed seal (Pusa hispida), and in laboratory rat (Rattus rattus) serving as a general mammalian model and positive control. Rat assays showed that N-EtFOSA (38 nM or 150 ng mL(-1)) to FOSA metabolism was >90% complete after 10 min, and at a rate of 23 pmol min(-1) mg(-1) protein. Examining all species in a full 90 min incubation assay, there was >95% N-EtFOSA depletion for the rat active control and polar bear microsomes, ∼65% for ringed seals, and negligible depletion of N-EtFOSA for beluga whale. Concomitantly, the corresponding in vitro formation of FOSA from N-EtFOSA was also quantitatively rat≈polar bear>ringed seal>beluga whale. A lack of enzymatic ability and/or a rate too slow to be detected likely explains the lack of N-EtFOSA to FOSA transformation for beluga whale. In the same assays, the depletion of the FOSA metabolite was insignificant (p>0.01) and with no concomitant formation of PFOS metabolite. This suggests that, in part, a source of FOSA is the biotransformation of accumulated N-EtFOSA in free-ranging Arctic ringed seal and polar bear. Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 76 FR 20179 - Endangered and Threatened Species: Designation of Critical Habitat for Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-11

    ... Knowledge of Alaska Natives (TEK), scientific papers and other research, the biology and ecology of the Cook... movement of beluga whales among critical habitat sites. A project, such as a dam, could potentially isolate parts of the whales' critical habitat and prevent movement among the sites. In evaluating the effects of...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. A threatened beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) population in the traffic lane: vessel-generated noise characteristics of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McQuinn, Ian H; Lesage, Véronique; Carrier, Dominic; Larrivée, Geneviève; Samson, Yves; Chartrand, Sylvain; Michaud, Robert; Theriault, James

    2011-12-01

    The threatened resident beluga population of the St. Lawrence Estuary shares the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park with significant anthropogenic noise sources, including marine commercial traffic and a well-established, vessel-based whale-watching industry. Frequency-dependent (FD) weighting was used to approximate beluga hearing sensitivity to determine how noise exposure varied in time and space at six sites of high beluga summer residency. The relative contribution of each source to acoustic habitat degradation was estimated by measuring noise levels throughout the summer and noise signatures of typical vessel classes with respect to traffic volume and sound propagation characteristics. Rigid-hulled inflatable boats were the dominant noise source with respect to estimated beluga hearing sensitivity in the studied habitats due to their high occurrence and proximity, high correlation with site-specific FD-weighted sound levels, and the dominance of mid-frequencies (0.3-23 kHz) in their noise signatures. Median C-weighted sound pressure level (SPL(RMS)) had a range of 19 dB re 1 μPa between the noisiest and quietest sites. Broadband SPL(RMS) exceeded 120 dB re 1 μPa 8-32% of the time depending on the site. Impacts of these noise levels on St. Lawrence beluga will depend on exposure recurrence and individual responsiveness. © 2011 Acoustical Society of America

  4. Immune competence of rats fed with beluga whale blubber from the contaminated St. Lawrence estuary

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brousseau, P.; Lapierre, P.; Guise, S. De; Beland, P.; Martineau, D.; Fournier, M. [Univ. of Quebec, Montreal, Quebec (Canada)

    1995-12-31

    Over the last decades, high concentrations of environmental contaminants such as PCBs have been measured in the tissues of many species of marine mammals from different parts of the world. Even though many deleterious effects of these compounds have been reported in laboratory animals, the overall risk associated with these contaminants in wild animals is still not clearly understood. However, necropsy of St. Lawrence belugas showed numerous severe and disseminated infections with rather mildly pathogenic bacteria. Moreover, 37% of all the tumors reported in cetaceans were observed in St. Lawrence beluga whales. Indeed, both observations suggest immunosuppression. The aim of the study was to determine if contaminants present in fat tissues of belugas might provoke deleterious effect to their immune system if, under some circumstances, they are released into the circulation. To assess their immunotoxic potential, rats were fed for two months on a diet in which the lipids originated from the blubber of either highly polluted St. Lawrence belugas or relatively uncontaminated arctic belugas. Then, multiple immune responses were monitored. Those include phagocytosis, plaque forming cells, oxidative burst, natural killer cells, immunophenotyping and mitogenic assay. The results obtained show that only the humoral response of rats was impaired by the treatment. By combining all this information, the authors propose possible mechanisms of action to explain potential long-term consequences of environmental pollution.

  5. 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

  6. Pure-tone audiograms and hearing loss in the white whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Finneran, James J.; Carder, Donald A.; Dear, Randall; Belting, Traci; Ridgway, Sam H.

    2003-10-01

    A behavioral response paradigm was used to measure pure-tone audiograms for two white whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Tests were conducted over a 20 month period at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, in Tacoma, Washington. Subjects consisted of two males, aged 8-10 and 9-11 during the course of the study. Subjects were born in an oceanarium and had been housed together for all of their lives. Hearing thresholds were measured using a modified up/down staircase procedure and acoustic response paradigm where subjects were trained to whistle in response to hearing test tones and to remain quiet otherwise. Test frequencies ranged from approximately 2 to 130 kHz. Best sensitivities ranged from 40 to 50 dB re: 1 Pa. Both subjects had traditional U-shaped mammalian audiograms; however, one subject exhibited significant high-frequency hearing loss, above approximately 37 kHz. The experimental setup and procedure will be presented and the measured hearing thresholds compared to those previously measured in white whales. The potential role of ototoxic antibiotics in the observed hearing loss will be discussed. [Work supported by ONR Marine Mammal S&T Program and the U.S. Navy CNO(N45).

  7. Changes in mercury and cadmium concentrations and the feeding behaviour of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) near Somerset Island, Canada, during the 20th century

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Outridge, P.M.; Hobson, K.A.; Savelle, J.M.

    2005-01-01

    Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) continues to be an important food species for Arctic communities, despite concerns about its high mercury (Hg) content. We investigated whether Hg and cadmium (Cd) concentrations had changed during the 20th century in beluga near Somerset Island in the central Canadian Arctic, using well-preserved teeth collected from historical sites (dating to the late 19th century and 1926-1947) and during subsistence hunts in the late 1990s. Mercury concentrations in both historical and modern teeth were correlated with animal age, but 1990s beluga exhibited a significantly more rapid accumulation with age than late 19th century animals, indicating that Hg concentrations or bioavailability in their food chain had increased during the last century. The geometric mean tooth Hg concentration in modern 30 year old animals was 7.7 times higher than in the late 19th century, which corresponds to threefold higher concentrations in muktuk and muscle. Teeth from 1926 to 1947 were similar in Hg content to the late 19th century, suggesting that the increase had occurred sometime after the 1940s. In contrast, tooth Cd was not correlated with animal age and decreased during the last 100 years, indicating that anthropogenic Cd was negligible in this population. Late 19th century beluga displayed a greater range of prey selection (tooth δ 15 N values: 15.6-20.5%o) than modern animals (δ 15 N: 17.2-21.1%o). To prevent this difference from confounding the temporal Hg comparison, the Hg-age relationships discussed above were based on historical animals, which overlapped isotopically with the modern group. Tooth δ 13 C also changed to isotopically more depleted values in modern animals, with the most likely explanation being a significant shift to more pelagic-based feeding. Industrial Hg pollution is a plausible explanation for the recent Hg increase. However, without further investigation of the relationship between the range exploitation of modern beluga and

  8. Long-term changes of mercury levels in ringed seal (Phoca hispida) from Amundsen Gulf, and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) from the Beaufort Sea, western Canadian Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Outridge, P.M., E-mail: outridge@nrcan.gc.ca [Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Canada K1A 0E8 (Canada); Hobson, K.A. [Environment Canada, 11 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon, Canada S7N 3H5 (Canada); Savelle, J. [Department of Anthropology, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, Canada H3A 2T7 (Canada)

    2009-11-15

    Mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in the canine teeth of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) harvested during the 13th-14th, late 19th and early 21st Centuries in Amundsen Gulf, Northwest Territories, Canada. Most historical and pre-industrial teeth contained undetectable Hg levels (i.e. < 1.0 ng/g DW), whereas samples from 2001-03 contained up to 12 ng/g DW in an age-dependent pattern. Assuming a median [Hg] value in 13th-14th Century teeth of half the detection limit (i.e. 0.5 ng/g DW), geometric means of Hg in modern teeth were 9-17 times those of seals in the 14th Century, equivalent to an anthropogenic input of 89-94% of total Hg in modern seals. These results corroborate a previous study of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) in the nearby Beaufort Sea. While the seals' trophic position (inferred from {delta}{sup 15}N values) did not change over time, modern {delta}{sup 13}C values were lower by about 2 per mille than in the 14th and 19th Centuries. This could be due to increased dissolution of anthropogenically derived CO{sub 2} in the ocean from the atmosphere, but could also indicate more offshore pelagic feeding by modern seals, which might be a factor in their Hg exposure. New tooth [Hg] data are also presented for the Beaufort Sea beluga, using recently-discovered museum samples collected in 1960/61, which showed that most of the anthropogenic contribution to beluga Hg had already taken effect by 1960 (reaching {approx} 75% of total Hg). Taken together, the long-term seal and beluga data indicate that whereas Hg levels in the marine ecosystems of the western Canadian Arctic were probably unchanged from pre-industrial times up to the late 19th Century, there was a significant, many-fold increase in the early to mid-20th Century, but little or no change after about the early 1960s.

  9. 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...

  10. Long-term changes of mercury levels in ringed seal (Phoca hispida) from Amundsen Gulf, and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) from the Beaufort Sea, western Canadian Arctic

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Outridge, P.M.; Hobson, K.A.; Savelle, J.

    2009-01-01

    Mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in the canine teeth of ringed seals (Phoca hispida) harvested during the 13th-14th, late 19th and early 21st Centuries in Amundsen Gulf, Northwest Territories, Canada. Most historical and pre-industrial teeth contained undetectable Hg levels (i.e. 15 N values) did not change over time, modern δ 13 C values were lower by about 2 per mille than in the 14th and 19th Centuries. This could be due to increased dissolution of anthropogenically derived CO 2 in the ocean from the atmosphere, but could also indicate more offshore pelagic feeding by modern seals, which might be a factor in their Hg exposure. New tooth [Hg] data are also presented for the Beaufort Sea beluga, using recently-discovered museum samples collected in 1960/61, which showed that most of the anthropogenic contribution to beluga Hg had already taken effect by 1960 (reaching ∼ 75% of total Hg). Taken together, the long-term seal and beluga data indicate that whereas Hg levels in the marine ecosystems of the western Canadian Arctic were probably unchanged from pre-industrial times up to the late 19th Century, there was a significant, many-fold increase in the early to mid-20th Century, but little or no change after about the early 1960s.

  11. Characterization of the estrous cycle in female beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) using urinary endocrine monitoring and transabdominal ultrasound: Evidence of facultative induced ovulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinman, K J; O'Brien, J K; Monfort, S L; Robeck, T R

    2012-02-01

    Recent, successful application of assisted reproductive technologies in captive beluga has resulted from the extensive study of male beluga reproductive biology. Optimization of assisted reproduction requires additional detailed knowledge of the female estrous cycle. Our specific objectives were to: (1) validate urinary immunoassays for use in this species; (2) elucidate annual ovarian cycle dynamics through the combined use of hormone excretion patterns and transabdominal ultrasound; and (3) establish whether ovulation in this species is spontaneous or induced by male factors. Ovulation was observed in four of 15 estrous cycles monitored in four adult female beluga maintained in a single-sex group. After introduction of a breeding male, ovulation was observed in six of seven estrous cycles. All estrous cycles occurred from March through June. For spontaneous ovulations (n=4), the inter-estrous interval was 34d (range 33-35d), with a follicular phase length (FPL) of 25±8d (mean±SD). For all ovulatory estrous cycles (with and without a breeding male), urinary estrogen conjugates (EC, 15.3±7.9ng/mg Cr) and ovulatory luteinizing hormone (ovLH, 17.1±6.6ng/mg Cr) concentrations both peaked on Day 0, and EC concentrations returned to baseline 8±7d later. For non-conceptive cycles, urinary progestagen (Pg) concentrations increased on Day 0 (3.5±1.7ng/mg Cr), peaked on Day+19 (19.7±17.1ng/mg Cr), and were elevated above baseline for 27±4d. Preovulatory follicular diameter and circumference on Day -2±2 (range: Day -4 to -1) from peak EC were 2.5±0.7 and 7.8±1.3cm, respectively. The FPL in non-ovulatory estrous cycles (n=11) lasted 24±10d and EC concentrations gradually declined to baseline over a 21±10d interval following the EC peak (27.8±28.8ng/mg Cr). Non-ovulatory estrous cycles were characterized by the absence of an ovLH surge and no concomitant increase in Pg concentrations above baseline excretion; the mean follicular diameter at or near peak EC was 3

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. Measurements of cesium in Arctic beluga and caribou before and after the Fukushima accident of 2011.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stocki, T J; Gamberg, M; Loseto, L; Pellerin, E; Bergman, L; Mercier, J-F; Genovesi, L; Cooke, M; Todd, B; Sandles, D; Whyte, J; Wang, X

    2016-10-01

    Concern from northern communities following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident of March 2011 has prompted a reassessment of the safety of their traditional foods with respect to radioactivity levels. To this end, a study was conducted to measure the levels of radionuclides in Arctic caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). The main radionuclide of concern is cesium-137, which is easily transferred through the lichen-caribou food chain. Previous studies have been conducted 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 nuclear accident in 1986. In this study, samples of lichens, mushrooms, caribou, beluga and beluga prey collected before and after the Fukushima accident were analyzed for radioactivity levels. Samples were processed and measured using gamma ray spectroscopy to identify the radionuclides present and determine the radioactivity concentration. Both calibration standards and Monte Carlo simulations were used to determine the efficiency of the detectors for the samples, taking into account differences in individual sample sizes as well as matrices. In particular, a careful analysis of the atomic composition of lichens and mushrooms was performed to ensure the efficiencies for these sample types were correct. A comparison of the concentrations from before and after the accident indicated that there was no increase in radioactivity as a result of the atmospheric plume from the Fukushima accident. Some cesium-137, likely attributable to fallout from atmospheric weapons testing of the 1950s and 1960s (since there was no cesium-134 measured in the samples), was measured in the post Fukushima caribou and beluga whale samples; however, this amount was determined to be insignificant for any radiological concern (9.1 ± 1.8 and 0.63 ± 0.23 Bq kg -1  ww respectively

  16. Baseline Hearing Measurements in Alaskan Belugas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    DE, Kiehl K, Pennington S, Wong S, Henry KR (1999) Killer whale (Orcinus orca) hearing: Auditory brainstem response and behavioral audiograms. J...Supin AY (2005) Behavioral and auditory evoked potential audiograms of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens). J Acoust Soc Am 118:2688-2695...documented in older bottlenose dolphins and suggested in a false killer whale ; hearing loss has also been related to antibiotic treatment in belugas

  17. 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,...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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,...

  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. Distant drivers or local signals: where do mercury trends in western Arctic belugas originate?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Loseto, L L; Stern, G A; Macdonald, R W

    2015-03-15

    Temporal trends of contaminants are monitored in Arctic higher trophic level species to inform us on the fate, transport and risk of contaminants as well as advise on global emissions. However, monitoring mercury (Hg) trends in species such as belugas challenge us, as their tissue concentrations reflect complex interactions among Hg deposition and methylation, whale physiology, dietary exposure and foraging patterns. The Beaufort Sea beluga population showed significant increases in Hg during the 1990 s; since that time an additional 10 years of data have been collected. During this time of data collection, changes in the Arctic have affected many processes that underlie the Hg cycle. Here, we examine Hg in beluga tissues and investigate factors that could contribute to the observed trends after removing the effect of age and size on Hg concentrations and dietary factors. Finally, we examine available indicators of climate variability (Arctic Oscillation (AO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and sea-ice minimum (SIM) concentration) to evaluate their potential to explain beluga Hg trends. Results reveal a decline in Hg concentrations from 2002 to 2012 in the liver of older whales and the muscle of large whales. The temporal increases in Hg in the 1990 s followed by recent declines do not follow trends in Hg emission, and are not easily explained by diet markers highlighting the complexity of feeding, food web dynamics and Hg uptake. Among the regional-scale climate variables the PDO exhibited the most significant relationship with beluga Hg at an eight year lag time. This distant signal points us to consider beluga winter feeding areas. Given that changes in climate will impact ecosystems; it is plausible that these climate variables are important in explaining beluga Hg trends. Such relationships require further investigation of the multiple connections between climate variables and beluga Hg. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Quota disputes and subsistence whaling in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tejsner, Pelle

    2014-01-01

    In Qeqertarsuaq (Disco Island), northwest Greenland, local disputes about the allocation of annual whaling quotas for beluga and narwhals feature as a source of conflict between state-imposed categories of occupational and non-occupational hunters. The national authorities’ co-management regime...

  4. Book review: Unveiling the Whale: Discourses on Whales and Whaling

    Science.gov (United States)

    John Schelhas

    2012-01-01

    Whaling represents one of the most internationally controversial and highly polarized environmental issues of recent times. Arne Kalland, in Unveiling the Whale: Discourses on Whales and Whaling, examines the whaling issue from the perspective of a pro-whaling country with an emphasis on analysis of discourse in international arenas, primarily the International Whaling...

  5. Killer whales and whaling: the scavenging hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal; Reeves, Randall

    2005-12-22

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) frequently scavenged from the carcasses produced by whalers. This practice became especially prominent with large-scale mechanical whaling in the twentieth century, which provided temporally and spatially clustered floating carcasses associated with loud acoustic signals. The carcasses were often of species of large whale preferred by killer whales but that normally sink beyond their diving range. In the middle years of the twentieth century floating whaled carcasses were much more abundant than those resulting from natural mortality of whales, and we propose that scavenging killer whales multiplied through diet shifts and reproduction. During the 1970s the numbers of available carcasses fell dramatically with the cessation of most whaling (in contrast to a reasonably stable abundance of living whales), and the scavenging killer whales needed an alternative source of nutrition. Diet shifts may have triggered declines in other prey species, potentially affecting ecosystems, as well as increasing direct predation on living whales.

  6. Whales before whaling in the North Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roman, Joe; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2003-07-25

    It is well known that hunting dramatically reduced all baleen whale populations, yet reliable estimates of former whale abundances are elusive. Based on coalescent models for mitochondrial DNA sequence variation, the genetic diversity of North Atlantic whales suggests population sizes of approximately 240,000 humpback, 360,000 fin, and 265,000 minke whales. Estimates for fin and humpback whales are far greater than those previously calculated for prewhaling populations and 6 to 20 times higher than present-day population estimates. Such discrepancies suggest the need for a quantitative reevaluation of historical whale populations and a fundamental revision in our conception of the natural state of the oceans.

  7. Estimating the Impact of Whaling on Global Whale Watching

    OpenAIRE

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

    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...

  8. 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...

  9. Characterization of unconventional gas play in the lower Beluga

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gorney, David [Marathon Oil Company (United States); Jetubu, Segun; Li, Weidong; Del Cairo, Rolando; Woods, James; Manuel, Ela [Baker Hughes (United States)

    2011-07-01

    Since the 1950's, the Cook Inlet basin, situated in Alaska, has been an important oil and gas provider to the state; the Beluga formation, located within the Cook Inlet basin, is an unconventional gas play. NMR measurements have been conducted in the Beluga formation and results were found to differ from the conventional predicted pressure and temperature model. The aim of this paper is to provide insights and results on the use of NMR in unconventional low pressure hydrocarbon formations. Experiments were carried out in the reservoir sands of Ninilchik at depths of 1500 to 3200 feet. Results showed that there is a need for combined petrophysics and petrofacies interpretation and that uncertainty can be lowered using MagTrak NMR data. This paper provided useful information on the use of NMR in unconventional low pressure hydrocarbon formations.

  10. 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

  11. 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)

  12. Molecular characterization of a novel gammaretrovirus in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamere, Sarah A; St Leger, Judy A; Schrenzel, Mark D; Anthony, Simon J; Rideout, Bruce A; Salomon, Daniel R

    2009-12-01

    There are currently no published data documenting the presence of retroviruses in cetaceans, though the occurrences of cancers and immunodeficiency states suggest the potential. We examined tissues from adult killer whales and detected a novel gammaretrovirus by degenerate PCR. Reverse transcription-PCR also demonstrated tissue and serum expression of retroviral mRNA. The full-length sequence of the provirus was obtained by PCR, and a TaqMan-based copy number assay did not demonstrate evidence of productive infection. PCR on blood samples from 11 healthy captive killer whales and tissues from 3 free-ranging animals detected the proviral DNA in all tissues examined from all animals. A survey of multiple cetacean species by PCR for gag, pol, and env sequences showed homologs of this virus in the DNA of eight species of delphinids, pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, and harbor porpoises, but not in beluga or fin whales. Analysis of the bottlenose dolphin genome revealed two full-length proviral sequences with 97.4% and 96.9% nucleotide identity to the killer whale gammaretrovirus. The results of single-cell PCR on killer whale sperm and Southern blotting are also consistent with the conclusion that the provirus is endogenous. We suggest that this gammaretrovirus entered the delphinoid ancestor's genome before the divergence of modern dolphins or that an exogenous variant existed following divergence that was ultimately endogenized. However, the transcriptional activity demonstrated in tissues and the nearly intact viral genome suggest a more recent integration into the killer whale genome, favoring the latter hypothesis. The proposed name for this retrovirus is killer whale endogenous retrovirus.

  13. 77 FR 21540 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-10

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA967 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the...

  14. 75 FR 10223 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-05

    ...: 2010-4684] DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XN25 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National... whales. SUMMARY: NMFS provides notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead...

  15. 76 FR 16388 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-03-23

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA309 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska...

  16. 78 FR 13028 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-26

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC460 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the...

  17. 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 h...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. The Gray whale: Eschrichtius robustus

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Jones, Mary Lou; Leatherwood, Stephen; Swartz, Steven L

    1984-01-01

    .... Section II documents historical aspects of gray whale exploitation and the economic importance of these whales to humans, beginning with aboriginal societies in Asia and North America, and leading...

  1. 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...

  2. 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)

  3. Sperm whale clicks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2000-01-01

    . 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.......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...

  4. 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

  5. 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…

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. Three recent ice entrapments of Arctic cetaceans in West Greenland and the eastern Canadian High Arctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MP Heide-Jørgensen

    2002-07-01

    Full Text Available Three ice entrapments of Monodontids have been reported in the western North Atlantic since 1993. Hunters in Disko Bay, West Greenland, discovered one in March 1994 that included about 150 narwhals (Monodon monoceros. The entrapment occurred during a sudden cold period which caused ice to form rapidly. The trapped whales were subject to hunting, but about 50 of the killed whales could not be retrieved in the ice. The whales were trapped in a small opening in the ice and because of that they would probably have succumbed even if not discovered by hunters. Two entrapments involving white whales or belugas (Delphinapterus leucas occurred in the eastern Canadian Arctic in May 1999; one in Lancaster Sound discovered by polar bear (Ursus maritimus researchers and one in Jones Sound discovered by hunters. The first included one bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus and about 40 belugas that were being preyed upon by polar bears. The second involved at least 170 belugas, of which about 100 were killed by polar bears and 17 were taken by hunters. The entrapments in Disko Bay and Jones Sound both occurred in areas where entrapments have previously been reported, whereas the one in Lancaster Sound was in a new area.

  9. Morphology and ultrastructure of beluga (Huso huso) spermatozoa and a comparison with related sturgeons

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Linhartová, Z.; Rodina, M.; Nebesářová, Jana; Cosson, J.; Pšenička, M.

    2013-01-01

    Roč. 137, 3-4 (2013), s. 220-229 ISSN 0378-4320 Grant - others:GA ČR(CZ) GPP502/10/P426; GAJU(CZ) 046/2010/Z; GA MŠk(CZ) ED2.1.00/01.0024 Program:GP Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : beluga * strugeon * spermatozoon * electron microscopy * acrosome * flagellum Subject RIV: EA - Cell Biology Impact factor: 1.581, year: 2013

  10. Investigation of the Molecular Response in Blood and Skin of Belugas in Response to Stressors

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    kit (Bio-Rad, Hercules, CA). The quantity and quality of total RNA is assessed via spectrophotometry and agarose gel electrophoresis . RNA...on agarose gels to assess their integrity. cDNA sequences are synthesized by using QuantiTect Reverse Transcription Kit (Qiagen). The mRNA...belugas. 2. To utilize archived tissues collected outside the proposed study to validate previously published primers for use in blood and skin from

  11. 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.

  12. A whale of a problem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    While the Makah Indian tribe recently killed a gray whale off the coast of the U.S. state of Washington, and Japan and Norway have threatened to bolt from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) over disagreements about commercial catches, on May 26, the U.S. commissioner to the IWC told delegates about another, and far more widespread, threat affecting cetaceans.Global environmental changes could jeopardize whale stocks throughout the world, said Commissioner James Baker, who also serves as administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  13. 50 CFR 230.8 - Reporting by whaling captains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Reporting by whaling captains. 230.8... ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.8 Reporting by whaling captains. (a) The relevant Native American whaling organization shall require each whaling captain licensed pursuant to § 230...

  14. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Aboriginal subsistence whaling. 230.4... ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.4 Aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) No person shall engage in aboriginal subsistence whaling, except a whaling captain licensed pursuant to...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. Arteriovenous Patterns in Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Objective 1 Costidis, A.M. and Rommel, S.A. (2016a) The Extracranial Arterial System in the Heads of Beaked Whales, with Implications on Diving Physiology ...Beaked Whales, with Implications on Diving Physiology and Pathogenesis (In press: Journal of Morphology). Objective 2 Owing to the preliminary nature...modeling (e.g. diving nitrogen kinetics) research can evolve. To conduct a preliminary histologic examination of tissues associated with the

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-03-13

    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 where navigational safety concerns prevent ships from surveying. Using icebreaker-supported helicopters, we conducted aerial surveys across a gradient of ice conditions to estimate minke whale density in the Weddell Sea. The surveys revealed substantial numbers of whales inside the sea ice. The Antarctic summer sea ice is undergoing rapid regional change in annual extent, distribution, and length of ice-covered season. These trends, along with substantial interannual variability in ice conditions, affect the proportion of whales available to be counted by traditional shipboard surveys. The strong association between whales and the dynamic, changing sea ice requires reexamination of the power to detect trends in whale abundance or predict ecosystem responses to climate change.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-04-01

    ... 19 Customs Duties 1 2010-04-01 2010-04-01 false Whaling. 12.30 Section 12.30 Customs Duties U.S... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation of... Regulation of Whaling signed at Washington under date of December 2, 1946 (Publication No. 3383, Department...

  5. 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

  6. Modelling the past and future of whales and whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott Baker, C; Clapham, Phillip J

    2004-07-01

    Historical reconstruction of the population dynamics of whales before, during and after exploitation is crucial to marine ecological restoration and for the consideration of future commercial whaling. Population dynamic models used by the International Whaling Commission require historical catch records, estimates of intrinsic rates of increase and current abundance, all of which are subject to considerable uncertainty. Population genetic parameters can be used for independent estimates of historical demography, but also have large uncertainty, particularly for rates of mutational substitution and gene flow. At present, demographic and genetic estimates of pre-exploitation abundance differ by an order of magnitude and, consequently, suggest vastly different baselines for judging recovery. Here, we review these two approaches and suggest the need for a synthetic analytical framework to evaluate uncertainty in key parameters. Such a framework could have broad application to modelling both historical and contemporary population dynamics in other exploited species.

  7. What are the toxicological effects of mercury in Arctic biota?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Basu, Niladri; Braune, Birgit; O'Hara, Todd; Letcher, Robert J; Scheuhammer, Tony; Andersen, Magnus; Andreasen, Claus; Andriashek, Dennis; Asmund, Gert; Aubail, Aurore; Baagøe, Hans; Born, Erik W; Chan, Hing M; Derocher, Andrew E; Grandjean, Philippe; Knott, Katrina; Kirkegaard, Maja; Krey, Anke; Lunn, Nick; Messier, Francoise; Obbard, Marty; Olsen, Morten T; Ostertag, Sonja; Peacock, Elizabeth; Renzoni, Aristeo; Rigét, Frank F; Skaare, Janneche Utne; Stern, Gary; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitch; Wiig, Øystein; Wilson, Simon; Aars, Jon

    2013-01-15

    This review critically evaluates the available mercury (Hg) data in Arctic marine biota and the Inuit population against toxicity threshold values. In particular marine top predators exhibit concentrations of mercury in their tissues and organs that are believed to exceed thresholds for biological effects. Species whose concentrations exceed threshold values include the polar bears (Ursus maritimus), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), pilot whale (Globicephala melas), hooded seal (Cystophora cristata), a few seabird species, and landlocked Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Toothed whales appear to be one of the most vulnerable groups, with high concentrations of mercury recorded in brain tissue with associated signs of neurochemical effects. Evidence of increasing concentrations in mercury in some biota in Arctic Canada and Greenland is therefore a concern with respect to ecosystem health. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the relevant...

  9. 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.

