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Sample records for whale balaenoptera bonaerensis

  1. Mysterious bio-duck sound attributed to the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Risch, Denise; Gales, Nicholas J; Gedamke, Jason; Kindermann, Lars; Nowacek, Douglas P; Read, Andrew J; Siebert, Ursula; Van Opzeeland, Ilse C; Van Parijs, Sofie M; Friedlaender, Ari S

    2014-01-01

    For decades, the bio-duck sound has been recorded in the Southern Ocean, but the animal producing it has remained a mystery. Heard mainly during austral winter in the Southern Ocean, this ubiquitous sound has been recorded in Antarctic waters and contemporaneously off the Australian west coast. Here, we present conclusive evidence that the bio-duck sound is produced by Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). We analysed data from multi-sensor acoustic recording tags that included intense bio-duck sounds as well as singular downsweeps that have previously been attributed to this species. This finding allows the interpretation of a wealth of long-term acoustic recordings for this previously acoustically concealed species, which will improve our understanding of the distribution, abundance and behaviour of Antarctic minke whales. This is critical information for a species that inhabits a difficult to access sea-ice environment that is changing rapidly in some regions and has been the subject of contentious lethal sampling efforts and ongoing international legal action.

  2. Structure and Steroidogenesis of the Placenta in the Antarctic Minke Whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

    Science.gov (United States)

    SASAKI, Motoki; AMANO, Yoko; HAYAKAWA, Daisuke; TSUBOTA, Toshio; ISHIKAWA, Hajime; MOGOE, Toshihiro; OHSUMI, Seiji; TETSUKA, Masafumi; MIYAMOTO, Akio; FUKUI, Yutaka; BUDIPITOJO, Teguh; KITAMURA, Nobuo

    2012-01-01

    Abstract There are few reports describing the structure and function of the whale placenta with the advance of pregnancy. In this study, therefore, the placenta and nonpregnant uterus of the Antarctic minke whale were observed morphologically and immunohistochemically. Placentas and nonpregnant uteri were collected from the 15th, 16