  10. Sperm whales and killer whales with the largest brains of all toothed whales show extreme differences in cerebellum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ridgway, Sam H; Hanson, Alicia C

    2014-01-01

    Among cetaceans, killer whales and sperm whales have the widest distribution in the world's oceans. Both species use echolocation, are long-lived, and have the longest periods of gestation among whales. Sperm whales dive much deeper and much longer than killer whales. It has long been thought that sperm whales have the largest brains of all living things, but our brain mass evidence, from published sources and our own specimens, shows that big males of these two species share this distinction. Despite this, we also find that cerebellum size is very different between killer whales and sperm whales. The sperm whale cerebellum is only about 7% of the total brain mass, while the killer whale cerebellum is almost 14%. These results are significant because they contradict claims that the cerebellum scales proportionally with the rest of the brain in all mammals. They also correct the generalization that all cetaceans have enlarged cerebella. We suggest possible reasons for the existence of such a large cerebellar size difference between these two species. Cerebellar function is not fully understood, and comparing the abilities of animals with differently sized cerebella can help uncover functional roles of the cerebellum in humans and animals. Here we show that the large cerebellar difference likely relates to evolutionary history, diving, sensory capability, and ecology. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  11. Report of the workshop on age estimation in beluga: Beaufort, North Carolina, US 5-9 December 2011

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christina Lockyer

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available A workshop convened by C. Lockyer and A. A. Hohn to examine variation among readers in estimating beluga ages was held in Beaufort, North Carolina, US. Terms of Reference for the workshop included the following: 1.  Provide a guide as to acceptable levels of accuracy and precision for age reading that will enable ages to be used in population models. 2.  Conduct an inter-reader/laboratory comparison for calibration and standardization of age readings from GLG counts among all readers/laboratories. 3.  Provide information on validation that will enable GLG counts to be translated to real age. 4.  Produce a manual of guidelines for the preparation and reading of GLGs in beluga teeth. Presentations by participants are abstracted here. Then we report on the processes used to compare sections, images, and interpretation, and generate guidelines for best practices in beluga age estimation. A comparative study quantified differences among readers and found that precision of experienced readers was good, higher than reported for other odontocetes. Participants agreed that counting GLGs using well prepared thin sections was preferred because they are simpler to prepare than stained sections and there was more agreement among readers compared to using half sections. Examination of teeth from captive beluga as both untreated sections and stained sections and did not clarify the reading of wild beluga teeth. This Workshop concurred with Workshop 1 (Tampa 26-27 November 2011 that interpreting one GLG as an annual record is irrefutable. Guidelines for best practices were developed.

  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. Ancient DNA analysis of northeast Pacific humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    OpenAIRE

    Arndt, Ursula Maria

    2011-01-01

    The main goal of this ancient DNA-based study was to analyze archaeological whale skeletal remains from the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia to investigate population genetic diversities of humpback whales pre-dating industrial whaling. This study also examined whale hunting practices of early indigenous people by revealing potential species selections. Nuu-chah-nulth people are believed to have hunted whales for millennia and numerous whale bones have been recovered from arch...

  14. Characterization of 25 microsatellite loci in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huebinger, Ryan M; Patton, John C; George, J Craig; Suydam, Robert; Louis, Edward E; Bickham, John W

    2008-05-01

    Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) experienced a severe demographic population bottleneck caused by commercial whaling that ceased in 1914. Aboriginal subsistence whale harvests have continued and are managed by the International Whaling Commission. In an effort to provide management advice for bowhead whales, 25 microsatellite loci were isolated from genomic DNA libraries. This panel of markers will be utilized to analyse stock structure hypotheses of current bowhead whale populations. © 2007 The Authors.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Sivle, Lise D; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Fahlman, Andreas; Lam, Frans Peter; Tyack, Peter Lloyd; Miller, Patrick

    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 (2...

  16. Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Predation on Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon spp.) in the Bremer Sub-Basin, Western Australia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wellard, Rebecca; Lightbody, Keith; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle; Riggs, David; Erbe, Christine

    2016-01-01

    Observations of killer whales (Orcinus orca) feeding on the remains of beaked whales have been previously documented; however, to date, there has been no published account of killer whales actively preying upon beaked whales. This article describes the first field observations of killer whales interacting with, hunting and preying upon beaked whales (Mesoplodon spp.) on four separate occasions during 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Bremer Sub-Basin, off the south coast of Western Australia.

  17. Killer Whale (Orcinus orca Predation on Beaked Whales (Mesoplodon spp. in the Bremer Sub-Basin, Western Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca Wellard

    Full Text Available Observations of killer whales (Orcinus orca feeding on the remains of beaked whales have been previously documented; however, to date, there has been no published account of killer whales actively preying upon beaked whales. This article describes the first field observations of killer whales interacting with, hunting and preying upon beaked whales (Mesoplodon spp. on four separate occasions during 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Bremer Sub-Basin, off the south coast of Western Australia.

  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. 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.

  20. British whaling policy in the 1970s

    OpenAIRE

    Sanada, Yasuhiro

    2009-01-01

    The United Kingdom conducted pelagic whaling in the Antarctic Ocean until the mid-1960s and took a moderate position in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) after its establishment in 1946. The UK’s stance changed in 1972, when the government supported a 10-year moratorium on commercial whaling at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment as well as the IWC. The UK has consistently backed moratorium motions since 1972 and is now a leading anti-whaling nation, insisting that...

  1. Studying Fin Whales with Seafloor Seismic Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcock, W. S.; Soule, D. C.; Weirathmueller, M.; Thomson, R.

    2011-12-01

    Baleen whales are found throughout the world's oceans and their welfare captivates the general public. Depending on the species, baleen whales vocalize at frequencies ranging from ~10 Hz to several kilohertz. Passive acoustic studies of whale calls are used to investigate behavior and habitat usage, monitor the recovery of populations from whaling and assess the impacts of anthropogenic sounds. Since airguns are a significant source of sound in the oceans, the research goals of academic seismologists can lead to conflicts with those who advocate for whale conservation while being unwilling to consider the societal benefits of marine geophysical studies. In contrast, studies that monitor earthquakes with ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) provide an opportunity to enhance studies of baleen whales and improve relationships with environmental advocates. The bandwidth of the typical high-frequency or intermediate-band ocean bottom seismometer overlaps the call frequency of the two largest baleen whale species; blue whales generate sequences of 10- to 20-s-long calls centered at ~16 Hz and fin whales produce long sequences of downswept 1-s-long chirps centered at ~20 Hz. Several studies have demonstrated the potential of OBS networks to monitor calling patterns and determine tracks for fin and blue whales. We will summarize the results from a study to track fin whales near the Endeavour hydrothermal vent fields on the Juan de Fuca Ridge and investigate a potential correlation between the density of whales and enhanced zooplankton found throughout the water column overlying the vent fields. From 2003-2006 an 8-station local seismic network that was designed to monitor hydrothermal earthquakes also recorded ~300,000 fin whale vocalizations, mostly in the fall and winter. Automatic picking and localization techniques that are analogous to those used to analyze earthquakes are employed to determine whale tracks. The tracks are then used to interpret calling patterns in the

  2. Tread-water feeding of Bryde's whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwata, Takashi; Akamatsu, Tomonari; Thongsukdee, Surasak; Cherdsukjai, Phaothep; Adulyanukosol, Kanjana; Sato, Katsufumi

    2017-11-06

    Many previous studies have shown that rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae), including the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whale (B. physalus), sei whale (B. borealis), Bryde's whale (B. edeni), minke whale (B. acutorostrata), and humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), employ a strategy called lunge feeding to capture a large amount of krill and/or fish for nourishment [1]. Lunge feeding entails a high energetic cost due to the drag created by an open mouth at high speeds [1,2]. In the upper Gulf of Thailand, Bryde's whales, which feed on small fish species [3], predominantly anchovies, demonstrated a range of feeding behaviors such as oblique, vertical, and lateral lunging. Moreover, they displayed a novel head-lifting feeding behavior characterized by holding the vertical posture for several seconds with an open mouth at the water surface. This study describes the head-lifting feeding by Bryde's whales, which is distinct from the typical lunge feeding of rorqual whales. Whales showing this behavior were observed on 58 occasions, involving 31 whales and including eight adult-calf pairs. Whales caught their prey using a series of coordinated movements: (i) lifting the head above the water with a closed mouth, (ii) opening the mouth until the lower jaw contacted the sea surface, which created a current of water flowing into the mouth, (iii) holding their position for several seconds, (iv) waiting for the prey to enter the mouth, and (v) closing the mouth and engulfing the prey underwater (Figure 1A-F, Movie S1 in Supplemental Information published with this article online). When a whale kept its upper jaw above the sea surface, many anchovies in the targeted shoal appeared to lose orientation and flowed passively into the mouth of the whale by the current created by the lower mandible breaking the surface of the water. We measured the duration of feeding events when the whales had a wide-open mouth mostly above the sea surface. The mean and maximum feeding

  3. Mapping the Super-Whale

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Blok, Anders

    2010-01-01

    In empirical discussion on global connections, frequent allusions are made to Michael Burawoy's 'global' and George Marcus' 'multi-sited' ethnographies. While both have inspired transnational fieldwork, neither methodological approach has sufficiently analysed the local-global dichotomy embedded ...... 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....

  4. Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Yack, Tina M; Barlow, Jay; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-06-01

    Echolocation signals from Baird's beaked whales were recorded during visual and acoustic shipboard surveys of cetaceans in the California Current ecosystem and with autonomous, long-term recorders in the Southern California Bight. The preliminary measurement of the visually validated Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals from towed array data were used as a basis for identifying Baird's signals in the autonomous recorder data. Two distinct signal types were found, one being a beaked whale-like frequency modulated (FM) pulse, the other being a dolphin-like broadband click. The median FM inter-pulse interval was 230 ms. Both signal types showed a consistent multi-peak structure in their spectra with peaks at ~9, 16, 25, and 40 kHz. Depending on signal type, as well as recording aspect and distance to the hydrophone, these peaks varied in relative amplitude. The description of Baird's echolocation signals will allow for studies of their distribution and abundance using towed array data without associated visual sightings and from autonomous seafloor hydrophones.

  5. 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…

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. Current status of the minke whales and conflicts of interest

    OpenAIRE

    Singarajah, K. V.

    1988-01-01

    Minke whales - the rorqual group of the family Balaenopteridae - are widely distributed and constitute an important major harvestable living resource of the sea. Recently, the Antarctic minke whale population has been estimated to be between 150,000 and 300,000. Populations being dynamic entities, the size of the minke whale population has been changing. Currently , the minke whale population in the Antarctic has been claimed to have increased considerably. However, the minke whale stock arri...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guilherme A Bortolotto

    Full Text Available 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.

  10. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bortolotto, Guilherme A; 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.

  12. Quantifying the energy stores of capital breeding humpback whales and income breeding sperm whales using historical whaling records.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irvine, Lyn G; Thums, Michele; Hanson, Christine E; McMahon, Clive R; Hindell, Mark A

    2017-03-01

    Cetacean energy stores are known to vary according to life history, reproductive status and time of year; however, the opportunity to quantify these relationships is rare. Using a unique set of historical whaling records from Western Australia (1952-1963), we investigated energy stores of large cetaceans with differing life histories, and quantified the relationship between total body lipid and length for humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae) ( n  = 905) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) ( n  = 1961). We found that total body lipid increased with body length in both humpback and sperm whales, consistent with size-related energy stores. Male humpback whales stored 2.49 kl (15.6 barrels) (31.9-74.9%) more lipid than male sperm whales of equivalent length, to fuel their annual migration. Relative lipid stores of sperm whales (males) were constant throughout the year, while those of humpback whales varied with reproductive class and sampling date. Pregnant female humpback whales had higher relative energy stores than non-pregnant females and males (26.2% and 37.4%, respectively), to fuel the energy demands of gestation and lactation. Those that reached the sampling site later ( en route to their breeding grounds) carried higher lipid stores than those that arrived earlier, possibly reflecting individual variation in residency times in the Antarctic feeding grounds. Importantly, longer pregnant females had relatively larger energy stores than the shorter pregnant females, indicating that the smaller individuals may experience higher levels of energetic stress during the migration fast. The relationships we developed between body lipid and length can be used to inform bioenergetics and ecosystem models when such detailed information is not available.

  13. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Lise Doksæter Sivle; Petter Helgevold Kvadsheim; Andreas eFahlman; Andreas eFahlman; Frans-Peter eLam; Peter eTyack; Peter eTyack; Patrick eMiller

    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 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 so...

  15. 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.

  16. Species-specific beaked whale echolocation signals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; McDonald, Mark A; Simonis, Anne E; Solsona Berga, Alba; Merkens, Karlina P B; Oleson, Erin M; Roch, Marie A; Wiggins, Sean M; Rankin, Shannon; Yack, Tina M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-09-01

    Beaked whale echolocation signals are mostly frequency-modulated (FM) upsweep pulses and appear to be species specific. Evolutionary processes of niche separation may have driven differentiation of beaked whale signals used for spatial orientation and foraging. FM pulses of eight species of beaked whales were identified, as well as five distinct pulse types of unknown species, but presumed to be from beaked whales. Current evidence suggests these five distinct but unidentified FM pulse types are also species-specific and are each produced by a separate species. There may be a relationship between adult body length and center frequency with smaller whales producing higher frequency signals. This could be due to anatomical and physiological restraints or it could be an evolutionary adaption for detection of smaller prey for smaller whales with higher resolution using higher frequencies. The disadvantage of higher frequencies is a shorter detection range. Whales echolocating with the highest frequencies, or broadband, likely lower source level signals also use a higher repetition rate, which might compensate for the shorter detection range. Habitat modeling with acoustic detections should give further insights into how niches and prey may have shaped species-specific FM pulse types.

  17. Confirmation of right whales near a nineteenth-century whaling ground east of southern Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellinger, David K; Nieukirk, Sharon L; Klinck, Karolin; Klinck, Holger; Dziak, Robert P; Clapham, Phillip J; Brandsdóttir, Bryndís

    2011-06-23

    North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) were found in an important nineteenth century whaling area east of southern Greenland, from which they were once thought to have been extirpated. In 2007-2008, a 1-year passive acoustic survey was conducted at five sites in and near the 'Cape Farewell Ground', the former whaling ground. Over 2000 right whale calls were recorded at these sites, primarily during July-November. Most calls were northwest of the historic ground, suggesting a broader range in this region than previously known. Geographical and temporal separation of calls confirms use of this area by multiple animals.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Bortolotto, Guilherme A.; 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 pres...

  19. Short Communication Observations of individual humpback whales ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Movements of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae among breeding regions within the southwestern Indian Ocean are poorly understood. Understanding the relationships among breeding regions is critical for effective conservation and management strategies. Through systematic comparisons of molecular ...

  20. Sound production by singing humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercado, Eduardo; Schneider, Jennifer N; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2010-04-01

    Sounds from humpback whale songs were analyzed to evaluate possible mechanisms of sound production. Song sounds fell along a continuum with trains of discrete pulses at one end and continuous tonal signals at the other. This graded vocal repertoire is comparable to that seen in false killer whales [Murray et al. (1998). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 1679-1688] and human singers, indicating that all three species generate sounds by varying the tension of pneumatically driven, vibrating membranes. Patterns in the spectral content of sounds and in nonlinear sound features show that resonating air chambers may also contribute to humpback whale sound production. Collectively, these findings suggest that categorizing individual units within songs into discrete types may obscure how singers modulate song features and illustrate how production-based characterizations of vocalizations can provide new insights into how humpback whales sing.

  1. Source levels of foraging humpback whale calls.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fournet, Michelle E H; Matthews, Leanna P; Gabriele, Christine M; Mellinger, David K; Klinck, Holger

    2018-02-01

    Humpback whales produce a wide range of low- to mid-frequency vocalizations throughout their migratory range. Non-song "calls" dominate this species' vocal repertoire while on high-latitude foraging grounds. The source levels of 426 humpback whale calls in four vocal classes were estimated using a four-element planar array deployed in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Southeast Alaska. There was no significant difference in source levels between humpback whale vocal classes. The mean call source level was 137 dB RMS re 1 μPa @ 1 m in the bandwidth of the call (range 113-157 dB RMS re 1 μPa @ 1 m), where bandwidth is defined as the frequency range from the lowest to the highest frequency component of the call. These values represent a robust estimate of humpback whale source levels on foraging grounds and should append earlier estimates.

  2. Sonar Validation Study with Migrating Gray Whales

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Tyack, Peter L

    2005-01-01

    .... Due to a legal challenge to the process used by NMFS in issuing the research permit, testing of the whalefinding sonar was prevented, and the field team collected baseline data on the whale migration...

  3. 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...

  4. Tagging and Playback Studies to Toothed Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    stranding has not been elucidated. We now know that beaked whales react strongly to sonar, killer whale, and bandlimited noise by ceasing echolocation and...depths, where light is likely of little importance, this could be achieved through active echolocation or mediated through communication signals. A...doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00587.x [published, refereed] 9 Fenton BMB, Jensen FH, Kalko EKV, Tyack PL. (book chapter) Sonar Signals of Bats and

  5. 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.

  6. Cultural Hitchhiking in the Matrilineal Whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal; Vachon, Felicia; Frasier, Timothy R

    2017-05-01

    Five species of whale with matrilineal social systems (daughters remain with mothers) have remarkably low levels of mitochondrial DNA diversity. Non-heritable matriline-level demography could reduce genetic diversity but the required conditions are not consistent with the natural histories of the matrilineal whales. The diversity of nuclear microsatellites is little reduced in the matrilineal whales arguing against bottlenecks. Selective sweeps of the mitochondrial genome are feasible causes but it is not clear why these only occurred in the matrilineal species. Cultural hitchhiking (cultural selection reducing diversity at neutral genetic loci transmitted in parallel to the culture) is supported in sperm whales which possess suitable matrilineal socio-cultural groups (coda clans). Killer whales are delineated into ecotypes which likely originated culturally. Culture, bottlenecks and selection, as well as their interactions, operating between- or within-ecotypes, may have reduced their mitochondrial diversity. The societies, cultures and genetics of false killer and two pilot whale species are insufficiently known to assess drivers of low mitochondrial diversity.

  7. 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.

  8. Are Antarctic minke whales unusually abundant because of 20th century whaling?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruegg, Kristen C; Anderson, Eric C; Scott Baker, C; Vant, Murdoch; Jackson, Jennifer A; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2010-01-01

    Severe declines in megafauna worldwide illuminate the role of top predators in ecosystem structure. In the Antarctic, the Krill Surplus Hypothesis posits that the killing of more than 2 million large whales led to competitive release for smaller krill-eating species like the Antarctic minke whale. If true, the current size of the Antarctic minke whale population may be unusually high as an indirect result of whaling. Here, we estimate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale prior to whaling by sequencing 11 nuclear genetic markers from 52 modern samples purchased in Japanese meat markets. We use coalescent simulations to explore the potential influence of population substructure and find that even though our samples are drawn from a limited geographic area, our estimate reflects ocean-wide genetic diversity. Using Bayesian estimates of the mutation rate and coalescent-based analyses of genetic diversity across loci, we calculate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale to be 670,000 individuals (95% confidence interval: 374,000-1,150,000). Our estimate of long-term abundance is similar to, or greater than, contemporary abundance estimates, suggesting that managing Antarctic ecosystems under the assumption that Antarctic minke whales are unusually abundant is not warranted.

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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?

  17. Effectiveness of voluntary conservation agreements: case study of endangered whales and commercial whale watching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiley, David N; Moller, Just C; Pace, Richard M; Carlson, Carole

    2008-04-01

    The use of voluntary approaches to achieve conservation goals is becoming increasingly popular. Nevertheless, few researchers have quantitatively evaluated their efficacy. In 1998 industry, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations established a voluntary conservation program for whale watching in the northeast region of the United States, with the intent to avoid collisions with and harassment of endangered whales by commercial and recreational whale-watching vessels. One important aspect of the program was the establishment of 3 speed zones within specific distances of whales. We wanted to determine the level of compliance with this aspect of the program to gauge its efficacy and gain insights into the effectiveness of voluntary measures as a conservation tool. Inconspicuous observers accompanied 46 commercial whale-watching trips from 12 companies in 2003 (n= 35) and 2004 (n= 11). During each trip, vessel position and speed were collected at 5-second intervals with a GPS receiver. Binoculars with internal laser rangefinders and digital compasses were used to record range and bearing to sighted whales. We mapped whale locations with ArcGIS. We created speed-zone buffers around sighted whales and overlaid them with vessel-track and speed data to evaluate compliance. Speeds in excess of those recommended by the program were considered noncompliant. We judged the magnitude of noncompliance by comparing a vessel's maximum speed within a zone to its maximum recorded trip speed. The level of noncompliance was high (mean 0.78; company range 0.74-0.88), some companies were more compliant than others (p= 0.02), noncompliance was significantly higher in zones farther from whales (p whales. Our results support the need for conservation programs to have quantifiable metrics and frequent evaluation to ensure efficacy.

  18. The beginning of the end? The International Court of Justice's decision on Japanese Antarctic whaling

    OpenAIRE

    Nurse, Angus

    2014-01-01

    This article assessing the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) decision on Japanese Antarctic whaling. Despite a moratorium on whaling agreed in 1986, Japan has continued to grant permits for 'scientific whaling' allowing its ships to kill whales due to provisions in the International Whaling Convention that would allow such activity. However, environmentalists have long maintained that Japan has continued its commercial whaling program, exploiting a loophole in the whaling convention in o...

  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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Food and feeding of sperm whales physeter macrocephalus off the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The stomach contents of 1 268 sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus processed at the Donkergat whaling station, South Africa, were examined during the 1962 and 1963 whaling seasons. Results were compared with. Clarkefs analysis of cephalopod beaks collected in 1963 (Clarke 1980). There was no significant ...

  1. Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus off Angola: recent sightings ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The population of blue whales Balaenoptera musculus inhabiting the South-East Atlantic (Gabon to South Africa) was heavily depleted by commercial whaling. We report four photographically-verified sightings, and one probable sighting, of blue whales in deep waters (>1 000 m) off central Angola (11° S to 12°30′S) ...

  2. 75 FR 7254 - International Whaling Commission; 2010 Intersessional Meetings; Nominations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-02-18

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XU28 International Whaling Commission; 2010... meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The non-federal representative(s) selected as a... United States under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. IWC...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emma L Carroll

    Full Text Available 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tervo, Outi; Christoffersen, Mads; FØrasier, Timothy

    2011-01-01

    % males (n=1)). These data clearly demonstrate that female bowhead whales sing, however more samples are necessary to assess whether male bowhead whales also sing. The suggested functions of female song for other species include territorial defense, mate guarding, coordination of breeding activities......, and more rarely mate attraction. In the North Atlantic right whale, Eubalaena glacialis, a closely related species to the bowhead whale, the female produces simple calls during sexual interactions that attract other males to mating groups. We suggest that our results may indicate that the elaborate songs...... of female bowhead whales may function for mate attraction and represent a novel example of partial courtship role reversal in mammals....

  7. 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.

    2011-01-01

    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

  8. 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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter L Tyack

    Full Text Available 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

  10. 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...

  11. Latitudinal variation in ecological opportunity and intraspecific competition indicates differences in niche variability and diet specialization of Arctic marine predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yurkowski, David J; Ferguson, Steve; Choy, Emily S; Loseto, Lisa L; Brown, Tanya M; Muir, Derek C G; Semeniuk, Christina A D; Fisk, Aaron T

    2016-03-01

    Individual specialization (IS), where individuals within populations irrespective of age, sex, and body size are either specialized or generalized in terms of resource use, has implications on ecological niches and food web structure. Niche size and degree of IS of near-top trophic-level marine predators have been little studied in polar regions or with latitude. We quantified the large-scale latitudinal variation of population- and individual-level niche size and IS in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis on 379 paired ringed seal liver and muscle samples and 124 paired beluga skin and muscle samples from eight locations ranging from the low to high Arctic. We characterized both within- and between-individual variation in predator niche size at each location as well as accounting for spatial differences in the isotopic ranges of potential prey. Total isotopic niche width (TINW) for populations of ringed seals and beluga decreased with increasing latitude. Higher TINW values were associated with greater ecological opportunity (i.e., prey diversity) in the prey fish community which mainly consists of Capelin (Mallotus villosus) and Sand lance (Ammodytes sp.) at lower latitudes and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) at high latitudes. In beluga, their dietary consistency between tissues also known as the within-individual component (WIC) increased in a near 1:1 ratio with TINW (slope = 0.84), suggesting dietary generalization, whereas the slope (0.18) of WIC relative to TINW in ringed seals indicated a high degree of individual specialization in ringed seal populations with higher TINWs. Our findings highlight the differences in TINW and level of IS for ringed seals and beluga relative to latitude as a likely response to large-scale spatial variation in ecological opportunity, suggesting species-specific variation in dietary plasticity to spatial differences in prey resources and

  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. Whales of the rainforest: habitat use strategies of sympatric rorqual whales within a fjord system

    OpenAIRE

    Keen, Eric

    2017-01-01

    The energy needs of rorqual whales (f. Balaenopteridae) govern their relationship to marine habitats during the foraging season. However, their cryptic foraging strategies and extreme feeding behaviors complicate our effort to identify and protect habitats “critical” for rorquals. What is the relationship between rorquals and their habitat, and how must that shape conservation strategies? I addressed this question in the case of sympatric humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and fin whales (Bala...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Samarra, Filipa; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick J O

    2012-01-01

    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. 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.

  16. 77 FR 12244 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Report of Whaling Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-29

    ... Whaling Operations AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION... current information collection. Native Americans may conduct certain aboriginal subsistence whaling in accordance with the provisions of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In order to respond to...

  17. Naval sonar disrupts foraging in humpback whales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2016-01-01

    Modern long-range naval sonars are a potential disturbance for marine mammals and can cause disruption of feeding in cetaceans. We examined the lunge-feeding behaviour of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae before, during and after controlled exposure experiments with naval sonar by use of

  18. Tissue Biomechanics: Whales Have Some Nerve.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shah, Sameer B

    2017-03-06

    Nerves in the mouth of the rorqual whale can double in length during feeding, without incurring damage. Several clever structural features underlie this amazing phenomenon. Such neuroprotective architectural strategies may be conserved, to a lesser extreme, across the organismal spectrum. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Short Communication Pygmy right whale Caperea marginata ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ... younger animals may cause them to become 'entrapped' in the bay. These data contribute substantially to the limited information on pygmy right whale distribution worldwide and the cetacean fauna of Namibia. Keywords: Benguela Current, strandings, Walvis Bay African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 133–139 ...

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, song during the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    ABSTRACT. A key feature of humpback whale behavior, documented primarily on the breeding grounds, is the repertoire of the males' song. Song is made up of single units combined together into phrases, which are repeated to make up themes. A song consists of several themes sung in succession. This study ...

  4. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, song during the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Madagascar Conservation & Development ... Song is made up of single units combined together into phrases, which are repeated to make up themes. A song ... to educate the communities of the Gulf of Tribugá about the importance of conservation, and to advocate for stricter guidelines for safe whale-watching practices.

  6. 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…

  7. 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

    2008-10-01

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 78 FR 34347 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-06-07

    ... the population was dramatically reduced by extensive commercial whaling, now prohibited by the International Whaling Commission. Scientists estimate that less than 1,000 individuals remain. Of the...

  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; da 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. Hydrodynamic Performance of the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera Acutorostrata) Flipper

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-04-01

    2005). Gulping behavior in rorqual whales : underwater observations and functional interpretation. Mem. Queensl. Mus. 51, 309-332. Ashenberg, J. and Weihs...Exploitation of the Minke Whale . Boca Raton: CRC Press. Howell, A. (1930). Aquatic Mammals. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas. Kot, B. W. (2005). Rorqual ...1859 INTRODUCTION Cetaceans ( whales , dolphins and porpoises) are exceptional mammals that have adapted to life in a marine environment. They are the

  12. The Development and Testing of a Radio Whale Tag

    Science.gov (United States)

    1977-09-01

    penetrated straighter and better than others we tried. With 1977 modifications, the radio whale tag aplkars to be ready for field trials on rorquals ...contributed to erratic penetration. Conclusions The radio whale tag appears to be ready for field trials on rorquals . The 1977 modifications wore all...WHO 1-77-58 o Ton ¢ / / , 4In-stituti’on ,’ O / 4 /.,𔃺- 1930 THE DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING OF A RADIO WHALE TAG by William A. Watkins William E

  13. 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.

  14. Sounds produced by Norwegian killer whales, Orcinus orca, during capture

    OpenAIRE

    Parijs, Sofie M. van; Leyssen, Teo; Similä, Tiu

    2004-01-01

    Journal home page: http://scitation.aip.org/jasa/ To date very little is still known about the acoustic behavior of Norwegian killer whales, in particular that of individual whales. In this study a unique opportunity was presented to document the sounds produced by five captured killer whales in the Vestfjord area, northern Norway. Individuals produced 14 discrete and 7 compound calls. Two call types were used both by individuals 16178 and 23365 suggesting that they may belong to the same ...

  15. 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...described explicitly, beaked whales are one of the cetacean taxa more sensitive to use of Navy sonar (Moretti et al., 2014; Tyack et al., 2011). Despite...their vulnerability, Blainville’s beaked whale , Mesoplodon densirostris (Md), are routinely detected year-round on the AUTEC range, coincident with

  16. 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

  17. Effects of dietary onion (Allium cepa) powder on growth, innate immune response and hemato-biochemical parameters of beluga (Huso huso Linnaeus, 1754) juvenile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akrami, Raza; Gharaei, Ahmad; Mansour, Majid Razeghi; Galeshi, Ali

    2015-08-01

    The present study was aimed at determining the effects of dietary onion powder on growth, innate immune response and hemato-biochemical parameters of beluga juvenile (Huso huso). Basal diets containing onion powder 0 (control), 0.5 and 1% of feed were fed to beluga juvenile. At the end of the experiment, the highest weight gain (WG%) and specific growth rate (SGR) was observed in group fed with 1% onion (P 0.05) about feed conversion ratio (FCR) in treatment groups that fed diets containing various levels of onion powder. After 8 weeks, serum lysozyme activity, superoxide dismutase activity (SOD), respiratory burst activity and serum total immunoglobulin (Ig) showed a significant increase in treatment group with 1% onion powder compared to other groups (P onion showed a significantly increases in the number of erythrocytes (RBC), leucocyte (WBC), haematocrit (Hct) levels compared to the control group (P 0.05) in treatment groups and control. The analysis of AST and LDH levels showed a significant decrease in 1% onion compared to the control and 0.5% onion diet (P 0.05). The blood glucose, total protein, triglyceride, cholesterol, albumin and globulin levels were lower in treated groups compared with the control (P onion powder could be an improvement in growth, hematological parameters and immune function of beluga juvenile. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Humpback whales feed on hatchery-released juvenile salmon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chenoweth, Ellen M; Straley, Janice M; McPhee, Megan V; Atkinson, Shannon; Reifenstuhl, Steve

    2017-07-01

    Humpback whales are remarkable for the behavioural plasticity of their feeding tactics and the diversity of their diets. Within the last decade at hatchery release sites in Southeast Alaska, humpback whales have begun exploiting juvenile salmon, a previously undocumented prey. The anthropogenic source of these salmon and their important contribution to local fisheries makes the emergence of humpback whale predation a concern for the Southeast Alaska economy. Here, we describe the frequency of observing humpback whales, examine the role of temporal and spatial variables affecting the probability of sighting humpback whales and describe prey capture behaviours at five hatchery release sites. We coordinated twice-daily 15 min observations during the spring release seasons 2010-2015. Using logistic regression, we determined that the probability of occurrence of humpback whales increased after releases began and decreased after releases concluded. The probability of whale occurrence varied among release sites but did not increase significantly over the 6 year study period. Whales were reported to be feeding on juvenile chum, Chinook and coho salmon, with photographic and video records of whales feeding on coho salmon. The ability to adapt to new prey sources may be key to sustaining their population in a changing ocean.

  19. 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....

  20. Tracing the spatio-temporal dynamics of endangered fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) within baleen whale (Mysticeti) lineages: a mitogenomic perspective.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Jihyun; Nam, Bo-Hye; Yoon, Joon; Kim, Eun Bae; Park, Jung Youn; Kim, Heebal; Yoon, Sook Hee

    2017-12-01

    To explore the spatio-temporal dynamics of endangered fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) within the baleen whale (Mysticeti) lineages, we analyzed 148 published mitochondrial genome sequences of baleen whales. We used a Bayesian coalescent approach as well as Bayesian inferences and maximum likelihood methods. The results showed that the fin whales had a single maternal origin, and that there is a significant correlation between geographic location and evolution of global fin whales. The most recent common female ancestor of this species lived approximately 9.88 million years ago (Mya). Here, North Pacific fin whales first appeared about 7.48 Mya, followed by a subsequent divergence in Southern Hemisphere approximately 6.63 Mya and North Atlantic about 4.42 Mya. Relatively recently, approximately 1.76 and 1.42 Mya, there were two additional occurrences of North Pacific populations; one originated from the Southern Hemisphere and the other from an uncertain location. The evolutionary rate of this species was 1.002 × 10 -3 substitutions/site/My. Our Bayesian skyline plot illustrates that the fin whale population has the rapid expansion event since ~ 2.5 Mya, during the Quaternary glaciation stage. Additionally, this study indicates that the fin whale has a sister group relationship with humpback whale (Meganoptera novaeangliae) within the baleen whale lineages. Of the 16 genomic regions, NADH5 showed the most powerful signal for baleen whale phylogenetics. Interestingly, fin whales have 16 species-specific amino acid residues in eight mitochondrial genes: NADH2, COX2, COX3, ATPase6, ATPase8, NADH4, NADH5, and Cytb.

  1. Pre-Whaling Genetic Diversity and Population Ecology in Eastern Pacific Gray Whales: Insights from Ancient DNA and Stable Isotopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alter, S. Elizabeth; Newsome, Seth D.; Palumbi, Stephen R.

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22590499

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alter, S Elizabeth; Newsome, Seth D; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2012-01-01

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 'Blue Whale Challenge': A Game or Crime?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mukhra, Richa; Baryah, Neha; Krishan, Kewal; Kanchan, Tanuj

    2017-11-11

    A bewildering range of games are emerging every other day with newer elements of fun and entertainment to woo youngsters. Games are meant to reduce stress and enhance the cognitive development of children as well as adults. Teenagers are always curious to indulge in newer games; and e-gaming is one such platform providing an easy access and quicker means of entertainment. The particular game challenge which has taken the world by storm is the dangerous "Blue Whale Challenge" often involving vulnerable teenagers. The Blue Whale Challenge is neither an application nor internet based game but the users get a link through social media chat groups to enter this "deadly" challenge game. This probably is the only game where the participant has to end his/her life to complete the game. The innocent teenagers are being targeted based on their depressed psychology and are coercively isolated from their social milieux on the pretext of keeping the challenges confidential. To add to the woes, no option is offered to quit the challenge even if the contender is unable to complete the challenge. Blue Whale Challenge in its sheer form could be seen as an illegal, unethical and inhumane endeavor in our present society. The present communication discusses the severe effects of the game on teenagers, the ethical concerns involved and the preventive measures necessary to curb it.

  6. Migrations of humpback whales past Cape Vidal, South Africa, and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Shore-based surveys of migrating humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae were undertaken from Cape Vidal, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, each year between 1988 and 1991, and in 2002. Daily observations of migrating whale groups were carried out from an approx. 60 m-high platform during all surveys.

  7. 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...

  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

  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.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/304839663; 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

  10. Southern right whales Eubalaena australis visit the coasts of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    spamer

    Counts and photographs of right whales Eubalaena australis taken on aerial surveys of the southern coast of. South Africa between 1969 and 1998 have been used to examine patterns of coastal distribution between successive 20-minute bins of longitude. Some bins had consistently higher densities of whales than others,.

  11. Current status of the minke whales and conflicts of interest

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. V. Singarajah

    1988-07-01

    Full Text Available Minke whales - the rorqual group of the family Balaenopteridae - are widely distributed and constitute an important major harvestable living resource of the sea. Recently, the Antarctic minke whale population has been estimated to be between 150,000 and 300,000. Populations being dynamic entities, the size of the minke whale population has been changing. Currently , the minke whale population in the Antarctic has been claimed to have increased considerably. However, the minke whale stock arriving off Brazil could be regarded as only a small discrete unit of breeding stock and an integral part of the Brazilian natural resource. Data analysis based on the past 21 years shows that this stock is relatively in a steady state, but with only a few annual fluctuations which are around a constant mean value; and these departures are attributable both to environmental conditions and the local operational parameters. Further, the analysis of overall data does not suggest any decline in the Brazilian stock and a MSY at about 58.5% can be taken without depleting the stock, provided no dramatic changes occur in the native Antarctic habitat where the minke whales return to feed. This would allow Brazil a carefully controlled rational utilization of this potentially valuable sea resource since enough exploitable numbers of minke whales have been estimated to be available for Area II. The current arguments of the conflicts between the Pro -and Anti-whaling groups are also briefly discussed.

  12. 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…

  13. Biopsying southern right whales : Their reactions and effects on reproduction

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Best, PB; Reeb, D; Rew, MB; Palsboll, PJ; Schaeff, C; Brandao, A

    Collecting skin biopsies from large whales for genetic analysis is often subject to national permit, and in the case of cow-calf pairs, it may be prohibited. We present results of 906 biopsy attempts on southern fight whales (Eubalaena australis) in South African waters between 1995 and 1997,

  14. Cephalopods in the diet of sperm whales caught commercially off ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A collection from stomach contents of 30 sperm whales Physeter catodon comprised a total of 46 cephalopods belonging to six families. Nine species were identified, including Ommastrephes bartramii, which is recorded for the first time in the diet of sperm whales caught off South Africa, and Todarodes filippovae, which has ...

  15. Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) at Marion Island, Southern Ocean ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) were studied using data obtained on an opportunistic basis between 1973 and 1996 at Marion Island (46°54'S, 37°45'E) in the Southern Indian Ocean. A clear seasonal pattern of occurrence with the main peak between October and December was evident. Most killer whales were observed ...

  16. Confirmation of the occurrence of a second killer whale morphotype ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Killer whales Orcinus orca occur worldwide in a number of morphotypes that differ in size, pigmentation, acoustic behaviour, food type and genetics – some may indeed warrant subspecific or even specific status. Until recently, all killer whales in South African waters were referred to a single morphotype, Type A, but three ...

  17. Climate Change and Baleen Whale Trophic Cascades in Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-09-30

    DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Climate Change and Baleen Whale Trophic Cascades in Greenland...SUBTITLE Climate Change And Baleen Whale Trophic Cascades In Greenland 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S

  18. 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 produ...

  19. 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

  20. The diet of sperm whales caught commercially off Durban was ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    spamer

    relative contribution to the diet by mass. Supple- mentary collections of complete ... for the first time in the diet of sperm whales caught off South Africa, and Todarodes filippovae, which has only previously been identified from whale stomachs to genus. .... ery good; some skin missing. U71/2099. 17/8/1971. 30°30. ′S, 31°07.

  1. Inshore occurrence of southern right whales ( Eubalaena australis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Opportunistic shore-based sightings of southern right whales Eubalaena australis for Marion Island (46°54'S, 37°45'E) were documented at five different times between 1974 and 2009. Whales were sighted between May and September and exclusively on the eastern lee side of the Island. Notwithstanding some observer ...

  2. Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus in offshore waters of Kenya ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Observations of blue whales were made in Kenyan offshore waters during a seismic survey from September 2014 to January 2015. These represent the first live at-sea sightings of blue whales reported from Kenyan waters. All 30 sightings occurred between September and October in waters ranging from 2 990 to 4 705 m ...

  3. Coastal distribution, movements and site fidelity of right whales ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Counts and photographs of right whales Eubalaena australis taken on aerial surveys of the southern coast of South Africa between 1969 and 1998 have been used to examine patterns of coastal distribution between successive 20-minute bins of longitude. Some bins had consistently higher densities of whales than others, ...

  4. 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.

  5. Structure of the integument of southern right whales, Eubalaena australis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reeb, Desray; Best, Peter Barrington; Kidson, Susan Hillary

    2007-06-01

    Skin (integument) anatomy reflects adaptations to particular environments. It is hypothesized that cetacean (whale) integument will show unique anatomical adaptations to an aquatic environment, particularly regarding differences in temperature, density, and pressure. In this study, the gross and histological structure of the southern right whale integument is described and compared with terrestrial mammals and previous descriptions of mysticete (baleen whale) and odontocete (toothed whale) species. Samples were taken of the integument of 98 free-swimming southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, and examined by both light and electron microscopy. Results show that three epidermal layers are present, with the stratum corneum being parakeratotic in nature. As in bowhead whales, southern right whales possess an acanthotic epidermis and a notably thick hypodermis, with epidermal rods and extensive papillomatosis. However, unlike bowhead whales, southern right whales possess an uninterrupted hypodermal layer. Surprisingly, the integument of balaenids (right and bowhead mysticetes) in general is more like that of odontocetes than that of the more closely related balaenopterids (rorqual mysticetes). Similarities to odontocetes were found specifically in the collagen fibers in a fat-free zone of the reticular dermal layer and the elastic fibers in the dermal and hypodermal layers. Callosities, a distinctive feature of this genus, have a slightly thicker stratum corneum and are usually associated with hairs that have innervated and vascularized follicles. These hairs may function as vibrissae, thus aiding in aquatic foraging by allowing rapid detection of changes in prey density. Although the thick insulatory integument makes right whales bulky and slow-moving, it is an adaptation for living in cold water. Epidermal thickness, presence of epidermal rods, and callosities may act as barriers against mechanical injury from bodily contact with conspecifics or hard surfaces in

  6. An Economical Custom-Built Drone for Assessing Whale Health

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vanessa Pirotta

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs have huge potential to improve the safety and efficiency of sample collection from wild animals under logistically challenging circumstances. Here we present a method for surveying population health that uses UAVs to sample respiratory vapor, ‘whale blow,' exhaled by free-swimming humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae, and coupled this with amplification and sequencing of respiratory tract microbiota. We developed a low-cost multirotor UAV incorporating a sterile petri dish with a remotely operated ‘blow' to sample whale blow with minimal disturbance to the whales. This design addressed several sampling challenges: accessibility; safety; cost, and critically, minimized the collection of atmospheric and seawater microbiota and other potential sources of sample contamination. We collected 59 samples of blow from northward migrating humpback whales off Sydney, Australia and used high throughput sequencing of bacterial ribosomal gene markers to identify putative respiratory tract microbiota. Model-based comparisons with seawater and drone-captured air demonstrated that our system minimized external sources of contamination and successfully captured sufficient material to identify whale blow-specific microbial taxa. Whale-specific taxa included species and genera previously associated with the respiratory tracts or oral cavities of mammals (e.g., Pseudomonas, Clostridia, Cardiobacterium, as well as species previously isolated from dolphin or killer whale blowholes (Corynebacteria, others. Many examples of exogenous marine species were identified, including Tenacibaculum and Psychrobacter spp. that have been associated with the skin microbiota of marine mammals and fish and may include pathogens. This information provides a baseline of respiratory tract microbiota profiles of contemporary whale health. Customized UAVs are a promising new tool for marine megafauna research and may have broad application in

  7. 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

  8. North Atlantic humpback whale abundance and rate of increase four decades after protection from whaling

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stevick, PT; Allen, J; Clapham, PJ; Friday, N; Katona, SK; Larsen, F; Lien, J; Mattila, DK; Palsboll, PJ; Sigurjonsson, J; Smith, TD; Oien, N; Hammond, PS

    2003-01-01

    Humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae in the North Atlantic Ocean were severely depleted by exploitation. With legal protection since 1955, substantial recovery is likely to have occurred, but information on abundance and rates of increase has been limited. We present an assessment of humpback

  9. History of polar whaling: insights into the physiology of the great whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castellini, M

    2000-06-01

    The sheer size and pelagic nature of the great whales has effectively precluded detailed studies of most of their physiological processes. The vast majority of all data for these species have come from anatomical studies conducted on specimens that were caught in commercial and native whaling operations. In both the polar regions, an incredible number of whales were hunted, but anatomical studies were not usually conducted until relatively recent times. However, the anatomical data that do exist provide a valuable insight into some of the physiological demands placed on the animals by their marine habitat. These include information on blubber and nutrition; baleen and feeding ecology; contaminant chemistry and tissue samples; diving chemistry and acoustics. Taken together, these anatomical data provide the only substantial information on how these animals dive and hunt. Recent breakthroughs in chemical techniques however, are providing even greater details on function (for example, fatty acid signature methods). Coupled with advanced methods for tracking these whales at sea (acoustic and satellite), future studies should provide significant new information on the general physiology of these difficult to study species.

  10. 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

  11. Pilot Whales Attracted to Killer Whale Sounds: Acoustically-Mediated Interspecific Interactions in Cetaceans

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cure, C.; Antunes, R.; Samarra, F.; Alves, A.C.; Visser, F.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Miller, P.J.O.

    2012-01-01

    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)

  12. Ecotypic variation and predatory behavior among killer whales (Orcinus orca) off the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska

    OpenAIRE

    Matkin, Craig O.; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G.; Yurk, Harald; Ellifrit, David; Trites, Andrew W.

    2007-01-01

    From 2001 to 2004 in the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, killer whales (Orcinus orca) were encountered 250 times during 421 days of surveys that covered a total of 22,491 miles. Three killer whale groups (resident, transient, and offshore) were identified acoustically and genetically. Resident killer whales were found 12 times more frequently than transient killer whales, and offshore killer whales were encountered only once. A minimum of 901 photographically identified resident wh...

  13. Environmental Variability, Bowhead Whale Distributions, and Inupiat Subsistence Whaling in the Coastal Arctic Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ashjian, C. J.; Campbell, R. G.; George, J. C.; Moore, S. E.; Okkonen, S. R.; Sherr, B. F.; Sherr, E. B.

    2006-12-01

    The annual migration of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) past Barrow, Alaska has provided subsistence hunting opportunities to Native whalers for centuries. Bowheads regularly feed along the Arctic coast near Barrow in autumn, presumably to utilize recurrent aggregations of their zooplankton prey (e.g., copepods, euphausiids). Oceanographic field-sampling on the narrow continental shelf near Barrow and in Elson Lagoon was conducted during mid-August to mid-September of 2005 and 2006 to describe the different water mass types and plankton communities, to identify exchange of water and material between the shelf and lagoon and offshore, and to identify biological and physical mechanisms of plankton aggregation. High spatial resolution profiles of temperature, salinity, fluorescence, optical backscatter, and C-DOM were collected using an Acrobat undulating towed vehicle in the lagoon and across the shelf from near-shore to the ~150 m isobath. Discrete sampling for nutrients, chlorophyll a, and phytoplankton, and microzooplankton and mesozooplankton abundance and composition was conducted in distinct water types and across frontal boundaries identified from the high-resolution data. The distributions of bowhead whales were documented using aerial surveys. Inter-annual and shorter-term (days to weeks) variability in the distribution of water masses and intrinsic biological properties was observed. Distinct hydrographic and biological-chemical regions were located across the shelf that may contribute to the formation of bowhead whale prey aggregations. The lagoon system is an important interface between the ocean and land and may be critical to the formation of nearshore bowhead whale prey aggregations. Results from the field sampling will be coupled to biological-physical modeling and retrospective analyses to understand the response of this complex environment-whale-human system to climate variability.

  14. What's the catch? Validity of whaling data for Japanese catches of sperm whales in the North Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Clapham, Phillip J

    2015-07-01

    The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch statistics for Japanese pelagic (factory fleet) whaling operations. Here, we use data of known reliability from Soviet whaling industry reports to show that body lengths reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japanese factory fleets for female sperm whales caught in the North Pacific are not credible. In 1968/1969, Japanese whaling fleets in the North Pacific killed 1568 females, of which 1525 (97.3%) were reported as being at or above the IWC's minimum length of 11.6 m (legal-sized females, LSFs). By contrast, Soviet fleets operating during this period killed 12 578 females; only 824 (6.6%) were LSFs. Adjusting for effort, catches of LSFs were up to 9.1 times higher for Japan compared with the USSR, and even higher for very large females. Dramatic differences in body length statistics were evident when both nations operated in the same area. Significantly, the frequency of LSFs and very large females in the Japanese catch markedly declined after the IWC's International Observer Scheme in 1972 made illegal whaling more difficult. We conclude that the Japanese length data reflect systematic falsification of catch statistics submitted to the IWC, with serious implications for the reliability of data used in current population assessments. The apparent ease with which catch data were falsified in the past underscores the necessity of transparent and independent inspection procedures in any future commercial whaling.

  15. Taxonomy Icon Data: blue whale [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available blue whale Balaenoptera musculus Chordata/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Theria/Eutheria/Cetacea Balaenoptera..._musculus_L.png Balaenoptera_musculus_NL.png Balaenoptera_musculus_S.png Balaenoptera_musculu...s_NS.png http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=L http://biosciencedbc.jp/...taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=NL http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxon...omy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=NS ...

  16. 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....... It is therefore a suitable organism for testing this hypothesis. We compared a global dataset of the complete mitochondrial genomes of 139 individuals for amino acid changes that were associated with radical physico-chemical property changes and were influenced by positive selection. Two such selected non...

  17. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  18. Demography of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fujiwara, M; Caswell, H

    2001-11-29

    Northern right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) were formerly abundant in the northwestern Atlantic, but by 1900 they had been hunted to near extinction. After the end of commercial whaling the population was thought to be recovering slowly; however, evidence indicates that it has been declining since about 1990 (ref. 1). There are now fewer than 300 individuals, and the species may already be functionally extinct owing to demographic stochasticity or the difficulty of females locating mates in the vast Atlantic Ocean (Allee effect). Using a data set containing over 10,000 sightings of photographically identified individuals we estimated trends in right whale demographic parameters since 1980. Here we construct, using these estimates, matrix population models allowing us to analyse the causes of right whale imperilment. Mortality has increased, especially among mother whales, causing declines in population growth rate, life expectancy and the mean lifetime number of reproductive events between the period 1980-1995. Increased mortality of mother whales can explain the declining population size, suggesting that the population is not doomed to extinction as a result of the Allee effect. An analysis of extinction time shows that demographic stochasticity has only a small effect, but preventing the deaths of only two female right whales per year would increase the population growth rate to replacement level.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Correction: Two intense decades of 19th century whaling precipitated rapid decline of right whales around New Zealand and east Australia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emma L Carroll

    Full Text Available 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.

  2. Correction: 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.

  3. Joint influence of temperature and ions of metals on level of activity alkaline phosphatase the mucous membrane of intestines beluga, the starlet and their hybrid

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. A. Bednyakov

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available In work joint influence of ions of bivalent metals (Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn and temperatures on level of activity alkaline phosphatase mucous membrane beluga, starlet and their hybrid is shown. Dependence of response of enzyme on action of ions of metals according to their position in a periodic table of chemical elements is shown. The given dependence remains and at temperature change incubation, only at low temperatures the activating effect of metals being in the period beginning is maximum, and at high, is maximum inhibiting effect of metals being in the period end.

  4. How few whales were there after whaling? Inference from contemporary mtDNA diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, J A; Patenaude, N J; Carroll, E L; Baker, C Scott

    2008-01-01

    Reconstructing the history of exploited populations of whales requires fitting a trajectory through at least three points in time: (i) prior to exploitation, when abundance is assumed to be at the maximum allowed by environmental carrying capacity; (ii) the point of minimum abundance or 'bottleneck', usually near the time of protection or the abandonment of the hunt; and (iii) near the present, when protected populations are assumed to have undergone some recovery. As historical abundance is usually unknown, this trajectory must be extrapolated according to a population dynamic model using catch records, an assumed rate of increase and an estimate of current abundance, all of which have received considerable attention by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Relatively little attention has been given to estimating minimum abundance (N(min)), although it is clear that genetic and demographic forces at this point are critical to the potential for recovery or extinction of a local population. We present a general analytical framework to improve estimates of N(min) using the number of mtDNA haplotypes (maternal lineages) surviving in a contemporary population of whales or other exploited species. We demonstrate the informative potential of this parameter as an a posteriori constraint on Bayesian logistic population dynamic models based on the IWC Comprehensive Assessment of the intensively exploited southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) and published surveys of mtDNA diversity for this species. Estimated historical trajectories from all demographic scenarios suggested a substantial loss of mtDNA haplotype richness as a result of 19th century commercial whaling and 20th century illegal whaling by the Soviet Union. However, the relatively high rates of population increase used by the IWC assessment predicted a bottleneck that was implausibly narrow (median, 67 mature females), given our corrected estimates of N(min). Further, high levels of remnant sequence

  5. Review of welfare concerns relating to commercial and special permit (scientific) whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kestin, S C

    2001-03-10

    This paper reviews recent data relating to the efficiency and humaneness of the methods used to kill minke whales in commercial and special permit whaling operations. In the 1980s a grenade-headed harpoon was developed for minke whaling. Most recent results indicate that in the Norwegian industry approximately 60 per cent of whales were considered to be killed immediately by this harpoon, with 40 per cent being wounded. However, in Japanese whaling operations, generally only 30 per cent of whales were killed immediately, with 70 per cent being wounded. In both operations, more than six minutes elapsed before half the wounded whales were pronounced dead, with some whales surviving for more than an hour after being harpooned. Many of the long killing times were associated with a failure of a part of the whaling equipment

  6. 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

  7. Off-Range Beaked Whale Studies (ORBS): Baseline Data and Tagging Development for Northern Bottlenose Whales (Hyperoodon ampulatus) off Jan Mayen, Norway

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Off-Range Beaked Whale Studies (ORBS): Baseline Data...and Tagging Development for Northern Bottlenose Whales (Hyperoodon ampulatus) off Jan Mayen, Norway Patrick Miller Sea Mammal Research Unit... whales are affected by naval sonar is important for the US Navy as information is required for accurate environmental assessments. A number of recent

  8. 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...cascadiaresearch.org Award Number: N00014-14-1-0412 LONG-TERM GOALS Knowledge of the diet of a species is crucial for understanding it’s behavior...activities. Assessing diet for many species of cetaceans is difficult, given that most foraging occurs far below the surface and that stomach

  9. Behavioral Response of Blue Whales to Active Signals

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Aburto, A

    1997-01-01

    The effects of low frequency sound on marine mammals are not well understood. Although baleen whales are known to produce low frequency sounds, very little is known about their auditory sensitivity...

  10. Mid-Frequency Sonar Interactions with Beaked Whales

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Foote, Kenneth G; Feijoo, Gonzalo R; Rye, Kent; Reidenberg, Joy; Hastings, Mardi

    2007-01-01

    The top-level goal of this project is to build an interactive online modeling and visualization system, called the Virtual Beaked Whale, to enable users to predict mid-frequency sonar-induced acoustic...

  11. 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...

  12. New evidence for a South Atlantic stock of humpback whales ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    New evidence for a South Atlantic stock of humpback whales wintering on the Northwest African continental shelf. Koen Van Waerebeek, Abdoulaye Djiba, Jens-Otto Krakstad, Abdellahi Samba Ould Bilal, Idrissa L. Bamy, Amadeu Almeida, Ebou Mass Mbye ...

  13. Reported Causes of Death of Captive Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ridgway, Sam H

    1979-01-01

    Inquiries were made of the six major oceanaria in North America that maintain killer whales to determine sex, date of capture or acquisition, length and weight at acquisition, date of death, length...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Mid-Frequency Sonar Interactions with Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-06-30

    et al. 2006), in the Bahamas and Madeira in 2000 (NOAA 2001, Cox et al. 2006), and in the Canary Islands in 2002 (Proceed. ECS 2004). Cuvier’s beaked...acoustic testing strand whales?" Nature 392. 29 (1998). L. Freitas, "The stranding of three Cuvier’s beaked whales Ziphius caviostris in Madeira ... Madeira , 1999-2002," Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Technical Report. WHOI-2005- 09, 38 pp. (2005). Available online at http://www.whoi.edu

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Cranford et al., 2008b; Cranford et al., 2014; Lancaster et al., 2014; Cranford and Krysl, 2015). The resulting simulations allow us to emulate, for...vibroacoustic toolkit (VTk), we constructed a finite element model of a fin whale head from CT scan data in our library . Our simulation results about...vibroacoustic toolkit (VATk), we constructed a finite element model of a fin whale head from CT scan data in our library . Our simulation results about

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    suspended in its chilled water bath, hopefully within hours of its death . This specimen will provide a unique window into the anatomy and physiology...using hand tools and draft animals with block and tackle, and from the whaling industry. It is a pity that the last published reference on systemic...New York), pp. 65-68. Malakoff, D. (2002). "Suit ties whale deaths to research cruise," in Science, pp. 722-723. McCarthy, E. (2005). International

  19. Japanese Whaling Ships' Sea Surface Temperatures 1946-84.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mierzejewska, Anna W.; Wu, Zhongxiang; Newell, Reginald E.; Miyashita, Tomio

    1997-03-01

    Japanese whaling ship data, a homogeneous dataset mainly covering the southern high-latitude oceans, may be used to fill in gaps in recent sea surface temperature datasets, contributing a fair number of additional observations in this area. The Japanese whaling ship data are treated separately here for the period 1946-84, and they show no significant temperature changes during this period in the main fishing region of 60°-70°S or in the west Pacific warm pool.

  20. Gene-culture coevolution in whales and dolphins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal

    2017-07-24

    Whales and dolphins (Cetacea) have excellent social learning skills as well as a long and strong mother-calf bond. These features produce stable cultures, and, in some species, sympatric groups with different cultures. There is evidence and speculation that this cultural transmission of behavior has affected gene distributions. Culture seems to have driven killer whales into distinct ecotypes, which may be incipient species or subspecies. There are ecotype-specific signals of selection in functional genes that correspond to cultural foraging behavior and habitat use by the different ecotypes. The five species of whale with matrilineal social systems have remarkably low diversity of mtDNA. Cultural hitchhiking, the transmission of functionally neutral genes in parallel with selective cultural traits, is a plausible hypothesis for this low diversity, especially in sperm whales. In killer whales the ecotype divisions, together with founding bottlenecks, selection, and cultural hitchhiking, likely explain the low mtDNA diversity. Several cetacean species show habitat-specific distributions of mtDNA haplotypes, probably the result of mother-offspring cultural transmission of migration routes or destinations. In bottlenose dolphins, remarkable small-scale differences in haplotype distribution result from maternal cultural transmission of foraging methods, and large-scale redistributions of sperm whale cultural clans in the Pacific have likely changed mitochondrial genetic geography. With the acceleration of genomics new results should come fast, but understanding gene-culture coevolution will be hampered by the measured pace of research on the socio-cultural side of cetacean biology.

  1. Gene–culture coevolution in whales and dolphins

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal

    2017-01-01

    Whales and dolphins (Cetacea) have excellent social learning skills as well as a long and strong mother–calf bond. These features produce stable cultures, and, in some species, sympatric groups with different cultures. There is evidence and speculation that this cultural transmission of behavior has affected gene distributions. Culture seems to have driven killer whales into distinct ecotypes, which may be incipient species or subspecies. There are ecotype-specific signals of selection in functional genes that correspond to cultural foraging behavior and habitat use by the different ecotypes. The five species of whale with matrilineal social systems have remarkably low diversity of mtDNA. Cultural hitchhiking, the transmission of functionally neutral genes in parallel with selective cultural traits, is a plausible hypothesis for this low diversity, especially in sperm whales. In killer whales the ecotype divisions, together with founding bottlenecks, selection, and cultural hitchhiking, likely explain the low mtDNA diversity. Several cetacean species show habitat-specific distributions of mtDNA haplotypes, probably the result of mother–offspring cultural transmission of migration routes or destinations. In bottlenose dolphins, remarkable small-scale differences in haplotype distribution result from maternal cultural transmission of foraging methods, and large-scale redistributions of sperm whale cultural clans in the Pacific have likely changed mitochondrial genetic geography. With the acceleration of genomics new results should come fast, but understanding gene–culture coevolution will be hampered by the measured pace of research on the socio-cultural side of cetacean biology. PMID:28739936

  2. 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. © 2014 SETAC.

  3. 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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. 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.

  5. Transient killer whale range - Satellite tagging of West Coast transient killer whales to determine range and movement patterns

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Transient killers whales inhabit the West Coast of the United States. Their range and movement patterns are difficult to ascertain, but are vital to understanding...

  6. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds : implications for anti-predator strategies

    OpenAIRE

    Cure, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo Nuno; Alves, Ana Catarina De Carvalho; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Miller, Patrick

    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 mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-fee...

  7. Hybridization of Southern Hemisphere blue whale subspecies and a sympatric area off Antarctica: impacts of whaling or climate change?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Attard, Catherine R M; Beheregaray, Luciano B; Jenner, K Curt S; Gill, Peter C; Jenner, Micheline-Nicole; Morrice, Margaret G; Robertson, Kelly M; Möller, Luciana M

    2012-12-01

    Understanding the degree of genetic exchange between subspecies and populations is vital for the appropriate management of endangered species. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have two recognized Southern Hemisphere subspecies that show differences in geographic distribution, morphology, vocalizations and genetics. During the austral summer feeding season, the Antarctic blue whale (B. m. intermedia) is found in polar waters and the pygmy blue whale (B. m. brevicauda) in temperate waters. Here, we genetically analyzed samples collected during the feeding season to report on several cases of hybridization between the two recognized blue whale Southern Hemisphere subspecies in a previously unconfirmed sympatric area off Antarctica. This means the pygmy blue whales using waters off Antarctica may migrate and then breed during the austral winter with the Antarctic subspecies. Alternatively, the subspecies may interbreed off Antarctica outside the expected austral winter breeding season. The genetically estimated recent migration rates from the pygmy to Antarctic subspecies were greater than estimates of evolutionary migration rates and previous estimates based on morphology of whaling catches. This discrepancy may be due to differences in the methods or an increase in the proportion of pygmy blue whales off Antarctica within the last four decades. Potential causes for the latter are whaling, anthropogenic climate change or a combination of these and may have led to hybridization between the subspecies. Our findings challenge the current knowledge about the breeding behaviour of the world's largest animal and provide key information that can be incorporated into management and conservation practices for this endangered species. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  8. 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.

  9. Epigenetic estimation of age in humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Polanowski, Andrea M; Robbins, Jooke; Chandler, David; Jarman, Simon N

    2014-09-01

    Age is a fundamental aspect of animal ecology, but is difficult to determine in many species. Humpback whales exemplify this as they have a lifespan comparable to humans, mature sexually as early as 4 years and have no reliable visual age indicators after their first year. Current methods for estimating humpback age cannot be applied to all individuals and populations. Assays for human age have recently been developed based on age-induced changes in DNA methylation of specific genes. We used information on age-associated DNA methylation in human and mouse genes to identify homologous gene regions in humpbacks. Humpback skin samples were obtained from individuals with a known year of birth and employed to calibrate relationships between cytosine methylation and age. Seven of 37 cytosines assayed for methylation level in humpback skin had significant age-related profiles. The three most age-informative cytosine markers were selected for a humpback epigenetic age assay. The assay has an R(2) of 0.787 (P = 3.04e-16) and predicts age from skin samples with a standard deviation of 2.991 years. The epigenetic method correctly determined which of parent-offspring pairs is the parent in more than 93% of cases. To demonstrate the potential of this technique, we constructed the first modern age profile of humpback whales off eastern Australia and compared the results to population structure 5 decades earlier. This is the first epigenetic age estimation method for a wild animal species and the approach we took for developing it can be applied to many other nonmodel organisms. © 2014 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. 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.

  11. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: implications for anti-predator strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick 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 mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-feeding killer whales and monitoring behavioural responses using multi-sensor tags. Our results suggest that, rather than taking advantage of their large aerobic capacities to dive away from the perceived predator, sperm whales responded to killer whale playbacks by interrupting their foraging or resting dives and returning to the surface, changing their vocal production, and initiating a surprising degree of social behaviour in these mostly solitary animals. Thus, the interception of predator vocalizations by male sperm whales disrupted functional behaviours and mediated previously unrecognized anti-predator responses.

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. Responses of Whales to Experimental Playback of Low Frequency Sound from the Navy SURTASS LFA

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Tyack, Peter

    1998-01-01

    .... The study involved three different field studies: the first phase involved fin and blue whales feeding in the Southern California Bight, the second phase involved gray whales migrating past the California coast and the third phase involved humpback...

  15. 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...

  16. Interactions Among Behavioral Responses of Baleen Whales to Acoustic Stimuli, Oceanographic Features, and Prey Availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-05-31

    obtain empirical synoptic measurements of the fine-scale prey distribution and whale diving and foraging behavior in order to understand baleeen whale...including military sonar, on these animals. OBJECTIVES The overall objectives of this multi-year study are to obtain empirical synoptic measurements of...whales and 1 fin whale in 2014 (including controls). Table 1. Species tagged and prey-mapping type through 2014. Largest data gaps include real Naw

  17. Baseline Behavior of Pilot Whales and their Responses to Playback of Anthropogenic and Natural Sounds

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    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 investigates the social ecology and baseline behavior of pilot whales , and their responses to anthropogenic...and estimating a robust quantification of group cohesion  Conduct playback experiments to study responses of tagged whales to sounds of killer whales

  18. Thermal Imaging and Biometrical Thermography of Humpback Whales

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Travis W. Horton

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Determining species' distributions through time and space remains a primary challenge in cetacean science and conservation. For example, many whales migrate thousands of kilometers every year between remote seasonal habitats along migratory corridors that cross major shipping lanes and intensively harvested fisheries, creating a dynamic spatial and temporal context that conservation decisions must take into account. Technological advances enabling automated whale detection have the potential to dramatically improve our knowledge of when and where whales are located, presenting opportunities to help minimize adverse human-whale interactions. Using thermographic data we show that near-horizontal (i.e., high zenith angle infrared images of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae blows, dorsal fins, flukes and rostrums record similar magnitude brightness temperature anomalies relative to the adjacent ocean surface. Our results demonstrate that these anomalies are similar in both low latitude and high latitude environments despite a ~16°C difference in ocean surface temperature between study areas. We show that these similarities occur in both environments due to emissivity effects associated with oblique target imaging, rather than differences in cetacean thermoregulation. The consistent and reproducible brightness temperature anomalies we report provide important quantitative constraints that will help facilitate the development of transient temperature anomaly detection algorithms in diverse marine environments. Thermographic videography coupled with laser range finding further enables calculation of whale blow velocity, demonstrating that biometrical measurements are possible for near-horizontal datasets that otherwise suffer from emissivity effects. The thermographic research we present creates a platform for the delivery of three important contributions to cetacean conservation: (1 non-invasive species-level identifications based on whale blow

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Interactions among Behavioral Responses of Baleen Whales to Acoustic Stimuli, Oceanographic Features, and Prey Availability

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    whale feeding kinematics. Results from pitch and roll models indicate that whales are more acrobatic when foraging on less dense patches (Figure 6...R., and Tershy, B.R. 2005. From wind to whales: trophic links in a coastal upwelling system. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 289: 117– 130. Doniol-Valcroze

  2. Behavioral and Physiological Response of Baleen Whales to Ships and Ship Noise

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Behavioral and physiological response of baleen whales to...and physiological response of baleen whales to ships and ship noise off California using a combination of opportunistic and controlled research. Ship...Our objectives include: 1. Determine behavioral response (avoidance and changes in dive behavior) of blue whales and other large mystecetes to

  3. 76 FR 42082 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; False Killer Whale Take...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-18

    ... Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan AGENCY...: NMFS announces the availability of a Draft False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan developed by the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team. This proposed rule would implement the proposed False Killer...

  4. 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…

  5. 75 FR 23247 - International Whaling Commission; 62nd Annual Meeting; Nominations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-03

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XV73 International Whaling Commission; 62nd Annual... nominees for the U.S. Delegation to the June 2010 International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting... under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. IWC Commissioner has...

  6. 76 FR 34209 - International Whaling Commission; 63rd Annual Meeting; Nominations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-06-13

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA486 International Whaling Commission; 63rd... a call for nominees for the U.S. Delegation to the July 2011 International Whaling Commission (IWC... obligations of the United States under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U...

  7. 76 FR 30921 - International Whaling Commission; 63rd Annual Meeting; Announcement of Public Meetings

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-27

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA459 International Whaling Commission; 63rd... annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting. DATES: The public meetings will be held June 14... International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. Commissioner has responsibility for the...

  8. 75 FR 23242 - International Whaling Commission; 62nd Annual Meeting; Announcement of Public Meetings

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-03

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XV74 International Whaling Commission; 62nd Annual... International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting. DATES: The public meetings will be held May 20 and May 26, 2010... the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. Commissioner has responsibility for the preparation and...

  9. 77 FR 19646 - International Whaling Commission; 64th Annual Meeting; Nominations

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-02

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XB127 International Whaling Commission; 64th... a call for nominees for the U.S. Delegation to the July 2012 International Whaling Commission (IWC... International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. IWC Commissioner has responsibility for...

  10. 77 FR 25408 - International Whaling Commission; 64th Annual Meeting; Announcement of Public Meetings

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-30

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XB150 International Whaling Commission; 64th... annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting. DATES: The public meeting will be held June 5... the United States under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946. The U.S. IWC...

  11. The Population Consequences of Disturbance Model Application to North Atlantic Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Application to North Atlantic Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis) Scott D. Kraus Vice President of Research New England Aquarium Central Wharf, Boston...physiology, and the revised approach is called PCOD (Population Consequences Of Disturbance). In North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis...visual observations of health, human impacts (including entanglements and ship strikes), and whale locations to provide estimates of true underlying

  12. Estimation of southern resident killer whale exposure to exhaust emissions from whale-watching vessels and potential adverse health effects and toxicity thresholds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lachmuth, Cara L; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; Steyn, D Q; Milsom, William K

    2011-04-01

    Southern resident killer whales in British Columbia and Washington are exposed to heavy vessel traffic. This study investigates their exposure to exhaust gases from whale-watching vessels by using a simple dispersion model incorporating data on whale and vessel behavior, atmospheric conditions, and output of airborne pollutants from the whale-watching fleet based on emissions data from regulatory agencies. Our findings suggest that current whale-watching guidelines are usually effective in limiting pollutant exposure to levels at or just below those at which measurable adverse health effects would be expected in killer whales. However, safe pollutant levels are exceeded under worst-case conditions and certain average-case conditions. To reduce killer whale exposure to exhaust we recommend: vessels position on the downwind side of whales, a maximum of 20 whale-watching vessels should be within 800 m at any given time, viewing periods should be limited, and current whale-watch guidelines and laws should be enforced. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  13. Long-term and large-scale epidemiology of Brucella infection in baleen whales and sperm whales in the western North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ohishi, Kazue; Bando, Takeharu; Abe, Erika; Kawai, Yasushi; Fujise, Yoshihiro; Maruyama, Tadashi

    2016-10-01

    In a long-term, large-scale serologic study in the western North Pacific Ocean, anti-Brucella antibodies were detected in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the 1994-2010 offshore surveys (21%, 285/1353) and in the 2006-2010 Japanese coastal surveys (20%, 86/436), in Bryde's whales (B. edeni brydei) in the 2000-2010 offshore surveys (9%, 49/542), in sei whales (B. borealis) in the 2002-2010 offshore surveys (5%, 40/788) and in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the 2000-2010 offshore surveys (8%, 4/50). Anti-Brucella antibodies were not detected in 739 Antarctic minke whales (B. bonaerensis) in the 2000-2010 Antarctic surveys. This suggests that Brucella was present in the four large whale populations inhabiting the western North Pacific, but not in the Antarctic minke whale population. By PCR targeting for genes of outer membrane protein 2, the Brucella infection was confirmed in tissue DNA samples from Bryde's whales (14%, 2/14), sei whales (11%, 1/9) and sperm whales (50%, 2/4). A placental tissue and an apparently healthy fetus from a sperm whale were found to be PCR-positive, indicating that placental transmission might have occurred and the newborn could act as a bacterial reservoir. Marked granulomatous testes were observed only in mature animals of the three species of baleen whales in the western North Pacific offshore surveys, especially in common minke whales, and 29% (307/1064) of total mature males had abnormal testes. This study provides an insight into the status of marine Brucella infection at a global level.

  14. Long-term and large-scale epidemiology of Brucella infection in baleen whales and sperm whales in the western North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    OHISHI, Kazue; BANDO, Takeharu; ABE, Erika; KAWAI, Yasushi; FUJISE, Yoshihiro; MARUYAMA, Tadashi

    2016-01-01

    In a long-term, large-scale serologic study in the western North Pacific Ocean, anti-Brucella antibodies were detected in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the 1994–2010 offshore surveys (21%, 285/1353) and in the 2006–2010 Japanese coastal surveys (20%, 86/436), in Bryde’s whales (B. edeni brydei) in the 2000–2010 offshore surveys (9%, 49/542), in sei whales (B. borealis) in the 2002–2010 offshore surveys (5%, 40/788) and in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the 2000–2010 offshore surveys (8%, 4/50). Anti-Brucella antibodies were not detected in 739 Antarctic minke whales (B. bonaerensis) in the 2000–2010 Antarctic surveys. This suggests that Brucella was present in the four large whale populations inhabiting the western North Pacific, but not in the Antarctic minke whale population. By PCR targeting for genes of outer membrane protein 2, the Brucella infection was confirmed in tissue DNA samples from Bryde’s whales (14%, 2/14), sei whales (11%, 1/9) and sperm whales (50%, 2/4). A placental tissue and an apparently healthy fetus from a sperm whale were found to be PCR-positive, indicating that placental transmission might have occurred and the newborn could act as a bacterial reservoir. Marked granulomatous testes were observed only in mature animals of the three species of baleen whales in the western North Pacific offshore surveys, especially in common minke whales, and 29% (307/1064) of total mature males had abnormal testes. This study provides an insight into the status of marine Brucella infection at a global level. PMID:27320816

  15. The hunting of the Greenland right whale in Svalbard, its interaction with climate and its impact on the marine ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hacquebord, L

    1999-01-01

    During the 17th and 18th centuries, tens of thousands of Greenland right whales were killed as a result of extensive European whaling in the coastal waters of the Svalbard archipelago. The author reconstructed these whaling activities, examined how the changing climate affected whaling productivity,

  16. WHALE, a management tool for Tier-2 LCG sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barone, L. M.; Organtini, G.; Talamo, I. G.

    2012-12-01

    The LCG (Worldwide LHC Computing Grid) is a grid-based hierarchical computing distributed facility, composed of more than 140 computing centers, organized in 4 tiers, by size and offer of services. Every site, although indipendent for many technical choices, has to provide services with a well-defined set of interfaces. For this reason, different LCG sites need frequently to manage very similar situations, like jobs behaviour on the batch system, dataset transfers between sites, operating system and experiment software installation and configuration, monitoring of services. In this context we created WHALE (WHALE Handles Administration in an LCG Environment), a software actually used at the T2_IT_Rome site, an LCG Tier-2 for the CMS experiment. WHALE is a generic, site independent tool written in Python: it allows administrator to interact in a uniform and coherent way with several subsystems using a high level syntax which hides specific commands. The architecture of WHALE is based on the plugin concept and on the possibility of connecting the output of a plugin to the input of the next one, in a pipe-like system, giving the administrator the possibility of making complex functions by combining the simpler ones. The core of WHALE just handles the plugin orchestrations, while even the basic functions (eg. the WHALE activity logging) are performed by plugins, giving the capability to tune and possibly modify every component of the system. WHALE already provides many plugins useful for a LCG site and some more for a Tier-2 of the CMS experiment, especially in the field of job management, dataset transfer and analysis of performance results and availability tests (eg. Nagios tests, SAM tests). Thanks to its architecture and the provided plugins WHALE makes easy to perform tasks that, even if logically simple, are technically complex or tedious, like eg. closing all the worker nodes with a job-failure rate greater than a given threshold. Finally, thanks to the

  17. 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.

  18. Acoustic backscatter at a Red Sea whale shark aggregation site

    KAUST Repository

    Hozumi, Aya

    2018-03-28

    An aggregation of sexually immature whale sharks occurs at a coastal submerged reef near the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast each spring. We tested the hypothesis that these megaplanktivores become attracted to a prey biomass peak coinciding with their aggregation. Acoustic backscatter of the water column at 120 kHz and 333 kHz –a proxy for potential prey biomass –was continuously measured spanning the period prior to, during, and subsequent to the seasonal whale shark aggregations. No peak in acoustic backscatter was observed at the time of the aggregation. However, we observed a decrease in acoustic backscatter in the last days of deployment, which coincided the trailing end of whale shark season. Organisms forming the main scattering layer performed inverse diel vertical migration, with backscatter peaking at mid-depths during the day and in the deeper half of the water column at night. Target strength analyses suggested the backscatter was likely composed of fish larvae. Subsurface foraging behavior of the whale sharks within this aggregation has not been described, yet this study does not support the hypothesis that seasonal peaks in local whale shark abundance correspond to similar peaks in prey availability.

  19. Icelandic herring-eating killer whales feed at night.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard, Gaëtan; Filatova, Olga A; Samarra, Filipa I P; Fedutin, Ivan D; Lammers, Marc; Miller, Patrick J

    2017-01-01

    Herring-eating killer whales debilitate herring with underwater tail slaps and likely herd herring into tighter schools using a feeding-specific low-frequency pulsed call ('herding' call). Feeding on herring may be dependent upon daylight, as the whales use their white underside to help herd herring; however, feeding at night has not been investigated. The production of feeding-specific sounds provides an opportunity to use passive acoustic monitoring to investigate feeding behaviour at different times of day. We compared the acoustic behaviour of killer whales between day and night, using an autonomous recorder deployed in Iceland during winter. Based upon acoustic detection of underwater tail slaps used to feed upon herring we found that killer whales fed both at night and day: they spent 50% of their time at night and 73% of daytime feeding. Interestingly, there was a significant diel variation in acoustic behaviour. Herding calls were significantly associated with underwater tail slap rate and were recorded significantly more often at night, suggesting that in low-light conditions killer whales rely more on acoustics to herd herring. Communicative sounds were also related to underwater tail slap rate and produced at different rates during day and night. The capability to adapt feeding behaviour to different light conditions may be particularly relevant for predator species occurring in high latitudes during winter, when light availability is limited.

  20. Hearing Loss in Stranded Odontocete Dolphins and Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, David; Hill-Cook, Mandy; Manire, Charles; Greenhow, Danielle; Montie, Eric; Powell, Jessica; Wells, Randall; Bauer, Gordon; Cunningham-Smith, Petra; Lingenfelser, Robert; DiGiovanni, Robert; Stone, Abigale; Brodsky, Micah; Stevens, Robert; Kieffer, George; Hoetjes, Paul

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:21072206

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Abundance, trends and distribution of baleen whales off Western Alaska and the central Aleutian Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zerbini, Alexandre N.; Waite, Janice M.; Laake, Jeffrey L.; Wade, Paul R.

    2006-11-01

    Large whales were extensively hunted in coastal waters off Alaska, but current distribution, population sizes and trends are poorly known. Line transect surveys were conducted in coastal waters of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula in the summer of 2001-2003. Abundances of three species were estimated by conventional and multiple covariate distance sampling (MCDS) methods. Time series of abundance estimates were used to derive rates of increase for fin whales ( Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae). Fin whales occurred primarily from the Kenai Peninsula to the Shumagin Islands, but were abundant only near the Semidi Islands and Kodiak. Humpback whales were found from the Kenai Peninsula to Umnak Island and were more abundant near Kodiak, the Shumagin Islands and north of Unimak Pass. Minke whales ( B. acutorostrata) occurred primarily in the Aleutian Islands, with a few sightings south of the Alaska Peninsula and near Kodiak Island. Humpback whales were observed in large numbers in their former whaling grounds. In contrast, high densities of fin whales were not observed around the eastern Aleutian Islands, where whaling occurred. Average abundance estimates (95% CI) for fin, humpback and minke whales were 1652 (1142-2389), 2644 (1899-3680), and 1233 (656-2315), respectively. Annual rates of increase were estimated at 4.8% (95% CI=4.1-5.4%) for fin and 6.6% (5.2-8.6%) for humpback whales. This study provides the first estimate of the rate of increase of fin whales in the North Pacific Ocean. The estimated trends are consistent with those of other recovering baleen whales. There were no sightings of blue or North Pacific right whales, indicating the continued depleted status of these species.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pershing, Andrew J; Christensen, Line B; Record, Nicholas R; Sherwood, Graham D; Stetson, Peter B

    2010-08-26

    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. 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. 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.

  7. Chromium Is Elevated in Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Skin Tissue and Is Genotoxic to Fin Whale Skin Cells

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wise, Catherine F.; Wise, Sandra S.; Thompson, W. Douglas; Perkins, Christopher; Wise, John Pierce

    2015-01-01

    Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is present in the marine environment and is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxicant. Cr(VI) is the form of chromium that is well absorbed through the cell membrane. It is also the most prevalent form in seawater. We measured the total Cr levels in skin biopsies obtained from healthy free-ranging fin whales from the Gulf of Maine and found elevated levels relative to marine mammals in other parts of the world. The levels in fin whale biopsies ranged from 1.71 ug/g to 19.6 ug/g with an average level of 10.07 ug/g. We also measured the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of Cr(VI) in fin whale skin cells. We found that particulate and soluble Cr(VI) are both cytotoxic and genotoxic to fin whale skin cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The concentration range used in our cell culture studies used environmentally relevant concentrations based on the biopsy measurements. These data suggest that Cr(VI) may be a concern for whales in the Gulf of Maine. PMID:25805270

  8. Context-dependent lateralized feeding strategies in blue whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedlaender, Ari S; Herbert-Read, James E; Hazen, Elliott L; Cade, David E; Calambokidis, John; Southall, Brandon L; Stimpert, Alison K; Goldbogen, Jeremy A

    2017-11-20

    Lateralized behaviors benefit individuals by increasing task efficiency in foraging and anti-predator behaviors [1-4]. The conventional lateralization paradigm suggests individuals are left or right lateralized, although the direction of this laterality can vary for different tasks (e.g. foraging or predator inspection/avoidance). By fitting tri-axial movement sensors to blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), and by recording the direction and size of their rolls during lunge feeding events, we show how these animals differ from such a paradigm. The strength and direction of individuals' lateralization were related to where and how the whales were feeding in the water column. Smaller rolls (≤180°) predominantly occurred at depth (>70 m), with whales being more likely to rotate clockwise around their longest axis (right lateralized). Larger rolls (>180°), conversely, occurred more often at shallower depths (feeding strategies may enhance foraging efficiency in environments with heterogeneous prey distributions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Besseling, E; Foekema, E M; Van Franeker, J A; Leopold, M F; Kühn, S; Bravo Rebolledo, E L; Heße, E; Mielke, L; IJzer, J; Kamminga, P; Koelmans, A A

    2015-06-15

    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 intestines of a baleen whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Contents of its gastrointestinal tract were sieved, dissolved in 10% potassium hydroxide and washed. From the remaining dried material, potential synthetic polymer particles were selected based on density and appearance, and analysed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Several polymer types (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinylchloride, polyethylene terephthalate, nylon) were found, in varying particle shapes: sheets, fragments and threads with a size of 1mm to 17cm. This diversity in polymer types and particle shapes, can be interpreted as a representation of the varying characteristics of marine plastic and the unselective way of ingestion by M. novaeangliae. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Sounds produced by Norwegian killer whales, Orcinus orca, during capture

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Parijs, Sofie M.; Leyssen, Teo; Similä, Tiu

    2004-07-01

    To date very little is still known about the acoustic behavior of Norwegian killer whales, in particular that of individual whales. In this study a unique opportunity was presented to document the sounds produced by five captured killer whales in the Vestfjord area, northern Norway. Individuals produced 14 discrete and 7 compound calls. Two call types were used both by individuals 16178 and 23365 suggesting that they may belong to the same pod. Comparisons with calls documented in Strager (1993) showed that none of the call types used by the captured individuals were present. The lack of these calls in the available literature suggests that call variability within individuals is likely to be large. This short note adds to our knowledge of the vocal repertoire of this population and demonstrates the need for further studies to provide behavioural context to these sounds.

  11. Offshore killer whale tracking using multiple hydrophone arrays.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gassmann, Martin; Henderson, E Elizabeth; Wiggins, Sean M; Roch, Marie A; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-11-01

    To study delphinid near surface movements and behavior, two L-shaped hydrophone arrays and one vertical hydrophone line array were deployed at shallow depths (killer whales (Orcinus orca) using their emitted clicks. In addition, killer whale pulsed calls and high-frequency modulated (HFM) signals were localized using other standard techniques. Based on these tracks sound source levels for the killer whales were estimated. The peak to peak source levels for echolocation clicks vary between 170-205 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, for HFM calls between 185-193 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, and for pulsed calls between 146-158 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m.

  12. Migration of Antarctic minke whales to the Arctic.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kevin A Glover

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available The Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis, and the common minke whale found in the North Atlantic (Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata, undertake synchronized seasonal migrations to feeding areas at their respective poles during spring, and to the tropics in the autumn where they overwinter. Differences in the timing of seasons between hemispheres prevent these species from mixing. Here, based upon analysis of mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA profiles, we report the observation of a single B. bonaerensis in 1996, and a hybrid with maternal contribution from B. bonaerensis in 2007, in the Arctic Northeast Atlantic. Paternal contribution was not conclusively resolved. This is the first documentation of B. bonaerensis north of the tropics, and, the first documentation of hybridization between minke whale species.

  13. 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 R

    2017-08-01

    A cap-and-trade 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, about which little is known. This lack of knowledge makes it difficult to predict the outcome of a hypothetical whale permit market. We developed a bioeconomic model to evaluate the influence of economic uncertainty about demand for whale conservation or harvest. We used 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. Uncertainty variables were slope of whaling and conservation demand, participation level of conservationists and their willingness to pay for whale conservation, and functional forms of demand, including linear, quadratic, and log-linear forms. A whale-conservation market had the potential to yield a wide range of conservation and harvest outcomes, the most likely outcomes were those in which conservationists bought all whale permits. © 2017 Society for Conservation Biology.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Laser photogrammetry improves size and demographic estimates for whale sharks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richardson, Anthony J.; Prebble, Clare E.M.; Marshall, Andrea D.; Bennett, Michael B.; Weeks, Scarla J.; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P.; Pierce, Simon J.

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:25870776

  17. 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.

  18. 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...... Denmark may unveil the origin of deep diving in the family. This project had two mains objectives. First, describing a new fossil specimen from the Miocene of Denmark. Second, investigating deep diving abilities in extinct beaked whales. The fossil specimen represent a new genus and species of Ziphiidae...

  19. Adaptive prolonged postreproductive life span in killer whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, Emma A; Franks, Daniel W; Mazzi, Sonia; Darden, Safi K; Balcomb, Ken C; Ford, John K B; Croft, Darren P

    2012-09-14

    Prolonged life after reproduction is difficult to explain evolutionarily unless it arises as a physiological side effect of increased longevity or it benefits related individuals (i.e., increases inclusive fitness). There is little evidence that postreproductive life spans are adaptive in nonhuman animals. By using multigenerational records for two killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations in which females can live for decades after their final parturition, we show that postreproductive mothers increase the survival of offspring, particularly their older male offspring. This finding may explain why female killer whales have evolved the longest postreproductive life span of all nonhuman animals.

  20. Affects of Changes in Sea Ice Cover on Bowhead Whales and Subsistence Whaling in the Western Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, S.; Suydam, R.; Overland, J.; Laidre, K.; George, J.; Demaster, D.

    2004-12-01

    Global warming may disproportionately affect Arctic marine mammals and disrupt traditional subsistence hunting activities. Based upon analyses of a 24-year time series (1979-2002) of satellite-derived sea ice cover, we identified significant positive trends in the amount of open-water in three large and five small-scale regions in the western Arctic, including habitats where bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) feed or are suspected to feed. Bowheads are the only mysticete whale endemic to the Arctic and a cultural keystone species for Native peoples from northwestern Alaska and Chukotka, Russia. While copepods (Calanus spp.) are a mainstay of the bowhead diet, prey sampling conducted in the offshore region of northern Chukotka and stomach contents from whales harvested offshore of the northern Alaskan coast indicate that euphausiids (Thysanoessa spp.) advected from the Bering Sea are also common prey in autumn. Early departure of sea ice has been posited to control availability of zooplankton in the southeastern Bering Sea and in the Cape Bathurst polynya in the southeastern Canadian Beaufort Sea, with maximum secondary production associated with a late phytoplankton bloom in insolatoin-stratified open water. While it is unclear if declining sea-ice has directly affected production or advection of bowhead prey, an extension of the open-water season increases opportunities for Native subsistence whaling in autumn. Therefore, bowhead whales may provide a nexus for simultaneous exploration of the effects sea ice reduction on pagophillic marine mammals and on the social systems of the subsistence hunting community in the western Arctic. The NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center and NSB/Department of Wildlife Management will investigate bowhead whale stock identity, seasonal distribution and subsistence use patterns during the International Polar Year, as an extension of research planned for 2005-06. This research is in response to recommendations from the Scientific

  1. 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. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  2. 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.

  3. Observed foraging behaviour of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the northwest Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, T. S.; Lawson, J. W.; Kenney, R.

    2016-02-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the northwest Atlantic have been observed feeding on a variety of prey types with >35 cases of confirmed consumption and >55 other interactions since 1866. They have been documented harassing, attacking, and eating minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), dolphins, porpoises, seals, tuna, birds, and other prey. However, it remains unknown whether killer whales are prey specialists in this region. It is likely that distribution, movement, and residency patterns of killer whales are linked to those of their prey. Some killer whales appear to remain year-round in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and have been sighted during the spring within pack ice, potentially feeding on breeding seals. Killer whales in southern areas, such as the Gulf of Maine, are sighted less frequently and have historically been in association with Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus). A majority of successful and confirmed attacks involve minke whales in NL during the summer months, suggesting that minke whales may be one of the most important prey for killer whales in this region. Killer whales are apex predators and so detailing their foraging behaviour in the northwest Atlantic is critical for assessing their influence in this marine ecosystem.

  4. Southern right whales Eubalaena australis visit the coasts of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    spamer

    Monthly photogrammetric surveys in 1988 and 1989 provide information on resi- dence times of cow-calf pairs at (and dispersal rates from) the De Hoop region. Such information on the coastal distribution, move- ments and site fidelity of right whales over the last. 20–30 years could form useful baseline data against which to ...

  5. Analysis of humpback whale sounds in shallow waters of the ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Acoustic parameters; breeding habitat; humpback whale; phrases; sound units; thematic structure. Published online: 27 April 2015 ... ed against a standard sensor at the underwater Acoustic Test. Facility of NIOT, which is the only ..... Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University. Papastavrou V 1995 Soviets ...

  6. The origin and early evolution of whales: macroevolution ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Prakash

    2009-10-29

    Oct 29, 2009 ... studies of modern animals can be used to understand fossil morphologies, and how understanding of fossil morphologies leads to insights regarding modern functional morphology and enriches understanding of developmental biological patterns. 2. Whales are mammals. Cetacea are an order of placental ...

  7. Trends and interventions in large whale entanglement along the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Generalised linear models with a Poisson or quasi-Poisson distribution were used to describe the relationship between the number of incidents and time. Taking into account the combined length of shark-net installations per year as an offset variable, entanglement of humpback whales in shark nets increased at 15.1% per ...

  8. 75 FR 2853 - False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-19

    ... members of TRTs have expertise regarding the conservation or biology of the marine mammal species that the... Mammal Commission; Paul Nachtigall, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology; David Nichols, State of Hawaii... Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and...

  9. 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...

  10. Commercially caught sperm whales Physeter catodon have been a ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    spamer

    Commercially caught sperm whales Physeter catodon have been a source of information about the cephalopods in their diet in many parts of the world. (Clarke 1980, 1986a, 1996), including New Zealand. (Gaskin and Cawthorn 1967a, b) and the Tasman Sea. (Clarke and MacLeod 1982). However, where there are.

  11. The origin and early evolution of whales: macroevolution ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2009-10-29

    Oct 29, 2009 ... The origin of whales (order Cetacea) from a four-footed land animal is one of the best understood examples of macroevolutionary change. This evolutionary transition has been substantially elucidated by fossil finds from the Indian subcontinent in the past decade and a half. Here, we review the first steps of ...

  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

  13. Whistle sequences in wild killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riesch, Rüdiger; Ford, John K B; Thomsen, Frank

    2008-09-01

    Combining different stereotyped vocal signals into specific sequences increases the range of information that can be transferred between individuals. The temporal emission pattern and the behavioral context of vocal sequences have been described in detail for a variety of birds and mammals. Yet, in cetaceans, the study of vocal sequences is just in its infancy. Here, we provide a detailed analysis of sequences of stereotyped whistles in killer whales off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A total of 1140 whistle transitions in 192 whistle sequences recorded from resident killer whales were analyzed using common spectrographic analysis techniques. In addition to the stereotyped whistles described by Riesch et al., [(2006). "Stability and group specificity of stereotyped whistles in resident killer whales, Orcinus orca, off British Columbia," Anim. Behav. 71, 79-91.] We found a new and rare stereotyped whistle (W7) as well as two whistle elements, which are closely linked to whistle sequences: (1) stammers and (2) bridge elements. Furthermore, the frequency of occurrence of 12 different stereotyped whistle types within the sequences was not randomly distributed and the transition patterns between whistles were also nonrandom. Finally, whistle sequences were closely tied to close-range behavioral interactions (in particular among males). Hence, we conclude that whistle sequences in wild killer whales are complex signal series and propose that they are most likely emitted by single individuals.

  14. FWFusion: Fuzzy Whale Fusion model for MRI multimodal image ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Hanmant Venketrao Patil

    2018-03-14

    Mar 14, 2018 ... Optimization Algorithm (WOA) and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) for the effective selection of whale fusion factors. The performance of FWFusion model is compared to those of the existing strategies using Mutual. Information (MI), Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) and Root Mean Squared Error ...

  15. The origin and early evolution of whales: macroevolution ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Prakash

    2009-10-29

    Oct 29, 2009 ... The origin and early evolution of whales: macroevolution documented on the Indian Subcontinent. 683. J. Biosci. 34(5), November 2009. (ossicles): malleus, incus, and stapes, located in the middle ear. These ossicles form a lever system that leads to efficient sound transmission. Vibrations in the bones of ...

  16. Analysis of humpback whale sounds in shallow waters

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    The primary objective of this work was to present the acoustical identification of humpback whales, detected by using an autonomous ambient noise measurement system, deployed in the shallow waters of the Southeastern Arabian Sea (SEAS) during the period January to May 2011. Seven types of sounds were detected.

  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. Recurring patterns in the songs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Green, Sean R; Mercado, Eduardo; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2011-02-01

    Humpback whales, unlike most mammalian species, learn new songs as adults. Populations of singers progressively and collectively change the sounds and patterns within their songs throughout their lives and across generations. In this study, humpback whale songs recorded in Hawaii from 1985 to 1995 were analyzed using self-organizing maps (SOMs) to classify the sounds within songs, and to identify sound patterns that were present across multiple years. These analyses supported the hypothesis that recurring, persistent patterns exist within whale songs, and that these patterns are defined at least in part by acoustic relationships between adjacent sounds within songs. Sound classification based on acoustic differences between adjacent sounds yielded patterns within songs that were more consistent from year to year than classifications based on the properties of single sounds. Maintenance of fixed ratios of acoustic modulation across sounds, despite large variations in individual sounds, suggests intrinsic constraints on how sounds change within songs. Such acoustically invariant cues may enable whales to recognize and assess variations in songs despite propagation-related distortion of individual sounds and yearly changes in songs. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Reproduction, growth and migrations of sei whales Balaenoptera ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    During the northward migration (May–July), fewer whales were taken in water shallower than 2 000 m than in the southern migration, and the catch was largely composed of immatures. The few adult males taken at that time of year had significantly heavier testes than males of an equivalent size on the southern migration.

  20. Declining survival probability threatens the North Atlantic right whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caswell, H; Fujiwara, M; Brault, S

    1999-03-16

    The North Atlantic northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is considered the most endangered large whale species. Its population has recovered only slowly since the cessation of commercial whaling and numbers about 300 individuals. We applied mark-recapture statistics to a catalog of photographically identified individuals to obtain the first statistically rigorous estimates of survival probability for this population. Crude survival decreased from about 0.99 per year in 1980 to about 0.94 in 1994. We combined this survival trend with a reported decrease in reproductive rate into a branching process model to compute population growth rate and extinction probability. Population growth rate declined from about 1. 053 in 1980 to about 0.976 in 1994. Under current conditions the population is doomed to extinction; an upper bound on the expected time to extinction is 191 years. The most effective way to improve the prospects of the population is to reduce mortality. The right whale is at risk from entanglement in fishing gear and from collisions with ships. Reducing this human-caused mortality is essential to the viability of this population.

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    tracking (DCLT) of individual whales was created using Matlab (Mathworks) (Figure 1). The GUI enables simplified processing of time synchronized audio...software package was modified to include a multihypothesis tracker. A Graphic User Interface ( GUI ) for detection, classification, localization and...wav-format recordings from AUTEC hydrophone arrays. The GUI provides options for manual verification and automated processing. This enables the user

  3. Natural markings of Cuvier's beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris in the ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Results showed that Cuvier's beaked whales were extensively marked (96% of population; mean = 48 marks per individual, range 0–169), with up to 10 different mark types. However, only five mark types should be considered reliable: notch, large scar, back indentation, medium scrape and large stripe. Marks caused by ...

  4. Ancient whales did not filter feed with their teeth.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hocking, David P; Marx, Felix G; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Evans, Alistair R

    2017-08-01

    The origin of baleen whales (Mysticeti), the largest animals on Earth, is closely tied to their signature filter-feeding strategy. Unlike their modern relatives, archaic whales possessed a well-developed, heterodont adult dentition. How these teeth were used, and what role their function and subsequent loss played in the emergence of filter feeding, is an enduring mystery. In particular, it has been suggested that elaborate tooth crowns may have enabled stem mysticetes to filter with their postcanine teeth in a manner analogous to living crabeater and leopard seals, thereby facilitating the transition to baleen-assisted filtering. Here we show that the teeth of archaic mysticetes are as sharp as those of terrestrial carnivorans, raptorial pinnipeds and archaeocetes, and thus were capable of capturing and processing prey. By contrast, the postcanine teeth of leopard and crabeater seals are markedly blunter, and clearly unsuited to raptorial feeding. Our results suggest that mysticetes never passed through a tooth-based filtration phase, and that the use of teeth and baleen in early whales was not functionally connected. Continued selection for tooth sharpness in archaic mysticetes is best explained by a feeding strategy that included both biting and suction, similar to that of most living pinnipeds and, probably, early toothed whales (Odontoceti). © 2017 The Authors.

  5. Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Flore Samaran

    Full Text Available 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.

  6. 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. PMID:23967221

  7. Comparative pathology of nocardiosis in marine mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    St Leger, J A; Begeman, L; Fleetwood, M; Frasca, S; Garner, M M; Lair, S; Trembley, S; Linn, M J; Terio, K A

    2009-03-01

    Nocardia spp. infections in mammals cause pyogranulomatous lesions in a variety of organs, most typically the lung. Members of the Nocardia asteroides complex are the most frequently recognized pathogens. Nine cases of nocardiosis in free-ranging pinnipeds and 10 cases of nocardiosis in cetaceans were evaluated. Host species included the hooded seal (Cystophora cristata, n = 8), leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx, n = 1), Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, n = 4), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas, n = 4), and killer whale (Orcinus orca, n = 2). The most common presentation of nocardiosis in both pinnipeds and cetaceans was the systemic form, involving 2 or more organs. Organs most frequently affected were lung and thoracic lymph nodes in 7 of 9 cases in pinnipeds and 8 of 10 cases in cetaceans. Molecular identification and bacterial isolation demonstrated a variety of pathogenic species. N. asteroides, N. farcinica, N. brasiliensis, and N. otitisdiscaviarum are pathogenic for pinnipeds. In cetaceans N. asteroides, N. farcinica, N. brasiliensis, N. cyriacigeorgica, and N. levis are pathogenic. Hematoxylin and eosin and acid fast staining failed to reveal bacteria in every case, whereas modified acid fast and Grocott's methenamine silver consistently demonstrated the characteristic organisms. In both pinnipeds and cetaceans, juvenile animals were affected more often than adults. Hooded seals demonstrated more cases of nocardiosis than other pinnipeds.

  8. Specific features of vowel-like signals of white whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bel'Kovich, V. M.; Kreichi, S. A.

    2004-05-01

    The set of acoustic signals of White-Sea white whales comprises about 70 types of signals. Six of them occur most often and constitute 75% of the total number of signals produced by these animals. According to behavioral reactions, white whales distinguish each other by acoustic signals, which is also typical of other animal species and humans. To investigate this phenomenon, signals perceived as vowel-like sounds of speech, including sounds perceived as a “bleat,” were chosen A sample of 480 signals recorded in June and July, 2000, in the White Sea within a reproductive assemblage of white whales near the Large Solovetskii Island was studied. Signals were recorded on a digital data carrier (a SONY minidisk) in the frequency range of 0.06 20 kHz. The purpose of the study was to reveal the perceptive and acoustic features specific to individual animals. The study was carried out using the methods of structural analysis of vocal speech that are employed in lingual criminalistics to identify a speaking person. It was demonstrated that this approach allows one to group the signals by coincident perceptive and acoustic parameters with assigning individual attributes to single parameters. This provided an opportunity to separate conditionally about 40 different sources of acoustic signals according to the totality of coincidences, which corresponded to the number of white whales observed visually. Thus, the application of this method proves to be very promising for the acoustic identification of white whales and other marine mammals, this possibility being very important for biology.

  9. Variability in click-evoked potentials in killer whales (Orcinus orca) and determination of a hearing impairment in a rehabilitated killer whale

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lucke, K.; Finneran, J.J.; Almunia, Javier; Houser, D.S.

    2016-01-01

    An immature female killer whale (Orcinus orca) stranded in the Wadden Sea in 2010 and was later transferred to Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain, for rehabilitation. The killer whale, named “Morgan,” was suspected to have a hearing impairment. To test whether Morgan has a hearing deficit, auditory

  10. 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

  11. Sperm whales reduce foraging effort during exposure to 1-2 kHz sonar and killer whale sounds.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Isojunno,S.; Curé, C.; Helgevold Kvadsheim, P.; Lam, F.P.A.; Tyack, P.L.; Wensveen, P.J.; Miller, P.J.O

    2016-01-01

    Abstract . The time and energetic costs of behavioral responses to incidental and experimental sonar exposures, as well as control stimuli, were quantifi ed using hidden state analysis of time series of acoustic and movement data recorded by tags ( DTAG ) attached to 12 sperm whales ( Physeter

  12. The auditory anatomy of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata): a potential fatty sound reception pathway in a baleen whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamato, Maya; Ketten, Darlene R; Arruda, Julie; Cramer, Scott; Moore, Kathleen

    2012-06-01

    Cetaceans possess highly derived auditory systems adapted for underwater hearing. Odontoceti (toothed whales) are thought to receive sound through specialized fat bodies that contact the tympanoperiotic complex, the bones housing the middle and inner ears. However, sound reception pathways remain unknown in Mysticeti (baleen whales), which have very different cranial anatomies compared to odontocetes. Here, we report a potential fatty sound reception pathway in the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), a mysticete of the balaenopterid family. The cephalic anatomy of seven minke whales was investigated using computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, verified through dissections. Findings include a large, well-formed fat body lateral, dorsal, and posterior to the mandibular ramus and lateral to the tympanoperiotic complex. This fat body inserts into the tympanoperiotic complex at the lateral aperture between the tympanic and periotic bones and is in contact with the ossicles. There is also a second, smaller body of fat found within the tympanic bone, which contacts the ossicles as well. This is the first analysis of these fatty tissues' association with the auditory structures in a mysticete, providing anatomical evidence that fatty sound reception pathways may not be a unique feature of odontocete cetaceans. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. 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.

  14. The use of modern scannings techniques in whale research: possibilities and limitations

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Alstrup, Aage Kristian Olsen

    . 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...... 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...... used CT scanning to examine the skulls of several fossil whales (7 to 30 million year old). CT scans provided information about the cranial bone structure, including bone sutures on the well preserved inside. This information was valuable for determining the species of whales. In addition, CT scans can...

  15. Behavioral Context of Call Production by Eastern North Pacific Blue Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-01-25

    observations of whales producing D calls are consistent with this description. Similar vocaliza- tions have been recorded from several rorqual species. For...MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Mar Ecol Prog Ser Vol. 330: 269–284, 2007 Published January 25 INTRODUCTION Mysticete whales produce a wide variety of...behavioral context of sound production has been determined for a subset of calls produced by some well-studied species, including the humpback whale

  16. Exploring the Thermal Limits of IR-Based Automatic Whale Detection (ETAW)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Exploring the thermal limits of IR -based automatic whale...mammal detection, consisting of an actively stabilized, spinning IR camera and an algorithm that detects whale blows on the basis of their thermal...2 OBJECTIVES This project aims at a cost-efficient test of the thermal limits of the abovementioned IR based automatic whale detection

  17. Sustained disruption of narwhal habitat use and behavior in the presence of Arctic killer whales

    OpenAIRE

    Breed, Greg A.; Matthews, Cory J. D.; Marcoux, Marianne; Higdon, Jeff W.; LeBlanc, Bernard; Petersen, Stephen D.; Orr, Jack; Reinhart, Natalie R.; Ferguson, Steven H.

    2017-01-01

    Predators are widely understood to impact the structure and stability of ecosystems. In the Arctic, summer sea ice is rapidly declining, degrading habitat for Arctic species, such as polar bears and ringed seals, but also providing more access to important predators, such as killer whales. Using data from concurrently tracked predator (killer whales) and prey (narwhal), we show that the presence of killer whales significantly changes the behavior and distribution of narwhal. Because killer wh...

  18. Wintering habitat model for the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis in the southeastern United States.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy A Gowan

    Full Text Available 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.

  19. 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

  20. Science should not be abandoned in a bid to resolve whaling disputes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooke, Justin; Leaper, Russell; Papastavrou, Vassili

    2009-10-23

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is currently engaged in an intensive negotiating process in an attempt to resolve international disputes about whaling. The IWC has pioneered and agreed a management procedure approach for setting catch limits for commercial whaling that was unanimously recommended by its Scientific Committee. It is disturbing that current negotiations are moving towards discarding this agreed and carefully developed scientific procedure in favour of ad hoc catch allowances based on political expediency.

  1. Modelling the effects of environmental conditions on the acoustic occurrence and behaviour of Antarctic blue whales.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fannie W Shabangu

    Full Text Available 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

  2. Concentrations of organotin compounds in the stranded killer whales from Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harino, Hiroya; Ohji, Madoka; Brownell, Robert L; Arai, Takaomi; Miyazaki, Nobuyuki

    2008-07-01

    We measured the concentrations of butyltin (BT) and phenyltin (PT) compounds in blubber, liver, lung, and muscle of seven stranded killer whales (Orcinus orca) collected from Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan. BTs in blubber (n = 6), liver (n = 4), lung (n = 1), and muscle (n = 4) of adult whale were in the range of 37-90, 385-676, 15, and 26-53 microg kg(-1) wet weight, respectively. Concentrations of PTs in blubber, liver, lung, and muscle were whale calf were lower than those in adult whales. MBT and DBT in the liver of the calf were the same (42%). MBT in blubber was the dominant compound among BTs.

  3. Speaking up: Killer whales (Orcinus orca) increase their call amplitude in response to vessel noise.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holt, Marla M; Noren, Dawn P; Veirs, Val; Emmons, Candice K; Veirs, Scott

    2009-01-01

    This study investigated the effects of anthropogenic sound exposure on the vocal behavior of free-ranging killer whales. Endangered Southern Resident killer whales inhabit areas including the urban coastal waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, WA, where anthropogenic sounds are ubiquitous, particularly those from motorized vessels. A calibrated recording system was used to measure killer whale call source levels and background noise levels (1-40 kHz). Results show that whales increased their call amplitude by 1 dB for every 1 dB increase in background noise levels. Furthermore, nearby vessel counts were positively correlated with these observed background noise levels.

  4. Low-frequency signals produced by Northeast Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    OpenAIRE

    Samarra, Filipa I.P.; Deecke, Volker B.; Miller, Patrick J.O.

    2016-01-01

    Killer whale acoustic behavior has been extensively investigated, however most studies have focused on pulsed calls and whistles. This study reports the production of low-frequency signals by killer whales at frequencies below 300 Hz. Recordings of killer whales were made in Iceland and Norway when whales were observed feeding on herring, and no other cetacean species were nearby. Low-frequency sounds were identified in Iceland and ranged in duration between 0.14 and 2.77 seconds and in frequ...

  5. 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.

  6. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  7. Biomass and energy transfer to baleen whales in the South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reilly, S.; Hedley, S.; Borberg, J.; Hewitt, R.; Thiele, D.; Watkins, J.; Naganobu, M.

    2004-06-01

    Baleen whales are an important group of predators on Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean. During the CCAMLR 2000 Survey to estimate the biomass and distribution of Antarctic krill, International Whaling Commission observers carried out a visual line transect survey to estimate the number of baleen whales occurring in the survey area. This paper reviews techniques used to estimate krill consumption by baleen whales and in combination with estimates of whale abundance estimates of krill consumption are generated for the South Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. This survey estimates that the present populations of whales feeding in this region are likely to consume approximately 1.6 million tonnes, but possibly up to as much as 2.7 million tonnes of krill within the summer season. Although this only represents 4-6% of the estimated krill biomass in the region (and probably less than this percentage of the total annual krill production), the depleted numbers of baleen whales resulting from past or current whaling activities should be taken into account when setting quotas for the commercial exploitation of krill if there is to be a recovery to pre-exploitation biomass levels of baleen whales.

  8. 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

  9. Is it ‘boom times’ for baleen whales in the Pacific Arctic region?

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:27601724

  10. Toothed whales in the northwestern Mediterranean: Insight into their feeding ecology using chemical tracers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Praca, Emilie; Laran, Sophie; Lepoint, Gilles; Thome, Jean-Pierre; Quetglas, Antoni; Belcari, Paola; Sartor, Paolo; Dhermain, Frank; Ody, Denis; Tapie, Nathalie

    2011-01-01

    Research highlights: →δ 15 N highlights significant different trophic levels. → Similar δ 13 C indicate a habitat superposition or corroborate seasonal migrations. → Congener 180 and tDDT/tPCB show wider migrations for sperm whales. - Abstract: Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and sperm whales rarely strand in the northwestern Mediterranean. Thus, their feeding ecology, through the analysis of stomach contents, is poorly known. The aim of this study was to gain further insight into the segregation/superposition of the diet and habitat of Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and sperm whales using chemical tracers, namely, stable isotopes (δ 13 C, δ 15 N) and organochlorines. Significantly different δ 15 N values were obtained in Risso's dolphins (11.7 ± 0.7 per mille ), sperm whales (10.8 ± 0.3 per mille ) and pilot whales (9.8 ± 0.3 per mille ), revealing different trophic levels. These differences are presumably due to various proportions of Histioteuthidae cephalopods in each toothed whale's diet. Similar δ 13 C contents between species indicated long-term habitat superposition or corroborated important seasonal migrations. Lower congener 180 concentrations (8.20 vs. 21.73 μg.g -1 lw) and higher tDDT/tPCB ratios (0.93 vs. 0.42) were observed in sperm whales compared with Risso's dolphins and may indicate wider migrations for the former. Therefore, competition between these species seems to depend on different trophic levels and migration patterns.

  11. 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

  12. 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...

  13. Trying-out : an anatomy of Dutch whaling an sealing in the nineteenth century, 1815-1885

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schokkenbroek, Joost C.A.

    2008-01-01

    Until the present day, whaling and sealing in the nineteenth century have hardly received attention in Dutch maritime historiography. During the two preceding centuries (seventeenth and eighteenth) whaling had developed into a prominent maritime industry. Various major external and internal

  14. 33 CFR 165.1310 - Strait of Juan de Fuca and adjacent coastal waters of Northwest Washington; Makah Whale Hunting...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

    ... whaling activities. The (name of vessel) is a (color and description of vessel) and will be flying international numeral pennant five (5) while engaged in whaling operations. This pennant is yellow and blue in...

  15. 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.

  16. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  17. 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. © 2016 The Author(s).

  18. Critical Decline of the Eastern Caribbean Sperm Whale Population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gero, Shane; Whitehead, Hal

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) populations were expected to rebuild following the end of commercial whaling. We document the decline of the population in the eastern Caribbean by tracing demographic changes of well-studied social units. We address hypotheses that, over a ten-year period of dedicated effort (2005-2015), unit size, numbers of calves and/or calving rates have each declined. Across 16 units, the number of adults decreased in 12 units, increased in two, and showed no change in two. The number of adults per unit decreased at -0.195 individuals/yr (95% CI: -0.080 to -0.310; P = 0.001). The number of calves also declined, but the decline was not significant. This negative trend of -4.5% per year in unit size started in about 2010, with numbers being fairly stable until then. There are several natural and anthropogenic threats, but no well-substantiated cause for the decline.

  19. Conservation markets for wildlife management with case studies from whaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerber, Leah R; Costello, Christopher; Gaines, Steven D

    2014-01-01

    Although market-based incentives have helped resolve many environmental challenges, conservation markets still play a relatively minor role in wildlife management. Establishing property rights for environmental goods and allowing trade between resource extractors and resource conservationists may offer a path forward in conserving charismatic species like whales, wolves, turtles, and sharks. In this paper, we provide a conceptual model for implementing a conservation market for wildlife and evaluate how such a market could be applied to three case studies for whales (minke [Balaenoptera acutorostrata], bowhead [Balaena mysticetus], and gray [Eschrictius robustus]). We show that, if designed and operated properly, such a market could ensure persistence of imperiled populations, while simultaneously improving the welfare of resource harvesters.

  20. 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.

  1. Ocean Connections with the Historic Whaling Ship Charles W. Morgan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitney, M. M.

    2016-02-01

    This scientific outreach project involved the Charles W. Morgan, Mystic Seaport's historic whaling ship. We educated K-2 students, trained undergraduate and graduate students, and informed the general public about oceanographic data collection, pathways from coastal to ocean waters, and connections in marine ecosystems. I was aboard the Charles W. Morgan for the Provincetown to Stellwagen Bank leg of the historic 38th voyage in summer 2014. While at sea, our voyager team released several GPS-tracked surface drifters to reveal important flow pathways and how the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is connected to other ocean areas. These drifters were built by graduate and undergraduate students and the drifter artwork was designed by elementary school students. Surface currents dispersed the drifters and carried them much farther offshore than the Charles W. Morgan itself. Many drifters reached Georges Bank, another important biologically productive area. The Charles W. Morgan encountered whales for the first time in decades. Some of the food-chain connections that may explain the abundance of whales at Stellwagen bank that summer are described. This outreach project has been presented in lectures to high school teachers and the general public and also featured in an online interview, a television news story, and a newspaper article. K-2 students at an elementary school math and science day first painted drifters in advance of the voyage, viewed real-time updates in the months following drifter release, and engaged in activities illustrating ocean connectivity and marine habitats at the end of the following academic year. We aimed to convey how sensitive whales are to human activities (on land and water) and to changes in the marine environment. Successes and lessons learned will be discussed. ED003: Creative Ways to Connect Ocean Sciences to the Public

  2. Beaked Whale Anatomy, Field Studies and Habitat Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-11-01

    Beaked whale habitat typically is near a pelagic setting. Appropriate sites are at continental shelf edges, deep water islands, or seamounts . The ...formulation for vibro-acoustic problems in medicine and biology has been developed as part of this research (Krysl et al. In Press). To address the ...2007). Sound pathways revealed: Simulated Sound Transmission and Reception in Ziphius cavirostris. 17th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine

  3. Environmental Influences On Diel Calling Behavior In Baleen Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    Baleen Whales Mark Baumgartner Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biology Department, MS #33 266 Woods Hole Road Woods Hole , MA 02543 phone...27-31, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana • WHOI-NEFSC Special Seminar Series on Fisheries and Ecosystem Acoustics on February 11, 2015 in Woods Hole ...persistently study marine mammals in remote or harsh environments in which traditional shipboard studies are quite difficult, (2) on- board detection

  4. Deep Mapping of Teuthivorous Whales and Their Prey Fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    history characteristics, including habitat utilization, through applications of medium-term tags (days to months) for tracking surface locations and...of their species-typical echolocation clicks (Dave Moretti, pers. comm); these researches have deployed over 20 satellite-linked tracking tags on...2004) Beaked whales echolocate on prey. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 271:383-386 Kawakami T (1980) A review of sperm

  5. False killer whale Pseudorca crassidens mass stranding at Long ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A mass stranding of false killer whales Pseudorca crassidens at Long Beach near the village of Kommetjie (34°8.18′ S, 18°9.77′ E) on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, in May 2009 is described. The estimated size of stranded group was 55 animals, which is close to the median size of P. crassidens groups that have ...

  6. Effects of dietary administration of Rose hip and Safflower on growth performance, haematological, biochemical parameters and innate immune response of Beluga, Huso huso (Linnaeus, 1758).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dadras, Hadiseh; Hayatbakhsh, Mohammad Reza; Shelton, William L; Golpour, Amin

    2016-12-01

    The aim of this study was to investigate effects of two dietary medicinal herbs, Rose hip (Rosa canina) and Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) supplementation on growth performance, haematological, biochemical parameters and innate immune response of in juvenile beluga, Huso huso. Fish (26.3 ± 0.4 g) were allocated into 15 tanks (20 fish per tank) and triplicate groups were fed a control diet or diets containing 1% and 2% of medicinal herbs, respectively. Feed conversion ratio (FCR), specific growth rate (SGR) and condition factor (CF) did not show significant differences (P > 0.05) in fish given herbal diets. Significant differences were observed in number of white blood cells (WBC) and haemoglobin (Hb) values among the dietary treatments. The serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were significantly lower in supplemented diet groups compared with the control. Innate immune responses (lysozyme activity and ACH 50 ) were significantly higher in 2% Safflower-fed fish compared with other groups (P < 0.05). These results indicate that medicinal herbs in diets can be considered as a beneficial dietary supplement for improving the physiological parameters and enhance the immune response of Persian sturgeon. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. 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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. 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.

  12. 15 CFR Appendix A to Subpart Q of... - Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale, National Marine Sanctuary Boundary Description and Coordinates...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    ... 15 Commerce and Foreign Trade 3 2010-01-01 2010-01-01 false Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale... Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Pt. 922, Subpt. Q, App. A Appendix A to Subpart Q of Part 922—Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale, National Marine Sanctuary Boundary Description and Coordinates of...

  13. Architecture of the sperm whale forehead facilitates ramming combat.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panagiotopoulou, Olga; Spyridis, Panagiotis; Mehari Abraha, Hyab; Carrier, David R; Pataky, Todd C

    2016-01-01

    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 spermaceti organ would

  14. 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

  15. 78 FR 4835 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-23

    ... and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY: National Marine... public review of the draft Recovery Plan (Plan) for the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica... approval. DATES: Comments on the draft Plan must be received by close of business on March 11, 2013...

  16. 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,

  17. 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.

  18. Prey and seasonal abundance of killer whales at sub-Antarctic ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The diet of killer whales Orcinus orca was investigated from 48 predation events observed during sightings at sub-Antarctic Marion Island between 2006 and 2009. From these events, there were 10 cases where prey could be identified. Killer whales fed on fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis, elephant seals Mirounga leonina ...

  19. 78 FR 42653 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Atlantic Large Whale Take...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-16

    ... that would allow it to be identified without removing it from an entangled animal and analyzing it... more likely to slide through the whale's baleen freeing the animal rather than becoming lodged in the... Whales, Eubalaena australis. Behaviour 88(1/2):42-60. BILLING CODE 3510-22-P [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED...

  20. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Accumulation and transfer of contaminants in killer whales (Orcinus orca) from Norway: indications for contaminant metabolism.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolkers, Hans; Corkeron, Peter J; Van Parijs, Sofie M; Similä, Tiu; Van Bavel, Bert

    2007-08-01

    Blubber tissue of one subadult and eight male adult killer whales was sampled in Northern Norway in order to assess the degree and type of contaminant exposure and transfer in the herring-killer whale link of the marine food web. A comprehensive selection of contaminants was targeted, with special attention to toxaphenes and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). In addition to assessing exposure and food chain transfer, selective accumulation and metabolism issues also were addressed. Average total polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and pesticide levels were similar, approximately 25 microg/g lipid, and PBDEs were approximately 0.5 microg/g. This makes killer whales one of the most polluted arctic animals, with levels exceeding those in polar bears. Comparing the contamination of the killer whale's diet with the diet of high-arctic species such as white whales reveals six to more than 20 times higher levels in the killer whale diet. The difference in contaminant pattern between killer whales and their prey and the metabolic index calculated suggested that these cetaceans have a relatively high capacity to metabolize contaminants. Polychlorinated biphenyls, chlordanes, and dichlorodiphenyldichloro-ethylene (DDE) accumulate to some degree in killer whales, although toxaphenes and PBDEs might be partly broken down.

  2. Low-frequency signals produced by Northeast Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-03-01

    Killer whale acoustic behavior has been extensively investigated; however, most studies have focused on pulsed calls and whistles. This study reports the production of low-frequency signals by killer whales at frequencies below 300 Hz. Recordings were made in Iceland and Norway when killer whales were observed feeding on herring and no other marine mammal species were nearby. Low-frequency sounds were identified in Iceland and ranged in duration between 0.14 and 2.77 s and in frequency between 50 and 270 Hz, well below the previously reported lower limit for killer whale tonal sounds of 500 Hz. Low-frequency sounds appeared to be produced close in time to tail slaps, which are indicative of feeding attempts, suggesting that these sounds may be related to a feeding context. However, their precise function is unknown, and they could be the by-product of a non-vocal behavior rather than a vocal signal deliberately produced by the whales. Although killer whales in Norway exhibit similar feeding behavior, this sound has not been detected in recordings from Norway to date. This study suggests that, like other delphinids, killer whales produce low-frequency sounds, but further studies will be required to understand whether similar sounds exist in other killer whale populations.

  3. Generalists or Specialists: Stable Isotope Analysis of Humpback Whales (Megapteranoveangliae) to Infer Variation in Feeding Preferences

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brownstein, A.; Boswell, K. M.

    2016-02-01

    Though humpback whales (Megapteranovaeangliae) are commonly observed in coastal waters of the Gulf of Alaska, their massive size, behavior, and weather conditionsmake it difficult to make accurate observations regarding their feeding habits. These whales can be highly abundant during feeding aggregations, and given their large energetic needs, they have the potential to impact populations of ecologically important forage such as krill and herring. Previous studies in other areas, such as the Gulf of Maine and the North Pacific Ocean, classify humpback whales as generalists that can efficiently feed on both schooling fish and large zooplankton. In Prince William Sound, scientists have observed the humpbacks feedingprimarily on herring. It is unclear if these whalesfeed exclusively on fish prior to returning to the Sound, and can therefore be considered specialists. Stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen were used to determine the preferred diet of humpback whales (N=22) in 6 sampling regions along the Gulf of Alaska. Isotope analyses were conducted on humpback whale skin, as well as local forage species and basal resources to be used in Bayesian isotope mixing models to elucidate the trophic relationships between whales and their prey, and provide insight to whether location is an important driver in prey selection. This information will not only lead to a better understanding of the potential to use tissue isotopes to elucidate foraging behaviors of humpback whales, but also offer insight into individual feeding preferences and how increasing whale populations may affect the populations of local forage in the future.

  4. 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.

    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

  5. Risso’s dolphins alter daily resting pattern in response to whale watching at the Azores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Visser, F.; Hartman, K.L.; Rood, E.J.J.; Hendriks, A.J.E.; Zult, D.B.; Wolff, W.J.; Huisman, J.; Pierce, G.J.

    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

  6. First indications that northern bottlenose whales are sensitive to behavioural disturbance from anthropogenic noise

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Miller, P.J.O.; Kvadsheim, P.H.; Lam, F.P.A.; Tyack, P.L.; Curé, C.; DeRuiter, S.L.; Kleivane, L.; Sivle, L.D.; IJsselmuide, S.P. van; Visser, F.; Wensveen, P.J.; Benda-Beckmann, A.M. von; Martín López, L.M.; Narazaki, T.; Hooker, S.K.

    2015-01-01

    Although northern bottlenose whales were the most heavily hunted beaked whale, we have little information about this species in its remote habitat of the North Atlantic Ocean. Underwater anthropogenic noise and disruption of their natural habitat may be major threats, given the sensitivity of other

  7. Low diversity in the mitogenome of sperm whales revealed by next-generation sequencing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alana Alexander; Debbie Steel; Beth Slikas; Kendra Hoekzema; Colm Carraher; Matthew Parks; Richard Cronn; C. Scott Baker

    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...

  8. Collateral damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems from Yankee whaling in the 19th century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drew, Joshua; López, Elora H; Gill, Lucy; McKeon, Mallory; Miller, Nathan; Steinberg, Madeline; Shen, Christa; McClenachan, Loren

    2016-11-01

    Yankee whalers of the 19th century had major impacts on populations of large whales, but these leviathans were not the only taxa targeted. Here, we describe the "collateral damage," the opportunistic or targeted taking of nongreat whale species by the American whaling industry. Using data from 5,064 records from 79 whaling logs occurring between 1840 and 1901, we show that Yankee whalers captured 5,255 animals across three large ocean basins from 32 different taxonomic categories, including a wide range of marine and terrestrial species. The taxa with the greatest number of individuals captured were walruses ( Odobenus rosmarus ), ducks (family Anatidae), and cod ( Gadus sp.). By biomass, the most captured species were walruses, grampus (a poorly defined group within Odontoceti), and seals (family Otariidae). The whalers captured over 2.4 million kg of nongreat whale meat equaling approximately 34 kg of meat per ship per day at sea. The species and areas targeted shifted over time in response to overexploitation of whale populations, with likely intensive local impacts on terrestrial species associated with multiyear whaling camps. Our results show that the ecosystem impacts of whaling reverberated on both marine and coastal environments.

  9. 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.

  10. An Interpretive Analysis of Illustrations in American Whaling Narratives, 1836-1927.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dyer, Michael P.

    1996-01-01

    Observes a number of illustrations from a wide variety of whaling narratives and discusses the purposes and assumptions behind them. Considers the individual artists and their contributions. Francis Allyn Olmstead romanticized the profession while J. Ross Brown emphasized the sordid aspects of whaling life. (MJP)

  11. 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…

  12. Newspaper Reporting of Whaling in Australia and Japan: A Comparative Content Analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tets Kimura

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available The ongoing dispute over whaling is a significant issue of conflict between Australia and Japan. It appears that the print media in each country supports the dominant opinion: anti-whaling in Australia, and pro-whaling in Japan. To investigate media perspectives, this study reviews newspaper coverage throughout a whaling season (15 December 2007 – 24 March 2008, analysing 48 articles from Australian newspapers (in English and 51 articles from Japanese newspapers (in Japanese. Content analysis was employed to identify the characteristics of the newspaper articles. It is believed that reporting can contribute to cultural and political transparency by providing comprehensive views on the whaling issue. However, the findings here indicate that the current state of whaling reporting tends to be one-sided. This study assesses how the whaling issue is reported in both Australia and Japan, and what influences that reporting. It also focuses on Japan’s kisha club (reporters’ club system to shed some light on why Japanese journalists report pro-whaling perspectives given international criticism from Australia.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Behaviour of Southern sea lions in presence of killer whales during fishing operations in Central Chile

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis Hückstädt

    2004-06-01

    Full Text Available The killer whale is an opportunistic top-predator of ecosystems worldwide and its diet varies locally and seasonally, which is reflected in diverse feeding behaviours associated with its prey. We report the occurrence of killer whales presumably predating on southern sea lions associated with the jack mackerel fishing fleet in central Chile. The presence of killer whales was recorded during 4 fishing sets. All sightings consisted of 3-5 individual pods of females and calves. The number of sea lions was not significantly affected by the presence of killer whales, but their behaviour was, by reducing the number of behavioural displays, as they stopped feeding and resting activities and stayed close to the hull of the vessel after net retrieval ended. We propose that killer whales could be using the fishery as an indirect source of prey to benefit from the aggregation of sea lions around the vessel, far away from land.

  17. 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

  18. Acoustic detections of summer and winter whales at Arctic gateways in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stafford, K.; Laidre, K. L.; Moore, S. E.

    2016-02-01

    Changes in sea ice phenology have been profound in regions north of arctic gateways, where the seasonal open-water period has increased by 1.5-3 months over the past 30 years. This has resulted in changes to the Arctic ecosystem, including increased primary productivity, changing food web structure, and opening of new habitat. In the "new normal" Arctic, ice obligate species such as ice seals and polar bears may fare poorly under reduced sea ice while sub-arctic "summer" whales (fin and humpback) are poised to inhabit new seasonal ice-free habitats in the Arctic. We examined the spatial and seasonal occurrence of summer and "winter" (bowhead) whales from September through December by deploying hydrophones in three Arctic gateways: Bering, Davis and Fram Straits. Acoustic occurrence of the three species was compared with decadal-scale changes in seasonal sea ice. In all three Straits, fin whale acoustic detections extended from summer to late autumn. Humpback whales showed the same pattern in Bering and Davis Straits, singing into November and December, respectively. Bowhead whale detections generally began after the departure of the summer whales and continued through the winter. In all three straits, summer whales occurred in seasons and regions that used to be ice-covered. This is likely due to both increased available habitat from sea ice reductions and post-whaling population recoveries. At present, in the straits examined here, there is spatial, but not temporal, overlap between summer and winter whales. In a future with further seasonal sea ice reductions, however, increased competition for resources between sub-Arctic and Arctic species may arise to the detriment of winter whales.

  19. Use of 210Pb/ 226Ra disequilibria in the dating of deep-sea whale falls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuller, Daniel; Kadko, David; Smith, Craig R.

    2004-02-01

    Deep-sea whale falls, in particular the skeletal remains of whales that have sunk to the seafloor, are remarkable temporary reducing habitats. Reduced chemical species created by anaerobic microbial decay of lipid and organic compounds within the whale bone matrix fuel chemosynthetic-based communities, including bacteria, mussels, limpets, snails, and clams. Many of these species exhibit taxonomic affinities to other chemosynthetic deep-sea organisms colonizing hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Knowledge of the timescales of whale fall community succession and persistence of these assemblages is needed to reliably estimate the abundance of whale fall habitats and to understand the dynamics of the whale fall communities and their potential roles as stepping stones for sulfophilic species. We have developed a radiochemical method based on 210Pb/ 226Ra disequilibria for estimating the ages of seafloor whale bone communities. Measurements of 210Pb/ 226Ra performed on known age bone samples yielded radioisotope ages in good agreement with the known ages. Our results indicate that this technique is valid for bones 10-85 years old (time since cetacean death). This technique, applied to multiple bones of unknown age whale falls taken from Monterey Canyon, Santa Catalina Basin, and San Nicholas Basin, constrained the upper limit ages of these systems (in 2002) to 6.3±1.0 years, 44.0±7.0 to 53.4±8.3 years, and 66.4±9.6 to 82.6±11 years, respectively. These ages were in reasonable agreement with faunal and/or skeletal observations. In addition, a preliminary lipid degradation rate was calculated for the Santa Catalina Basin whale fall using an independent time series and calibrated to the radiochemically determined age. Both radiochemical and lipid degradation evidence suggest that the whale fall microhabitat is able to support life for many decades.

  20. 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.

  1. Migratory behavior of eastern North Pacific gray whales tracked using a hydrophone array.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Regina A Guazzo

    Full Text Available Eastern North Pacific gray whales make one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal, traveling from their summer feeding areas in the Bering and Chukchi Seas to their wintering areas in the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. Although a significant body of knowledge on gray whale biology and behavior exists, little is known about their vocal behavior while migrating. In this study, we used a sparse hydrophone array deployed offshore of central California to investigate how gray whales behave and use sound while migrating. We detected, localized, and tracked whales for one full migration season, a first for gray whales. We verified and localized 10,644 gray whale M3 calls and grouped them into 280 tracks. Results confirm that gray whales are acoustically active while migrating and their swimming and acoustic behavior changes on daily and seasonal time scales. The seasonal timing of the calls verifies the gray whale migration timing determined using other methods such as counts conducted by visual observers. The total number of calls and the percentage of calls that were part of a track changed significantly over both seasonal and daily time scales. An average calling rate of 5.7 calls/whale/day was observed, which is significantly greater than previously reported migration calling rates. We measured a mean speed of 1.6 m/s and quantified heading, direction, and water depth where tracks were located. Mean speed and water depth remained constant between night and day, but these quantities had greater variation at night. Gray whales produce M3 calls with a root mean square source level of 156.9 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m. Quantities describing call characteristics were variable and dependent on site-specific propagation characteristics.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliana Houghton

    Full Text Available 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.

  5. The first historic record of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) from the Low Countries (Southern Bight of the North Sea)

    OpenAIRE

    Haelters, J.; Kerckhof, F.; Camphuysen, K.C.J.

    2010-01-01

    In 1751 the corpse of a large whale was found floating at sea near Blankenberge (currently Belgium). The case was illustrated at the time by a water-colour of the whale and of an associated barnacle. In earlier publications, this whale has been regarded as a northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). However, morphological characteristics depicted in the original water-colour, published here for the first time, and in a copy of the original, point towards a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeang...

  6. Horizontal niche partitioning of humpback and fin whales around the West Antarctic Peninsula: evidence from a concurrent whale and krill survey

    OpenAIRE

    Herr, Helena; Viquerat, Sacha; Siegel, Volker; Kock, Karl-Hermann; Dorschel, Boris; Huneke, Wilma; Bracher, Astrid; Schröder, Michael; Gutt, Julian

    2016-01-01

    A dedicated aerial cetacean survey was con- ducted concurrently to a standardised net trawl survey for krill in order to investigate distribution patterns of large whales and different krill species and to investigate relationships of these. Distance sampling data were used to produce density surface models for humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) around the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). Abundance for both species was estimated over two strata in the B...

  7. Identifying the "demon whale-biter": Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter B Best

    Full Text Available 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.

  8. Identifying the “demon whale-biter”: Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:27055057

  9. 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.

  10. Hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas in subsistence-harvested bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus, Alaska (USA): a case review 1980-2016.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stimmelmayr, Raphaela; Rotstein, David; Seguel, Mauricio; Gottdenker, Nicole

    2017-12-19

    We describe a case series of benign hepatic fatty tumors in 10 subsistence-harvested bowhead whales. Microscopic features included lipomatous and myelolipomatous masses. Extensive atrophy and/or destruction of hepatic parenchyma was not observed. No other significant disease was present except in an animal with unrelated chronic pleuritis. Based on our longitudinal case series (1980-2016) which identified 1-2 hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas in landed whales annually at Barrow, Alaska (USA), since 2012, hepatic lipomas and myelolipomas are occasionally seen in hunter-harvested bowhead whales. A conservative estimate for the percentage of bowhead whales with hepatic fatty tumors in landed whales in Barrow from 2012 to 2016 was 6% (7/111). The pathogenesis and exact cell origin of these benign fatty tumors in bowhead whales is undetermined. Assessment of further cases is warranted to better define the tissue distribution and pathogenesis of these tumors in bowhead whale liver.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. An autumn aggregation of fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and blue whales (B. musculus) in the Porcupine Seabight, southwest of Ireland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baines, Mick; Reichelt, Maren; Griffin, Donal

    2017-07-01

    During a 16 week geophysical survey over the Porcupine Seabight (PSB) southwest of Ireland in July to October 2013, marine mammal observers logged 9382 km of effort. Balaenopterid whales comprised some 60% of a total of 373 cetacean sighting events (s), with a cumulative count (n) of 392 whales. Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were especially abundant (s=111, n=209) and the number of blue whales (B. musculus) seen (s=12, n=16) exceeded the total previously reported from Irish waters, but 43% of balaenopterid sightings (s=98, n=172) were not identified to species level. Data for all balaenopterid whales were pooled and generalised additive models applied to identify environmental variables that predicted whale density and to estimate abundance and the spatial distribution of density. Depth range and chlorophyll-a concentration were significant predictors of whale presence, and depth and sea floor rugosity were significant predictors of group size. There appeared to be an influx of whales in September and October and the predicted abundance peaked in October with an estimate of 138 (95% CI 121-151) whales. Analysis of the direction of movement of whales showed no significant bias in any one direction. Feeding behaviour was observed in both whale species and circumstantial evidence suggested that they were aggregating to exploit seasonally abundant northern krill (Meganyctiphanes norvegica). Chasing behaviour observed among fin whales was interpreted as evidence that this aggregation also provided opportunities for social interaction related to their reproductive cycle. The PSB may provide a link between the high latitude summer feeding habitats of krill-feeding whales and a chain of highly productive habitats in the Eastern Boundary Upwelling Ecosystems and we suggest that whales may migrate southwards in autumn along this eastern route to the northwest African upwelling zones, where productivity peaks in winter.

  14. Spatial Pattern Analysis of Cruise Ship-Humpback Whale Interactions in and Near Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harris, Karin; Gende, Scott M.; Logsdon, Miles G.; Klinger, Terrie

    2012-01-01

    Understanding interactions between large ships and large whales is important to estimate risks posed to whales by ships. The coastal waters of Alaska are a summer feeding area for humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae) as well as a prominent destination for large cruise ships. Lethal collisions between cruise ships and humpback whales have occurred throughout Alaska, including in Glacier Bay National Park (GBNP). Although the National Park Service (NPS) establishes quotas and operating requirements for cruise ships within GBNP in part to minimize ship-whale collisions, no study has quantified ship-whale interactions in the park or in state waters where ship traffic is unregulated. In 2008 and 2009, an observer was placed on ships during 49 different cruises that included entry into GBNP to record distance and bearing of whales that surfaced within 1 km of the ship's bow. A relative coordinate system was developed in ArcGIS to model the frequency of whale surface events using kernel density. A total of 514 whale surface events were recorded. Although ship-whale interactions were common within GBNP, whales frequently surfaced in front of the bow in waters immediately adjacent to the park (west Icy Strait) where cruise ship traffic is not regulated by the NPS. When ships transited at speeds >13 knots, whales frequently surfaced closer to the ship's midline and ship's bow in contrast to speeds slower than 13 knots. Our findings confirm that ship speed is an effective mitigation measure for protecting whales and should be applied to other areas where ship-whale interactions are common.

  15. As main meal for sperm whales: plastics debris.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Stephanis, Renaud; Giménez, Joan; Carpinelli, Eva; Gutierrez-Exposito, Carlos; Cañadas, Ana

    2013-04-15

    Marine debris has been found in marine animals since the early 20th century, but little is known about the impacts of the ingestion of debris in large marine mammals. In this study we describe a case of mortality of a sperm whale related to the ingestion of large amounts of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea (4th published case worldwide to our knowledge), and discuss it within the context of the spatial distribution of the species and the presence of anthropogenic activities in the area that could be the source of the plastic debris found inside the sperm whale. The spatial distribution modelled for the species in the region shows that these animals can be seen in two distinct areas: near the waters of Almería, Granada and Murcia and in waters near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results shows how these animals feed in waters near an area completely flooded by the greenhouse industry, making them vulnerable to its waste products if adequate treatment of this industry's debris is not in place. Most types of these plastic materials have been found in the individual examined and cause of death was presumed to be gastric rupture following impaction with debris, which added to a previous problem of starvation. The problem of plastics arising from greenhouse agriculture should have a relevant section in the conservation plans and should be a recommendation from ACCOBAMS due to these plastics' and sperm whales' high mobility in the Mediterranean Sea. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Structure and Dynamics of Humpback Whales Competitive Groups in Ecuador

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernando Félix

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available We assessed the social structure and behavior of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae competitive groups off Ecuador between July and August 2010. During this time we followed 185 whales in 22 competitive groups for 41.45 hr. The average group size was 8.4 animals (SD = 2.85. The average sighting time was 113.05 min/group (SD = 47.1. We used photographs of dorsal fins and video to record interactions and estimate an association index (AI between each pair of whales within the groups. Sightings were divided into periods, which were defined by changes in group membership. On average, group composition changed every 30.2 min, which confirms that the structure of competitive groups is highly dynamic. Interactions between escorts characterized by low level of aggression. At least 60% of escorts joined or left together the group in small subunits between two and five animals, suggesting some type of cooperative association. Although singletons, as well as pairs or trios were able to join competitive groups at any moment, escorts that joined together were able to stay longer with the group and displace dominant escorts. Genetic analysis showed that in three occasions more than one female was present within a competitive group, suggesting either males are herding females or large competitive groups are formed by subunits. Males and females performed similar surface displays. We propose that competition and cooperation are interrelated in humpback whales’ competitive groups and that male cooperation would be an adaptive strategy either to displace dominant escorts or to fend off challengers.

  17. Reproductive Conflict and the Evolution of Menopause in Killer Whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Croft, Darren P; Johnstone, Rufus A; Ellis, Samuel; Nattrass, Stuart; Franks, Daniel W; Brent, Lauren J N; Mazzi, Sonia; Balcomb, Kenneth C; Ford, John K B; Cant, Michael A

    2017-01-23

    Why females of some species cease ovulation prior to the end of their natural lifespan is a long-standing evolutionary puzzle [1-4]. The fitness benefits of post-reproductive helping could in principle select for menopause [1, 2, 5], but the magnitude of these benefits appears insufficient to explain the timing of menopause [6-8]. Recent theory suggests that the cost of inter-generational reproductive conflict between younger and older females of the same social unit is a critical missing term in classical inclusive fitness calculations (the "reproductive conflict hypothesis" [6, 9]). Using a unique long-term dataset on wild resident killer whales, where females can live decades after their final parturition, we provide the first test of this hypothesis in a non-human animal. First, we confirm previous theoretical predictions that local relatedness increases with female age up to the end of reproduction. Second, we construct a new evolutionary model and show that given these kinship dynamics, selection will favor younger females that invest more in competition, and thus have greater reproductive success, than older females (their mothers) when breeding at the same time. Third, we test this prediction using 43 years of individual-based demographic data in resident killer whales and show that when mothers and daughters co-breed, the mortality hazard of calves from older-generation females is 1.7 times that of calves from younger-generation females. Intergenerational conflict combined with the known benefits conveyed to kin by post-reproductive females can explain why killer whales have evolved the longest post-reproductive lifespan of all non-human animals. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  18. Serum chemistry of the minke whale from the northeastern Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tryland, M; Brun, E

    2001-04-01

    Serum samples were collected from 42 harpooned minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during commercial whaling off the coast of northern Norway (1997 and 1998) and analyzed for serum chemistry parameters in order to find clinical reference values for the northeastern Atlantic stock of this species. Mean and median values, as well as standard deviation and 90% central range, are presented for 28 different serum chemistry parameters. Lipemia is a common finding in marine mammals such as the minke whale, and chemical analysis of lipemic serum samples may produce artifacts. We found statistically significant elevated values of total protein, globulin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), sodium and chloride in strongly-lipemic compared to non-lipemic samples, all which may be artifacts due to interference of lipids with the methods used for analysis. In addition, we found significantly elevated levels of creatin kinase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), urea, uric acid and triglycerides, as well as a decrease in creatinine in the strongly lipemic samples. Reanalyzing serum samples after twelve mo storage at -20 C (n = 13) revealed reduction in the serum concentration of the enzymes ALT (42%), alkaline phosphatase (ALP; 10%), LDH (19%), gamma glutamyl transferase (17%) and amylase (11%), as well as for triglycerides (9%) and non-esterified fatty acids (16%). It is crucial that serum chemistry analysis is performed without delay after sampling. Possible changes in the values of some parameters due to the presence of high amounts of lipids or long term storage of samples must be considered when interpreting results from serum chemistry analysis in these animals.

  19. Taxonomy Icon Data: North Pacific right whale [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available North Pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica Chordata/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Theria/Eu...theria/Cetacea Eubalaena_japonica_L.png Eubalaena_japonica_NL.png Eubalaena_japonica_S.png Eubalaena_japonic...a_NS.png http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Eubalaena+japonica&t=L http://biosciencedbc.jp/tax...onomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Eubalaena+japonica&t=NL http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_ic...on/icon.cgi?i=Eubalaena+japonica&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Eubalaena+japonica&t=NS ...

  20. Mercury speciation and selenium in toothed-whale muscles

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sakamoto, Mineshi; Itai, Takaaki; Yasutake, Akira; Iwasaki, Toshihide; Yasunaga, Genta; Fujise, Yoshihiro; Nakamura, Masaaki; Murata, Katsuyuki; Man Chan, Hing; Domingo, José L.; Marumoto, Masumi

    2015-01-01

    Mercury accumulates at high levels in marine mammal tissues. However, its speciation is poorly understood. The main goal of this investigation was to establish the relationships among mercury species and selenium (Se) concentrations in toothed-whale muscles at different mercury levels. The concentrations of total mercury (T-Hg), methylmercury (MeHg), inorganic mercury (I-Hg) and Se were determined in the muscles of four toothed-whale species: bottlenose dolphins (n=31), Risso's dolphins (n=30), striped dolphins (n=29), and short-finned pilot whales (n=30). In each species, the MeHg concentration increased with increasing T-Hg concentration, tending to reach a plateau. In contrast, the proportion of MeHg in T-Hg decreased from 90–100% to 20–40%. The levels of T-Hg and Se showed strong positive correlations. Se/I-Hg molar ratios rapidly decreased with the increase of I-Hg and reached almost 1 in all species. These results suggested that the demethylated MeHg immediately formed Se/I-Hg equimolar complex of mercury selenide (HgSe) in their muscles. In addition, an X-ray absorption fine structure analysis (XAFS) of a bottlenose dolphin muscle confirmed that the dominant chemical form of the Se/I-Hg equimolar complex was HgSe. HgSe was mainly localized in cells near the endomysium using electron probe microanalysis (EPMA). These results suggested that the demethylated MeHg finally deposits within muscle cells of bottlenose dolphin as an inert HgSe. - Highlights: • T-Hg, MeHg, I-Hg and Se were determined in the muscles of four toothed-whales. • MeHg increased with increasing T-Hg and tended to reach a plateau in all species. • Se/I-Hg molar ratios rapidly decreased with increase of I-Hg and reached almost 1. • XAFS of bottlenose dolphin muscle confirmed that HgSe was dominant chemical form. • EPMA of bottlenose dolphin muscle showed that HgSe deposited in muscle cells.

  1. Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation among killer whales in the northern North Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsons, Kim M; Durban, John W; Burdin, Alexander M; Burkanov, Vladimir N; Pitman, Robert L; Barlow, Jay; Barrett-Lennard, Lance G; LeDuc, Richard G; Robertson, Kelly M; Matkin, Craig O; Wade, Paul R

    2013-01-01

    The difficulties associated with detecting population boundaries have long constrained the conservation and management of highly mobile, wide-ranging marine species, such as killer whales (Orcinus orca). In this study, we use data from 26 nuclear microsatellite loci and mitochondrial DNA sequences (988bp) to test a priori hypotheses about population subdivisions generated from a decade of killer whale surveys across the northern North Pacific. A total of 462 remote skin biopsies were collected from wild killer whales primarily between 2001 and 2010 from the northern Gulf of Alaska to the Sea of Okhotsk, representing both the piscivorous "resident" and the mammal-eating "transient" (or Bigg's) killer whales. Divergence of the 2 ecotypes was supported by both mtDNA and microsatellites. Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation were supported by significant regions of genetic discontinuity, providing evidence of population structuring within both ecotypes and corroborating direct observations of restricted movements of individual whales. In the Aleutian Islands (Alaska), subpopulations, or groups with significantly different mtDNA and microsatellite allele frequencies, were largely delimited by major oceanographic boundaries for resident killer whales. Although Amchitka Pass represented a major subdivision for transient killer whales between the central and western Aleutian Islands, several smaller subpopulations were evident throughout the eastern Aleutians and Bering Sea. Support for seasonally sympatric transient subpopulations around Unimak Island suggests isolating mechanisms other than geographic distance within this highly mobile top predator.

  2. Conservation Status of Killer Whales, Orcinus orca, in the Strait of Gibraltar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esteban, R; Verborgh, P; Gauffier, P; Alarcón, D; Salazar-Sierra, J M; Giménez, J; Foote, A D; de Stephanis, R

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Mediterranean Sea are currently restricted to the Strait of Gibraltar and surrounding waters. Thirty-nine individuals were present in 2011, with a well-differentiated social structure, organized into five pods. Killer whale occurrence in the Strait is apparently related to the migration of their main prey, Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). In spring, whale distribution was restricted to shallow waters off the western coast of the Strait where all pods were observed actively hunting tuna. In summer, the whales were observed in the shallow central waters of the Strait. A relatively new feeding strategy has been observed among two of the five pods. These two pods interact with an artisanal drop-line fishery. Pods depredating the fishery had access to larger tuna in comparison with pods that were actively hunting. The Strait of Gibraltar killer whales are socially and ecologically different from individuals in the Canary Islands. Molecular genetic research has indicated that there is little or no female-mediated gene migration between these areas. Conservation threats include small population size, prey depletion, vessel traffic, and contaminants. We propose the declaration of the Strait of Gibraltar killer whales as an endangered subpopulation. A conservation plan to protect the Strait of Gibraltar killer whales is urgently needed, and we recommend implementation of a seasonal management area where activities producing underwater noise are restricted, and the promotion of bluefin tuna conservation. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Climate impacts on transocean dispersal and habitat in gray whales from the Pleistocene to 2100.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alter, S Elizabeth; Meyer, Matthias; Post, Klaas; Czechowski, Paul; Gravlund, Peter; Gaines, Cork; Rosenbaum, Howard C; Kaschner, Kristin; Turvey, Samuel T; van der Plicht, Johannes; Shapiro, Beth; Hofreiter, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Arctic animals face dramatic habitat alteration due to ongoing climate change. Understanding how such species have responded to past glacial cycles can help us forecast their response to today's changing climate. Gray whales are among those marine species likely to be strongly affected by Arctic climate change, but a thorough analysis of past climate impacts on this species has been complicated by lack of information about an extinct population in the Atlantic. While little is known about the history of Atlantic gray whales or their relationship to the extant Pacific population, the extirpation of the Atlantic population during historical times has been attributed to whaling. We used a combination of ancient and modern DNA, radiocarbon dating and predictive habitat modelling to better understand the distribution of gray whales during the Pleistocene and Holocene. Our results reveal that dispersal between the Pacific and Atlantic was climate dependent and occurred both during the Pleistocene prior to the last glacial period and the early Holocene immediately following the opening of the Bering Strait. Genetic diversity in the Atlantic declined over an extended interval that predates the period of intensive commercial whaling, indicating this decline may have been precipitated by Holocene climate or other ecological causes. These first genetic data for Atlantic gray whales, particularly when combined with predictive habitat models for the year 2100, suggest that two recent sightings of gray whales in the Atlantic may represent the beginning of the expansion of this species' habitat beyond its currently realized range. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Killer whale (Orcinus orca photo-identification in the eastern Canadian Arctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brent G. Young

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available We identified individual killer whales (Orcinus orca using recent (2004–09 photographs to obtain a minimum count of whales that use eastern Canadian Arctic waters. Fifty-three individuals were identified from nine different sightings; 11 individuals from western Hudson Bay sightings and 42 from the areas around northern and eastern Baffin Island. One whale was re-sighted: an adult female or large juvenile photographed 17 days and 375 km apart at Churchill, Manitoba, and off-shore of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, in August 2007. With only one individual re-sighted, the number of individuals that use this area is likely much larger. No re-sightings occurred between Arctic killer whales and individuals photographed off the coast of Newfoundland. Our results represent the minimum number of killer whales sighted in eastern Canadian Arctic waters and provide the foundation for further killer whale research. Little is known about Arctic killer whales and, as a top predator, it is unclear what effect they have on Arctic marine ecosystems.

  5. Stretchy nerves are an essential component of the extreme feeding mechanism of rorqual whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogl, A Wayne; Lillie, Margo A; Piscitelli, Marina A; Goldbogen, Jeremy A; Pyenson, Nicholas D; Shadwick, Robert E

    2015-05-04

    Rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae) are among the largest vertebrates that have ever lived and include blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (Balaenoptera physalus) whales. Rorquals differ from other baleen whales (Mysticeti) in possessing longitudinal furrows or grooves in the ventral skin that extend from the mouth to the umbilicus. This ventral grooved blubber directly relates to their intermittent lunge feeding strategy, which is unique among vertebrates and was potentially an evolutionary innovation that led to gigantism in this lineage [1]. This strategy involves the rorqual whale rapidly engulfing a huge volume of prey-laden water and then concentrating the prey by more slowly expelling the water through baleen plates (Figure 1A). The volume of water engulfed during a lunge can exceed the volume of the whale itself [2]. During engulfment, the whale accelerates, opens its jaw until it is almost perpendicular to the rostrum, and then the highly compliant floor of the oral cavity is inflated by the incoming water [3]. The floor of the oral cavity expands by inversion of the tongue and ballooning of the adjacent floor of the mouth into the cavum ventrale, an immense fascial pocket between the body wall and overlying blubber layer that reaches as far back as the umbilicus. The ventral grooved blubber in fin whales expands by an estimated 162% in the circumferential direction and 38% longitudinally [4]. In fin whales, multiple lunges can occur during a single dive, and the average time between lunges is just over forty seconds [3]. Here, we show that nerves in the floor of the oral cavity of fin whales are highly extensible. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Competing conservation objectives for predators and prey: estimating killer whale prey requirements for Chinook salmon.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rob Williams

    Full Text Available Ecosystem-based management (EBM of marine resources attempts to conserve interacting species. In contrast to single-species fisheries management, EBM aims to identify and resolve conflicting objectives for different species. Such a conflict may be emerging in the northeastern Pacific for southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca and their primary prey, Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Both species have at-risk conservation status and transboundary (Canada-US ranges. We modeled individual killer whale prey requirements from feeding and growth records of captive killer whales and morphometric data from historic live-capture fishery and whaling records worldwide. The models, combined with caloric value of salmon, and demographic and diet data for wild killer whales, allow us to predict salmon quantities needed to maintain and recover this killer whale population, which numbered 87 individuals in 2009. Our analyses provide new information on cost of lactation and new parameter estimates for other killer whale populations globally. Prey requirements of southern resident killer whales are difficult to reconcile with fisheries and conservation objectives for Chinook salmon, because the number of fish required is large relative to annual returns and fishery catches. For instance, a U.S. recovery goal (2.3% annual population growth of killer whales over 28 years implies a 75% increase in energetic requirements. Reducing salmon fisheries may serve as a temporary mitigation measure to allow time for management actions to improve salmon productivity to take effect. As ecosystem-based fishery management becomes more prevalent, trade-offs between conservation objectives for predators and prey will become increasingly necessary. Our approach offers scenarios to compare relative influence of various sources of uncertainty on the resulting consumption estimates to prioritise future research efforts, and a general approach for assessing the extent of

  7. Target Strength of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca): Measurement and Modeling

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Xu, Jinshan; Deng, Zhiqun; Carlson, Thomas J.; Moore, Brian

    2012-04-04

    A major criterion for tidal power licensing in Washington’s Puget Sound is the management of the risk of injury to killer whales due to collision with moving turbine blades. An active monitoring system is being proposed for killer whale detection, tracking, and alerting that links to and triggers temporary turbine shutdown when there is risk of collision. Target strength (TS) modeling of the killer whale is critical to the design and application of any active monitoring system. A 1996 study performed a high-resolution measurement of acoustic reflectivity as a function of frequency of a female bottlenose dolphin (2.2 m length) at broadside aspect and TS as a function of incident angle at 67 kHz frequency. Assuming that killer whales share similar morphology structure with the bottlenose dolphin, we extrapolated the TS of an adult killer whale 7.5 m in length at 67 kHz frequency with -8 dB at broadside aspect and -28 dB at tail side. The backscattering data from three Southern Resident killer whales were analyzed to obtain the TS measurement. These data were collected at Lime Kiln State Park using a split-beam system deployed from a boat. The TS of the killer whale at higher frequency (200 kHz) was estimated based on a three-layer model for plane wave reflection from the lung of the whale. The TS data of killer whales were in good agreement with our model. In this paper, we also discuss and explain possible causes for measurement estimation error.

  8. Age determination of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the west coast of Jutland, Denmark

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pagh, Sussie; Chriél, Mariann; Hedayat, Abdi

    Age determination of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) by counting growth layer groups (GLG´s) in the teeth is to some extent considered to be subjective and only relative, due to: 1) Limited validation of GLG counts to “known age” of the individual; 2) Variation in methods for preparation of...... teeth. Pulp stones were seen in both erupted and non-erupted teeth from all three whales. Further studies are needed to develop the current preparation techniques to make clear and more easily readable GLG´s to obtain more accurate age determination of sperm whales....

  9. Environmental isolates of fungi from aquarium pools housing killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohata, Erina; Kano, Rui; Akune, Yuichiro; Ohno, Yoshito; Soichi, Makoto; Yanai, Tokuma; Hasegawa, Atsuhiko; Kamata, Hiroshi

    2013-12-01

    Systemic mycoses in killer whales (Orcinus orca) are rare diseases, but have been reported. Two killer whales died by fungal infections at the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Japan. In this study, the fungal flora of the pool environment at the aquarium was characterized. Alternaria spp., Aspergillus spp. (A. fumigatus, A. niger, A. versicolor), Fusarium spp. and Penicillium spp. were isolated from the air and the pool surroundings. The other isolates were identified as fungal species non-pathogenic for mammals. However, the species of fungi isolated from the environmental samples in this study were not the same as those isolated from the cases of disease in killer whales previously reported.

  10. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles from the western South Atlantic Ocean include high frequency signals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andriolo, Artur; Reis, Sarah S; Amorim, Thiago O S; Sucunza, Federico; de Castro, Franciele R; Maia, Ygor Geyer; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Bortolotto, Guilherme A; Dalla Rosa, Luciano

    2015-09-01

    Acoustic parameters of killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles were described for the western South Atlantic Ocean and highlight the occurrence of high frequency whistles. Killer whale signals were recorded on December of 2012, when a pod of four individuals was observed harassing a group of sperm whales. The high frequency whistles were highly stereotyped and were modulated mostly at ultrasonic frequencies. Compared to other contour types, the high frequency whistles are characterized by higher bandwidths, shorter durations, fewer harmonics, and higher sweep rates. The results add to the knowledge of vocal behavior of this species.

  11. Straight as an arrow: humpback whales swim constant course tracks during long-distance migration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horton, Travis W; Holdaway, Richard N; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Hauser, Nan; Garrigue, Claire; Andriolo, Artur; Clapham, Phillip J

    2011-10-23

    Humpback whale seasonal migrations, spanning greater than 6500 km of open ocean, demonstrate remarkable navigational precision despite following spatially and temporally distinct migration routes. Satellite-monitored radio tag-derived humpback whale migration tracks in both the South Atlantic and South Pacific include constant course segments of greater than 200 km, each spanning several days of continuous movement. The whales studied here maintain these directed movements, often with better than 1° precision, despite the effects of variable sea-surface currents. Such remarkable directional precision is difficult to explain by established models of directional orientation, suggesting that alternative compass mechanisms should be explored.

  12. Directionality of sperm whale sonar clicks and its relation to piston radiation theory

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Beedholm, K.; Møhl, Bertel

    2006-01-01

    This paper investigates the applicability to sperm whales of the theory of sound radiating from a piston. The theory is applied to a physical model and to a series of sperm whale clicks. Results show that wave forms of off-axis signals can be reproduced by convolving an on-axis signal...... with the spatial impulse response of a piston. The angle of a recorded click can be estimated as the angle producing the spatial impulse response that gives the best match with the observation when convolved with the on-axis wave form. It is concluded that piston theory applies to sperm whale sonar click emission....

  13. Humpback whale "super-groups" - A novel low-latitude feeding behaviour of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae in the Benguela Upwelling System.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ken P Findlay

    Full Text Available Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae generally undertake annual migrations from polar summer feeding grounds to winter calving and nursery grounds in subtropical and tropical coastal waters. Evidence for such migrations arises from seasonality of historic whaling catches by latitude, Discovery and natural mark returns, and results of satellite tagging studies. Feeding is generally believed to be limited to the southern polar region, where Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba has been identified as the primary prey item. Non-migrations and / or suspended migrations to the polar feeding grounds have previously been reported from a summer presence of whales in the Benguela System, where feeding on euphausiids (E. lucens, hyperiid amphipods (Themisto gaudichaudii, mantis shrimp (Pterygosquilla armata capensis and clupeid fish has been described. Three recent research cruises (in October/November 2011, October/November 2014 and October/November 2015 identified large tightly-spaced groups (20 to 200 individuals of feeding humpback whales aggregated over at least a one-month period across a 220 nautical mile region of the southern Benguela System. Feeding behaviour was identified by lunges, strong milling and repetitive and consecutive diving behaviours, associated bird and seal feeding, defecations and the pungent "fishy" smell of whale blows. Although no dedicated prey sampling could be carried out within the tightly spaced feeding aggregations, observations of E. lucens in the region of groups and the full stomach contents of mantis shrimp from both a co-occurring predatory fish species (Thyrsites atun and one entangled humpback whale mortality suggest these may be the primary prey items of at least some of the feeding aggregations. Reasons for this recent novel behaviour pattern remain speculative, but may relate to increasing summer humpback whale abundance in the region. These novel, predictable, inter-annual, low latitude

  14. Humpback whale "super-groups" - A novel low-latitude feeding behaviour of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Benguela Upwelling System.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Findlay, Ken P; Seakamela, S Mduduzi; Meÿer, Michael A; Kirkman, Stephen P; Barendse, Jaco; Cade, David E; Hurwitz, David; Kennedy, Amy S; Kotze, Pieter G H; McCue, Steven A; Thornton, Meredith; Vargas-Fonseca, O Alejandra; Wilke, Christopher G

    2017-01-01

    Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) generally undertake annual migrations from polar summer feeding grounds to winter calving and nursery grounds in subtropical and tropical coastal waters. Evidence for such migrations arises from seasonality of historic whaling catches by latitude, Discovery and natural mark returns, and results of satellite tagging studies. Feeding is generally believed to be limited to the southern polar region, where Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) has been identified as the primary prey item. Non-migrations and / or suspended migrations to the polar feeding grounds have previously been reported from a summer presence of whales in the Benguela System, where feeding on euphausiids (E. lucens), hyperiid amphipods (Themisto gaudichaudii), mantis shrimp (Pterygosquilla armata capensis) and clupeid fish has been described. Three recent research cruises (in October/November 2011, October/November 2014 and October/November 2015) identified large tightly-spaced groups (20 to 200 individuals) of feeding humpback whales aggregated over at least a one-month period across a 220 nautical mile region of the southern Benguela System. Feeding behaviour was identified by lunges, strong milling and repetitive and consecutive diving behaviours, associated bird and seal feeding, defecations and the pungent "fishy" smell of whale blows. Although no dedicated prey sampling could be carried out within the tightly spaced feeding aggregations, observations of E. lucens in the region of groups and the full stomach contents of mantis shrimp from both a co-occurring predatory fish species (Thyrsites atun) and one entangled humpback whale mortality suggest these may be the primary prey items of at least some of the feeding aggregations. Reasons for this recent novel behaviour pattern remain speculative, but may relate to increasing summer humpback whale abundance in the region. These novel, predictable, inter-annual, low latitude feeding events

  15. Humpback whale “super-groups” – A novel low-latitude feeding behaviour of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Benguela Upwelling System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seakamela, S. Mduduzi; Meÿer, Michael A.; Kirkman, Stephen P.; Barendse, Jaco; Cade, David E.; Hurwitz, David; Kennedy, Amy S.; Kotze, Pieter G. H.; McCue, Steven A.; Thornton, Meredith; Vargas-Fonseca, O. Alejandra; Wilke, Christopher G.

    2017-01-01

    Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) generally undertake annual migrations from polar summer feeding grounds to winter calving and nursery grounds in subtropical and tropical coastal waters. Evidence for such migrations arises from seasonality of historic whaling catches by latitude, Discovery and natural mark returns, and results of satellite tagging studies. Feeding is generally believed to be limited to the southern polar region, where Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) has been identified as the primary prey item. Non-migrations and / or suspended migrations to the polar feeding grounds have previously been reported from a summer presence of whales in the Benguela System, where feeding on euphausiids (E. lucens), hyperiid amphipods (Themisto gaudichaudii), mantis shrimp (Pterygosquilla armata capensis) and clupeid fish has been described. Three recent research cruises (in October/November 2011, October/November 2014 and October/November 2015) identified large tightly-spaced groups (20 to 200 individuals) of feeding humpback whales aggregated over at least a one-month period across a 220 nautical mile region of the southern Benguela System. Feeding behaviour was identified by lunges, strong milling and repetitive and consecutive diving behaviours, associated bird and seal feeding, defecations and the pungent “fishy” smell of whale blows. Although no dedicated prey sampling could be carried out within the tightly spaced feeding aggregations, observations of E. lucens in the region of groups and the full stomach contents of mantis shrimp from both a co-occurring predatory fish species (Thyrsites atun) and one entangled humpback whale mortality suggest these may be the primary prey items of at least some of the feeding aggregations. Reasons for this recent novel behaviour pattern remain speculative, but may relate to increasing summer humpback whale abundance in the region. These novel, predictable, inter-annual, low latitude feeding

  16. Crowdsourcing modern and historical data identifies sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus habitat offshore of south-western Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christopher Michael Johnson

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available The distribution and use of pelagic habitat by sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus is poorly understood in the south-eastern Indian Ocean off Western Australia. However, a variety of data are available via online portals where records of historical expeditions, commercial whaling operations, and modern scientific research voyages can now be accessed. Crowdsourcing these online data allows collation of presence-only information of animals and provides a valuable tool to help augment areas of low research effort. Four data sources were examined, the primary one being the Voyage of the Odyssey expedition, a five-year global study of sperm whales and ocean pollution. From December 2001-May 2002, acoustic surveys were conducted along 5,200 nautical miles of transects off Western Australia including the Perth Canyon and historical whaling grounds off Albany; 60 tissue biopsy samples were also collected. To augment areas not surveyed by the RV Odyssey, historical Yankee whaling data (1712-1920, commercial whaling data (1904-1999, and citizen science reports of sperm whale sightings (1990-2003 were used. Using Maxent, a species distribution modeling tool, we found that the submarine canyons off Albany and Perth provide important habitat for sperm whales. Current technology, along with current understanding of sperm whale bioacoustics and habitat preferences, provides strong motivation for undertaking long-term passive acoustic studies that can monitor the sperm whale population within Australia’s EEZ waters (Perth and Albany canyons as a way of informing future marine management and policy decisions.

  17. Relationships between High River Discharge, Upwelling Events, and Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus) Occurrence in the Central Alaskan Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, J.; Okkonen, S. R.; Potter, R. A.

    2016-02-01

    Aerial surveys of bowhead whales have been conducted in September in the central Alaskan Beaufort Sea (144°W-150°W) for several decades. These surveys, co-managed by BOEM and NOAA, have documented bowhead whale distribution that is almost exclusively on the continental shelf, generally from feeding behavior occasionally observed. In September 2014, several hundred bowhead whales were observed feeding on several occasions within a few kilometers of local barrier islands. This is an unusual situation that has been observed in September in only one other year (1997). To investigate local conditions that might be conducive to increased bowhead whale occurrence, freshwater discharge data from the Sagavanirktok and Kuparak rivers, surface wind data, and suspended sediment data obtained from MODIS satellite imagery were analyzed and compared to bowhead whale observations for September 1989-2014. Results indicate that anomalously high freshwater river discharge coupled with prior upwelling events, based on surface winds >5.4 m s-1, may combine to promote the aggregation of bowhead whale prey on the shallow shelf. When these two conditions were met, whales were sighted more frequently, were more likely to be in groups of ≥2 animals, and be closer to shore. Conversely, when either of the two conditions was not met, whales were sighted less frequently, more likely to be single animals, and be farther from shore. These results underscore annual variation during the bowhead whale fall migration and the physical oceanography processes that may be related to whale distribution and behavior.

  18. Stable isotopes of captive cetaceans (killer whales and bottlenose dolphins).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caut, Stéphane; Laran, Sophie; Garcia-Hartmann, Emmanuel; Das, Krishna

    2011-02-15

    There is currently a great deal of interest in using stable isotope methods to investigate diet, trophic level and migration in wild cetaceans. In order to correctly interpret the results stemming from these methods, it is crucial to understand how diet isotopic values are reflected in consumer tissues. In this study, we investigated patterns of isotopic discrimination between diet and blood constituents of two species of cetaceans (killer whale, Orcinus orca, and bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus) fed controlled diets over 308 and 312 days, respectively. Diet discrimination factors (Δ; mean ± s.d.) for plasma were estimated to Δ(13)C=2.3±0.6‰ and Δ(15)N=1.8±0.3‰, respectively, for both species and to Δ(13)C=2.7±0.3‰ and Δ(15)N=0.5±0.1‰ for red blood cells. Delipidation did not have a significant effect on carbon and nitrogen isotopic values of blood constituents, confirming that cetacean blood does not serve as a reservoir of lipids. In contrast, carbon isotopic values were higher in delipidated samples of blubber, liver and muscle from killer whales. The potential for conflict between fisheries and cetaceans has heightened the need for trophic information about these taxa. These results provide the first published stable isotope incorporation data for cetaceans, which are essential if conclusions are to be drawn on issues concerning trophic structures, carbon sources and diet reconstruction.

  19. Aerodynamic Design of Wing based on Humpback Whale Flipper

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akram, Saif; Baig, Faisal

    2013-11-01

    The tubercles provide a bio-inspired design that has commercial viability for wing-like structures. Wind tunnel tests at low speeds of model humpback flippers with leading-edge tubercles have demonstrated improvements tubercles make, such as a staggering 32% reduction in drag, 8% improvement in lift, and a 40% increase in angle of attack over smooth flippers before stalling. The tubercles on the leading edge act as a passive-flow control device that improves the performance and maneuverability of the flipper. Possible fluid-dynamic mechanisms for improved performance include delay of stall through generation of a vortex and modification of the boundary layer, and increase in effective span by reduction of both spanwise flow and strength of the tip vortex. In the present work, numerical investigation of a 3D wing with scalloped leading edge inspired by the humpback whale flipper is carried out at high subsonic speeds with variation in angle of attack from 0 to 25 degrees. The effect of using different turbulence models is also investigated in order to attain a better understanding of mechanism(s) responsible for improved aerodynamic performance. This new understanding of humpback whale flipper aerodynamics has strong implications for wing design.

  20. Hydrodynamics of a Digitized Adult Humpback Whale Flipper

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassmann, Wesley N.; McDonald, Samuel J.; Thomson, Scott L.; Fish, Frank E.

    2013-11-01

    During feeding, humpback whales turn with a turn radius of up to 1 /6th of their length towards schools of fish enclosed by bubble nets. This high maneuverability requirement is facilitated by high aspect ratio flippers with leading edge tubercles that delay stall. Previous experimental and computational studies have used idealized models, such as airfoils with scalloped leading edges, to explore the influence of leading edge tubercles on boundary layer separation, vortex generation, and airfoil lift and drag characteristics. Owing to the substantial size of the flipper, no studies have been performed on a digitized adult humpback flipper with real geometry. In this study the hydrodynamics of a realistic humpback flipper model were explored. The model was developed by digitizing a sequence of 18 images circumscribing the suspended flipper of a beached humpback whale. A physical prototype was constructed based on the resulting 3D model, along with a complementary model with the tubercles removed. Experimentally-obtained measurements of lift and drag were used to study the influence of the tubercles. In the presentation, digitization and flow measurement methods are described, and the flow data and results are presented and discussed.

  1. Non-song social call bouts of migrating humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rekdahl, Melinda L; Dunlop, Rebecca A; Goldizen, Anne W; Garland, Ellen C; Biassoni, Nicoletta; Miller, Patrick; Noad, Michael J

    2015-06-01

    The use of stereotyped calls within structured bouts has been described for a number of species and may increase the information potential of call repertoires. Humpback whales produce a repertoire of social calls, although little is known about the complexity or function of these calls. In this study, digital acoustic tag recordings were used to investigate social call use within bouts, the use of bouts across different social contexts, and whether particular call type combinations were favored. Call order within bouts was investigated using call transition frequencies and information theory techniques. Call bouts were defined through analysis of inter-call intervals, as any calls within 3.9 s of each other. Bouts were produced significantly more when new whales joined a group compared to groups that did not change membership, and in groups containing multiple adults escorting a female and calf compared to adult only groups. Although social calls tended to be produced in bouts, there were few repeated bout types. However, the order in which most call types were produced within bouts was non-random and dependent on the preceding call type. These bouts appear to be at least partially governed by rules for how individual components are combined.

  2. A hydrodynamically active flipper-stroke in humpback whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Segre, Paolo S; Seakamela, S Mduduzi; Meÿer, Michael A; Findlay, Ken P; Goldbogen, Jeremy A

    2017-07-10

    A central paradigm of aquatic locomotion is that cetaceans use fluke strokes to power their swimming while relying on lift and torque generated by the flippers to perform maneuvers such as rolls, pitch changes and turns [1]. Compared to other cetaceans, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have disproportionately large flippers with added structural features to aid in hydrodynamic performance [2,3]. Humpbacks use acrobatic lunging maneuvers to attack dense aggregations of krill or small fish, and their large flippers are thought to increase their maneuverability and thus their ability to capture prey. Immediately before opening their mouths, humpbacks will often rapidly move their flippers, and it has been hypothesized that this movement is used to corral prey [4,5] or to generate an upward pitching moment to counteract the torque caused by rapid water engulfment [6]. Here, we demonstrate an additional function for the rapid flipper movement during lunge feeding: the flippers are flapped using a complex, hydrodynamically active stroke to generate lift and increase propulsive thrust. We estimate that humpback flipper-strokes are capable of producing large forward oriented forces, which may be used to enhance lunge feeding performance. This behavior is the first observation of a lift-generating flipper-stroke for propulsion cetaceans and provides an additional function for the uniquely shaped humpback whale flipper. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Comparative hepatic microsomal biotransformation of selected PBDEs, including decabromodiphenyl ether, and decabromodiphenyl ethane flame retardants in Arctic marine-feeding mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; De Guise, Sylvain; Skirnisson, Karl; Karlsson, Karl; Steingrímsson, Egill; Letcher, Robert J

    2011-07-01

    The present study assessed and compared the oxidative and reductive biotransformation of brominated flame retardants, including established polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and emerging decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE) using an in vitro system based on liver microsomes from various arctic marine-feeding mammals: polar bear (Ursus maritimus), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), and ringed seal (Pusa hispida), and in laboratory rat as a mammalian model species. Greater depletion of fully brominated BDE209 (14-25% of 30 pmol) and DBDPE (44-74% of 90 pmol) occurred in individuals from all species relative to depletion of lower brominated PBDEs (BDEs 99, 100, and 154; 0-3% of 30 pmol). No evidence of simply debrominated metabolites was observed. Investigation of phenolic metabolites in rat and polar bear revealed formation of two phenolic, likely multiply debrominated, DBDPE metabolites in polar bear and one phenolic BDE154 metabolite in polar bear and rat microsomes. For BDE209 and DBDPE, observed metabolite concentrations were low to nondetectable, despite substantial parent depletion. These findings suggested possible underestimation of the ecosystem burden of total-BDE209, as well as its transformation products, and a need for research to identify and characterize the persistence and toxicity of major BDE209 metabolites. Similar cause for concern may exist regarding DBDPE, given similarities of physicochemical and environmental behavior to BDE209, current evidence of biotransformation, and increasing use of DBDPE as a replacement for BDE209. Copyright © 2011 SETAC.

  4. Vocalization Source Level Distributions and Pulse Compression Gains of Diverse Baleen Whale Species in the Gulf of Maine

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Delin Wang

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available The vocalization source level distributions and pulse compression gains are estimated for four distinct baleen whale species in the Gulf of Maine: fin, sei, minke and an unidentified baleen whale species. The vocalizations were received on a large-aperture densely-sampled coherent hydrophone array system useful for monitoring marine mammals over instantaneous wide areas via the passive ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing technique. For each baleen whale species, between 125 and over 1400 measured vocalizations with significantly high Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNR > 10 dB after coherent beamforming and localized with high accuracies (<10% localization errors over ranges spanning roughly 1 km–30 km are included in the analysis. The whale vocalization received pressure levels are corrected for broadband transmission losses modeled using a calibrated parabolic equation-based acoustic propagation model for a random range-dependent ocean waveguide. The whale vocalization source level distributions are characterized by the following means and standard deviations, in units of dB re 1 μ Pa at 1 m: 181.9 ± 5.2 for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 173.5 ± 3.2 for sei whale downsweep chirps, 177.7 ± 5.4 for minke whale pulse trains and 169.6 ± 3.5 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls. The broadband vocalization equivalent pulse-compression gains are found to be 2.5 ± 1.1 for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 24 ± 10 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls and 69 ± 23 for sei whale downsweep chirps. These pulse compression gains are found to be roughly proportional to the inter-pulse intervals of the vocalizations, which are 11 ± 5 s for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 29 ± 18 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls and 52 ± 33 for sei whale downsweep chirps. The source level distributions and pulse compression gains are essential for determining signal-to-noise ratios and hence detection regions for baleen whale

  5. Feeding grounds of the eastern South Pacific humpback whale population include the South Orkney Islands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luciano Dalla Rosa

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available This paper reports on two photo-identified humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae that were sighted in different years in the proximity of the South Orkney Islands, at the boundary between the Scotia and Weddell seas (60°54.5'S—46°40.4'W and 60°42.6'S—45°33'W. One of the whales had been previously sighted off Ecuador, a breeding ground for the eastern South Pacific population. The other whale was subsequently resighted in Bransfield Strait, off the western Antarctic Peninsula, a well-documented feeding ground for the same population. These matches give support to a hypothesis that the area south of the South Orkney Islands is occupied by whales from the eastern South Pacific breeding stock. Consequently, we propose 40°W as a new longitudinal boundary between the feeding grounds associated with the eastern South Pacific and western South Atlantic breeding stocks.

  6. Body size shifts and early warning signals precede the historic collapse of whale stocks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clements, Christopher F; Blanchard, Julia L; Nash, Kirsty L; Hindell, Mark A; Ozgul, Arpat

    2017-06-22

    Predicting population declines is a key challenge in the face of global environmental change. Abundance-based early warning signals have been shown to precede population collapses; however, such signals are sensitive to the low reliability of abundance estimates. Here, using historical data on whales harvested during the 20th century, we demonstrate that early warning signals can be present not only in the abundance data, but also in the more reliable body size data of wild populations. We show that during the period of commercial whaling, the mean body size of caught whales declined dramatically (by up to 4 m over a 70-year period), leading to early warning signals being detectable up to 40 years before the global collapse of whale stocks. Combining abundance and body size data can reduce the length of the time series required to predict collapse, and decrease the chances of false positive early warning signals.

  7. The fibrocartilage skeleton and related structures of the ventral pouch of balaenopterid whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pivorunas, A

    1977-02-01

    The mandibular symphysis of rorqual whales, whales of the genera Megaptera and Balaenoptera, is characterized by a Y-shaped fibrocartilage structure that lies in the substance of the muscular ventral pouch of these animals. The stem of the structure joins with the symphysis and is usually indicated externally by an unfurrowed median strip of blubber that has been called the "cutwater" by earlier writers. The arms of the Y pass back and are superficially indicated in all rorqual whales as a ridge running parallel to the rami of the mandibles. This fibrocartilage skeleton of the pouch is most closely related to the mylohyoid muscle. The function of the fibrocartilage Y is probably linked with the jaw mechanics of these whales, but its precise function is otherwise not known.

  8. Brucella ceti Infection in a Common Minke Whale ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) with Associated Pathology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davison, Nicholas J; Perrett, Lorraine L; Dawson, Claire; Dagleish, Mark P; Haskins, Gary; Muchowski, Jakub; Whatmore, Adrian M

    2017-07-01

    There are three major lineages of marine mammal strains of Brucella spp.: Brucella ceti ST23, found predominantly in porpoises; B. ceti ST26, in pelagic delphinids and ziphiids; and Brucella pinnipedialis ST24/25, predominantly in seals. The isolation of Brucella spp. in mysticetes has been described only in common minke whales ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) in Norway and Scotland. We report a third case of Brucella infection and isolation in a minke whale associated with a large abscess. In contrast to the two previous reports that involved isolates of B. pinnipedialis ST24 or the porpoise-associated B. ceti complex ST23, this case was associated with the dolphin-associated B. ceti ST26. Thus, minke whales can be infected naturally with members of all the distinct major lineages of Brucella associated with marine mammals. This report is unique in that the B. ceti ST26 did not originate from a pelagic delphinid or a beaked whale.

  9. Analysis of Sperm Whale Acoustic Signals in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Thode, Aaron

    2003-01-01

    The objectives of the program was to develop and demonstrate an automated procedure for passively tracking sperm whales in three-dimensions, using natural vocalizations recorded on two towed arrays...

  10. AFSC/NMML: Bowhead whale aerial surveys and photography near Barrow, Alaska, from 1979-1992

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Bowhead whales were documented during their spring migration most years from 1979 to 1992 by biologists from NMML. This documentation consisted of flying aerial...

  11. Calls of Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) recorded in the Gulf of California (L).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Viloria-Gómora, Lorena; Romero-Vivas, Eduardo; Urbán, Jorge R

    2015-11-01

    A total of 109 recordings aiming to identify Bryde's whale calls were collected from the Gulf of California, Mexico, during field trips performed from January 2010 to June 2014. Vocalizations were recorded only when no calves were observed. Four types of calls were identified. Calls similar to the Be4 call type previously reported for the Eastern Tropical Pacific region and South of California were recorded. In addition, three calls, not reported in previous studies of the Bryde's whale, have also been identified. The identification of these calls, which were labeled Be10, Be11, and Be12, enables expansion of the known acoustic repertoire of this species, which is currently poorly documented. The identification of three previously unreported calls and the confidence given by careful visual confirmation of the whale species and number of individuals contribute to make this study a significant contribution toward the acoustic monitoring of Bryde's whale.

  12. AFSC/NMML: Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program Humpback Whale Catalog

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Since 1980, the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory has been collecting photos of humpback whales (Megaptera...

  13. Fossil traces of the bone-eating worm Osedax in early Oligocene whale bones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiel, Steffen; Goedert, James L; Kahl, Wolf-Achim; Rouse, Greg W

    2010-05-11

    Osedax is a recently discovered group of siboglinid annelids that consume bones on the seafloor and whose evolutionary origins have been linked with Cretaceous marine reptiles or to the post-Cretaceous rise of whales. Here we present whale bones from early Oligocene bathyal sediments exposed in Washington State, which show traces similar to those made by Osedax today. The geologic age of these trace fossils ( approximately 30 million years) coincides with the first major radiation of whales, consistent with the hypothesis of an evolutionary link between Osedax and its main food source, although older fossils should certainly be studied. Osedax has been destroying bones for most of the evolutionary history of whales and the possible significance of this "Osedax effect" in relation to the quality and quantity of their fossils is only now recognized.

  14. Responses of Whales to Experimental Playback of Low- Frequency Sound from the Navy SURTASS LFA

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Clark, Christopher

    1999-01-01

    .... A suite of data collection protocols and techniques were combined to document evidence of response from whales over time scales from a few minutes up to one month, and over distances of approximately...

  15. Annual changes in the song of the bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus in Disko Bay, Western Greenland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Miller, Lee

    studies recording sound from the Davis Strait population (Richardson et al 1995, Richardson and Finley 1989). Songs have been recorded from bowhead whales during their spring migration off Point Barrow when the whales were returning from their breeding grounds and swimming towards their feeding areas......presented by Outi at: Acoustic Communication by Animals, 2nd International Conference, August 12-15, 2008, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USAAnnual changes in the song of the bowhead whale Balaena mysticetusin Disko Bay, Western GreenlandOuti Tervo and Mads F. Christoffersen, Arctic...... of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, DenmarkBowhead whale Balaena mysticetus acoustic behaviour has been a target of several investigations, primarily from recordings of the Bering Sea population near Alaska (Ljungblad et al 1980, Clark and Johnson 1984, Cummings and Holliday 1987) with a few...

  16. Serum chemistry and evidence of renal failure in the North Atlantic fin whale population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lambertsen, R H; Birnir, B; Bauer, J E

    1986-07-01

    Serum electrolytes, urea nitrogen, creatinine, albumin and globulin were studied in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) caught by commercial whalers in the North Atlantic (Denmark Strait area). Blood samples were obtained by catchment or cardiac puncture within 5-15 min of death and analyzed using automated spectrophotometric methods and flame photometry. Osmolality was determined for two serum samples by a vapor pressure method. Linear regressions determined for each measured serum variable vs. chase time suggested that pursuit of the whales prior to capture had no substantive effect on measured serum chemistry. As in other cetaceans, serum sodium, chloride, urea nitrogen and osmolality were distinctly higher in the fin whale than in terrestrial mammals. The total concentration of serum proteins, however, was 1.4-1.8 g/dl lower, on average, than reported in small toothed whales, and was similar to that of domesticated animals. One animal in this population showed alterations in serum chemistry which were consistent with renal failure.

  17. Genetic characteristics of western North Pacific sei whales, Balaenoptera borealis, as revealed by microsatellites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kanda, N; Goto, M; Pastene, L A

    2006-01-01

    Genetic characteristics of sei whales, Balaenoptera borealis, inhabiting the western North Pacific were analyzed at 17 microsatellite loci in a total of 89 whales obtained from the area between 37 degrees N-45 degrees N and 147 degrees E-166 degrees E in 2002 (N=39) and 2003 (N=50). All the loci analyzed were polymorphic over the samples, some of the loci had more than 10 alleles, indicating a high level of genetic variation within samples. No significant deviation from the expected Hardy-Weinberg genotypic proportion was observed at the 17 loci in the samples. No evidence of genetic heterogeneity in allele frequencies was observed between sexes within samples as well as between the two temporally different samples, indicating a single population of sei whales inhabiting the western North Pacific. We finally tested and demonstrated that the population appeared not to suffer from genetic bottleneck as a result of population decline from past commercial whaling.

  18. AFSC/NMML: North Pacific Right Whale Vessel Surveys in the Southeastern Bering Sea, 2007 - 2011

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The North Pacific right whale (NPRW) was heavily hunted between the 17th and the 20th centuries. Protection was supposedly afforded by international treaties in the...

  19. AFSC/NMML: Bowhead Whale Aerial Abundance Survey off Barrow, Alaska, Spring 2011

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — Aerial photographic surveys for bowhead whales were conducted near Point Barrow, Alaska, from 19 April to 6 June in 2011. Approximately 4,594 photographs containing...

  20. Monitoring and Mitigation Alternatives for Protection of North Atlantic Right Whales during Offshore Wind Farm Installation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carlson, Thomas J. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Halvorsen, Michele B. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Matzner, Shari [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Copping, Andrea E. [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Stavole, Jessica [Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)

    2012-09-01

    Progress report on defining and determining monitoring and mitigation measures for protecting North Atlantic Right Whales from the effects of pile driving and other activities associated with installation of offshore wind farms.

  1. Acoustic Ecology and Remote Acoustic Monitoring of a Minke Whale Population

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Gedamke, Jason

    2000-01-01

    Sound is the most effective means of communication in the ocean. A uniquely inquisitive minke whale population on the northern Great Barrier Reef presents an unprecedented research opportunity to study minke acoustics...

  2. SWFSC/MMTD: Collaborative Large Whale Survey (CLaWS) 2015

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The Collaborative Large Whale Survey is a joint field effort by Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC). The 4-month...

  3. The diet of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus Linnaeus 1758) off the Azores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, M R; Martins, H R; Pascoe, P

    1993-01-29

    Stomach contents from 17 sperm whales, 15 males and two females, caught during commercial activities in 1981-1984 in the Azores region were identified and measured. A total of 28,738 cephalopods and 16 fish were represented in the collections. In addition, there were tunicates in two whales and man-made products in three whales. None of the stomachs were empty. Flesh was present in 94.1% and indigestible fragments alone, including mandibles (beaks) of cephalopods, were present in 5.9% of the stomachs. Twelve species of cephalopod were represented by flesh and 40 species were represented by lower beaks. The cephalopod families contributing food to the whales in this region are, in order of their contribution by estimated mass, the Octopoteuthidae (39.8%), the Histioteuthidae (32.7%), the Architeuthidae (12.1%), the Lepidoteuthidae (4.5%), the Ommastrephidae (3.4%), the Pholidoteuthidae (2.1%), the Cycloteuthidae (1.9%), the Cranchiidae (1.7%) and eight other families each contributing less than 1% by mass. Presence of Gonatus beaks in the stomachs show which whales have migrated southwards to the Azores just prior to capture and the presence of a large Megalocranchia species possibly shows which whales have migrated from higher latitudes off Iceland. However, the presence of Teuthowenia maculata shows which whales came north from the West coast of Africa, just prior to capture. The modal mass of cephalopods consumed is 400-450 g which represents 0.00001 of the whales' body mass. 77.5% of the species eaten have luminous organs and 82% of the species are neutrally buoyant. It seems likely that the sperm whale is obtaining 77% of its food by swimming through luminous shoals of slow-swimming, neutrally bouyant squids and only about 23% by chasing faster swimming, larger cephalopods. Cephalopods not previously recorded from the North Atlantic are Onychoteuthis boreali-japonicus, and Histioteuthis bonnellii corpuscula. Histioteuthis ?miranda may have been collected by the

  4. Getting it right for the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaenaglacialis): a last opportunity for effective marine spatial planning?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petruny, Loren M; Wright, Andrew J; Smith, Courtney E

    2014-08-15

    The North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) faces increasing pressure from commercial shipping traffic and proposed marine renewable energy developments. Drawing upon the successful Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary model, we propose a multi-stakeholder marine spatial planning process that considers both appropriate positioning of offshore wind farms and redefining commercial shipping lanes relative to whale migration routes: placement of wind turbines within certain right whale habitats may prove beneficial for the species. To that end, it may be advisable to initially relocate the shipping lanes for the benefit of the whales prior to selecting wind energy areas. The optimal end-state is the commercial viability of renewable energy, as well as a safe shipping infrastructure, with minimal risk of collision and exposure to shipping noise for the whales. This opportunity to manage impacts on right whales could serve as a model for other problematic interactions between marine life and commercial activities. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Super-aggregations of krill and humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas P Nowacek

    Full Text Available Ecological relationships of krill and whales have not been explored in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP, and have only rarely been studied elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. In the austral autumn we observed an extremely high density (5.1 whales per km(2 of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae feeding on a super-aggregation of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba in Wilhelmina Bay. The krill biomass was approximately 2 million tons, distributed over an area of 100 km(2 at densities of up to 2000 individuals m(-3; reports of such 'super-aggregations' of krill have been absent in the scientific literature for >20 years. Retentive circulation patterns in the Bay entrained phytoplankton and meso-zooplankton that were grazed by the krill. Tagged whales rested during daylight hours and fed intensively throughout the night as krill migrated toward the surface. We infer that the previously unstudied WAP embayments are important foraging areas for whales during autumn and, furthermore, that meso-scale variation in the distribution of whales and their prey are important features of this system. Recent decreases in the abundance of Antarctic krill around the WAP have been linked to reductions in sea ice, mediated by rapid climate change in this area. At the same time, baleen whale populations in the Southern Ocean, which feed primarily on krill, are recovering from past exploitation. Consideration of these features and the effects of climate change on krill dynamics are critical to managing both krill harvests and the recovery of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean.

  6. Skull and buccal cavity allometry increase mass-specific engulfment capacity in fin whales

    OpenAIRE

    Goldbogen, Jeremy A.; Potvin, Jean; Shadwick, Robert E.

    2009-01-01

    Rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae) represent not only some of the largest animals of all time, but also exhibit a wide range in intraspecific and interspecific body size. Balaenopterids are characterized by their extreme lunge-feeding behaviour, a dynamic process that involves the engulfment of a large volume of prey-laden water at a high energetic cost. To investigate the consequences of scale and morphology on lunge-feeding performance, we determined allometric equations for fin whale body di...

  7. Foraging behavior of humpback whales: kinematic and respiratory patterns suggest a high cost for a lunge.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldbogen, Jeremy A; Calambokidis, John; Croll, Donald A; Harvey, James T; Newton, Kelly M; Oleson, Erin M; Schorr, Greg; Shadwick, Robert E

    2008-12-01

    Lunge feeding in rorqual whales is a drag-based feeding mechanism that is thought to entail a high energetic cost and consequently limit the maximum dive time of these extraordinarily large predators. Although the kinematics of lunge feeding in fin whales supports this hypothesis, it is unclear whether respiratory compensation occurs as a consequence of lunge-feeding activity. We used high-resolution digital tags on foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaengliae) to determine the number of lunges executed per dive as well as respiratory frequency between dives. Data from two whales are reported, which together performed 58 foraging dives and 451 lunges. During one study, we tracked one tagged whale for approximately 2 h and examined the spatial distribution of prey using a digital echosounder. These data were integrated with the dive profile to reveal that lunges are directed toward the upper boundary of dense krill aggregations. Foraging dives were characterized by a gliding descent, up to 15 lunges at depth, and an ascent powered by steady swimming. Longer dives were required to perform more lunges at depth and these extended apneas were followed by an increase in the number of breaths taken after a dive. Maximum dive durations during foraging were approximately half of those previously reported for singing (i.e. non-feeding) humpback whales. At the highest lunge frequencies (10 to 15 lunges per dive), respiratory rate was at least threefold higher than that of singing humpback whales that underwent a similar degree of apnea. These data suggest that the high energetic cost associated with lunge feeding in blue and fin whales also occurs in intermediate sized rorquals.

  8. Fine Scale Baleen Whale Behavior Observed Via Tagging Over Daily Time Scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    receiver and an ARGOS radio transmitter integrated in the whale-borne tag. Every 5-15 minutes, FastLoc GPS data collected during the tagged whales...surfacings will be telemetered from the tag to a local ARGOS receiver aboard an oceanographic vessel where the whales’ position will be calculated and...Computers MK10- PATF tag and shipboard ARGOS receiving system. Fastloc GPS data is telemetered via an ARGOS transmitter from the tag to a local

  9. Remote Monitoring of Dolphins and Whales in the High Naval Activity Areas in Hawaiian Waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    publicity and law suits so it would be prudent to take steps to increase the odds against any encounters. Therefore, basic infor- mation on the biology ...jointly developed by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) and the Coral Reef Ecological Division of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries...whales is not consistent with beaked whale diving behavior at the AUTEC range in Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas, and at the Josephine seamount off the

  10. Conduct Research on the Foraging Ecology of Beaked Whales in Hawaiian Waters

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    R., Wiggins, S., and Hildebrand, J. (2008). “Temporal pattern in the acoustic signals of beaked whales at Cross Seamount .” Biol. Lett. 4, 208-211...1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Conduct Research on the Foraging Ecology of Beaked...Whales in Hawaiian Waters Whitlow W. L. Au & Marc O. Lammers Marine Mammal Research Program Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology phone: (808) 247

  11. A spatially explicit estimate of the prewhaling abundance of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monsarrat, Sophie; Pennino, M Grazia; Smith, Tim D; Reeves, Randall R; Meynard, Christine N; Kaplan, David M; Rodrigues, Ana S L

    2016-08-01

    The North Atlantic right whale (NARW) (Eubalaena glacialis) is one of the world's most threatened whales. It came close to extinction after nearly a millennium of exploitation and currently persists as a population of only approximately 500 individuals. Setting appropriate conservation targets for this species requires an understanding of its historical population size, as a baseline for measuring levels of depletion and progress toward recovery. This is made difficult by the scarcity of records over this species' long whaling history. We sought to estimate the preexploitation population size of the North Atlantic right whale and understand how this species was distributed across its range. We used a spatially explicit data set on historical catches of North Pacific right whales (NPRWs) (Eubalaena japonica) to model the relationship between right whale relative density and the environment during the summer feeding season. Assuming the 2 right whale species select similar environments, we projected this model to the North Atlantic to predict how the relative abundance of NARWs varied across their range. We calibrated these relative abundances with estimates of the NPRW total prewhaling population size to obtain high and low estimates for the overall NARW population size prior to exploitation. The model predicted 9,075-21,328 right whales in the North Atlantic. The current NARW population is thus <6% of the historical North Atlantic carrying capacity and has enormous potential for recovery. According to the model, in June-September NARWs concentrated in 2 main feeding areas: east of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and in the Norwegian Sea. These 2 areas may become important in the future as feeding grounds and may already be used more regularly by this endangered species than is thought. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  12. Super-aggregations of krill and humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nowacek, Douglas P; Friedlaender, Ari S; Halpin, Patrick N; Hazen, Elliott L; Johnston, David W; Read, Andrew J; Espinasse, Boris; Zhou, Meng; Zhu, Yiwu

    2011-04-27

    Ecological relationships of krill and whales have not been explored in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), and have only rarely been studied elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. In the austral autumn we observed an extremely high density (5.1 whales per km(2)) of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding on a super-aggregation of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in Wilhelmina Bay. The krill biomass was approximately 2 million tons, distributed over an area of 100 km(2) at densities of up to 2000 individuals m(-3); reports of such 'super-aggregations' of krill have been absent in the scientific literature for >20 years. Retentive circulation patterns in the Bay entrained phytoplankton and meso-zooplankton that were grazed by the krill. Tagged whales rested during daylight hours and fed intensively throughout the night as krill migrated toward the surface. We infer that the previously unstudied WAP embayments are important foraging areas for whales during autumn and, furthermore, that meso-scale variation in the distribution of whales and their prey are important features of this system. Recent decreases in the abundance of Antarctic krill around the WAP have been linked to reductions in sea ice, mediated by rapid climate change in this area. At the same time, baleen whale populations in the Southern Ocean, which feed primarily on krill, are recovering from past exploitation. Consideration of these features and the effects of climate change on krill dynamics are critical to managing both krill harvests and the recovery of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean.

  13. Extensively remodeled, fractured cetacean tympanic bullae show that whales can survive traumatic injury to the ears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamato, Maya; Khidas, Kamal; Pyenson, Nicholas D; Fordyce, R Ewan; Mead, James G

    2016-01-01

    Underwater human activities and anthropogenic noise in our oceans may be a major source of habitat degradation for marine life. This issue was highlighted by the opening of the United States Eastern Seaboard for seismic oil and gas exploration in 2014, which generated massive media coverage and widespread concern that seismic surveys could kill or deafen whales. We discovered 11 new specimens of fractured and healed cetacean ear bones, out of a survey of 2127 specimens housed in museum collections. This rare condition has been previously reported only in two specimens of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) from the early 1900s, summarized by Fraser & Purves (1953). All of our new specimens are represented by species for which this condition had never been reported previously, including both baleen and toothed whales. The baleen whale specimens (Balaenoptera physalus, Balaenoptera borealis, Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were collected during Canadian commercial whaling operations in the Atlantic Ocean in the 1970s; the specimens include ear bones with well-healed fractures, demonstrating that baleen whales are capable of overcoming traumatic injury to the ears. The toothed whale specimens (Delphinus sp., Berardius bairdii) were found dead on beaches in 1972 and 2001, respectively, with less remodeled fractures. Thus, ear injuries may be more lethal to the echolocating toothed whales, which rely on hearing for navigation and foraging. We explore several hypotheses regarding how these injuries could have occurred, and conclude that the most parsimonious explanations appear to be both direct and indirect effects of lytic processes from disease or calcium depletion, or damage from external pressure waves. Although further research is required to confirm whether the fractures resulted from natural or human-induced events, this study underscores the importance of museum collections and the work of stranding networks in understanding the potential effects of modern human

  14. Soundwatch: Eighteen years of monitoring whale watch vessel activities in the Salish Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seely, Elizabeth; Osborne, Richard W; Koski, Kari; Larson, Shawn

    2017-01-01

    The Soundwatch Boater Education Program is a vessel monitoring and public education outreach program. Soundwatch has been run by The Whale Museum (TWM) during the whale watch season (May through September) in the Haro Strait Region of the Central Salish Sea since 1993. Data collection has been in a consistent manner since 1998 and is presented here. The program compiles data on vessel types and vessel interactions with marine mammals with a focus on the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW), Orcinas orca, which was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2005. The primary goal of the Soundwatch program is to reduce vessel disturbance to SRKWs and other marine wildlife through the education of boaters on regional, local and federal guidelines and regulations and the systematic monitoring of vessel activities around cetaceans. Since 1998, the number of active commercial whale watching vessels has increased over time; ranging from a low of 63 in 1999, to a high of 96 in 2015. In addition, the number of vessel incidents or violation of regulations and guidelines has also increased; ranging from a low of 398 in 1998 to a high of 2621 in 2012. Soundwatch collected data on 23 incident types, some remaining the same over the 18-year data set and some changing over time. The most common incidents over the 18 years were "Within 880 m of Lime Kiln" and "Crossing the path of whales". The numbers of people kayaking near whales also significantly increased since 2004 with the incident "kayaks spread out" with a significantly increasing trend making it difficult for whales to avoid vessels. These results suggest a need for further outreach for effective education and enforcement of whale watching guidelines and regulations in the Central Salish Sea.

  15. Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) Behavior and Group Dynamics as Observed from an Aircraft off Southern California

    OpenAIRE

    Kate Lomac-MacNair; Mari Ann Smultea

    2016-01-01

    Group behavior and interactions of endangered blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have not been systematically studied. Such behavioral data are often overlooked when assessing anthropogenic effects. Yet behavioral data are necessary to compare “normal” behaviors with behavior affected by anthropogenic factors of concern relative to effective management and recovery of blue whales. For a baseline study, we hypothesized that the response variables sighting rate, group size, calf pr...

  16. Development and Validation of a Technique for Detection of Stress and Pregnancy in Large Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    first objective is to develop and conduct analytical and preliminary biological validations of pregnancy and stress hormones for three large whales...archived samples from whales with known life history or behaviors. APPROACH The proposal is for a two year project in which the first year will...serve as the proof of concept and the second year will complete the validation and add life history and behavior data. Details of each year’s

  17. Genetic Kinship Analyses Reveal That Gray's Beaked Whales Strand in Unrelated Groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patel, Selina; Thompson, Kirsten F; Santure, Anna W; Constantine, Rochelle; Millar, Craig D

    2017-06-01

    Some marine mammals are so rarely seen that their life history and social structure remain a mystery. Around New Zealand, Gray's beaked whales (Mesoplodon grayi) are almost never seen alive, yet they are a commonly stranded species. Gray's are unique among the beaked whales in that they frequently strand in groups, providing an opportunity to investigate their social organization. We examined group composition and genetic kinship in 113 Gray's beaked whales with samples collected over a 20-year period. Fifty-six individuals stranded in 19 groups (2 or more individuals), and 57 whales stranded individually. Mitochondrial control region haplotypes and microsatellite genotypes (16 loci) were obtained for 103 whales. We estimated pairwise relatedness between all pairs of individuals and average relatedness within, and between, groups. We identified 6 mother-calf pairs and 2 half-siblings, including 2 whales in different strandings 17 years and 1500 km apart. Surprisingly, none of the adults stranding together were related suggesting that groups are not formed through the retention of kin. These data suggest that both sexes may disperse from their mothers, and groups consisting of unrelated subadults are common. We also found no instances of paternity within the groups. Our results provide the first insights into dispersal, social organization, and the mating system in this rarely sighted species. Why whales strand is still unknown but, in Gray's beaked whales, the dead can tell us much about the living. © The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  18. Soundwatch: Eighteen years of monitoring whale watch vessel activities in the Salish Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth Seely

    Full Text Available The Soundwatch Boater Education Program is a vessel monitoring and public education outreach program. Soundwatch has been run by The Whale Museum (TWM during the whale watch season (May through September in the Haro Strait Region of the Central Salish Sea since 1993. Data collection has been in a consistent manner since 1998 and is presented here. The program compiles data on vessel types and vessel interactions with marine mammals with a focus on the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW, Orcinas orca, which was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA in 2005. The primary goal of the Soundwatch program is to reduce vessel disturbance to SRKWs and other marine wildlife through the education of boaters on regional, local and federal guidelines and regulations and the systematic monitoring of vessel activities around cetaceans. Since 1998, the number of active commercial whale watching vessels has increased over time; ranging from a low of 63 in 1999, to a high of 96 in 2015. In addition, the number of vessel incidents or violation of regulations and guidelines has also increased; ranging from a low of 398 in 1998 to a high of 2621 in 2012. Soundwatch collected data on 23 incident types, some remaining the same over the 18-year data set and some changing over time. The most common incidents over the 18 years were "Within 880 m of Lime Kiln" and "Crossing the path of whales". The numbers of people kayaking near whales also significantly increased since 2004 with the incident "kayaks spread out" with a significantly increasing trend making it difficult for whales to avoid vessels. These results suggest a need for further outreach for effective education and enforcement of whale watching guidelines and regulations in the Central Salish Sea.

  19. Longitudinal evaluation of leukocyte transcripts in killer whales (Orcinus Orca)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sitt, Tatjana; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lee, Chia-Shan; Blanchard, Myra; McBain, James; Dold, Christopher; Stott, Jeffrey L.

    2016-01-01

    Early identification of illness and/or presence of environmental and/or social stressors in free-ranging and domestic cetaceans is a priority for marine mammal health care professionals. Incorporation of leukocyte gene transcript analysis into the diagnostic tool kit has the potential to augment classical diagnostics based upon ease of sample storage and shipment, inducible nature and well-defined roles of transcription and associated downstream actions. Development of biomarkers that could serve to identify “insults” and potentially differentiate disease etiology would be of great diagnostic value. To this end, a modest number of peripheral blood leukocyte gene transcripts were selected for application to a domestic killer whale population with a focus on broad representation of inducible immunologically relevant genes. Normalized leukocyte transcript values, longitudinally acquired from 232 blood samples derived from 26 clinically healthy whales, were not visibly influenced temporally nor by sex or the specific Park in which they resided. Stability in leukocyte transcript number during periods of health enhances their potential use in diagnostics through identification of outliers. Transcript levels of two cytokine genes, IL-4 and IL-17, were highly variable within the group as compared to the other transcripts. IL-4 transcripts were typically absent. Analysis of transcript levels on the other genes of interest, on an individual animal basis, identified more outliers than were visible when analyzed in the context of the entire population. The majority of outliers (9 samples) were low, though elevated transcripts were identified for IL-17 from 2 animals and one each for Cox-2 and IL-10. The low number of outliers was not unexpected as sample selection was intentionally directed towards animals that were clinically healthy at the time of collection. Outliers may reflect animals experiencing subclinical disease that is transient and self-limiting. The

  20. Longitudinal evaluation of leukocyte transcripts in killer whales (Orcinus Orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sitt, Tatjana; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lee, Chia-Shan; Blanchard, Myra T; McBain, James; Dold, Christopher; Stott, Jeffrey L

    2016-07-01

    Early identification of illness and/or presence of environmental and/or social stressors in free-ranging and domestic cetaceans is a priority for marine mammal health care professionals. Incorporation of leukocyte gene transcript analysis into the diagnostic tool kit has the potential to augment classical diagnostics based upon ease of sample storage and shipment, inducible nature and well-defined roles of transcription and associated downstream actions. Development of biomarkers that could serve to identify "insults" and potentially differentiate disease etiology would be of great diagnostic value. To this end, a modest number of peripheral blood leukocyte gene transcripts were selected for application to a domestic killer whale population with a focus on broad representation of inducible immunologically relevant genes. Normalized leukocyte transcript values, longitudinally acquired from 232 blood samples derived from 26 clinically healthy whales, were not visibly influenced temporally nor by sex or the specific Park in which they resided. Stability in leukocyte transcript number during periods of health enhances their potential use in diagnostics through identification of outliers. Transcript levels of two cytokine genes, IL-4 and IL-17, were highly variable within the group as compared to the other transcripts. IL-4 transcripts were typically absent. Analysis of transcript levels on the other genes of interest, on an individual animal basis, identified more outliers than were visible when analyzed in the context of the entire population. The majority of outliers (9 samples) were low, though elevated transcripts were identified for IL-17 from 2 animals and one each for Cox-2 and IL-10. The low number of outliers was not unexpected as sample selection was intentionally directed towards animals that were clinically healthy at the time of collection. Outliers may reflect animals experiencing subclinical disease that is transient and self-limiting. The immunologic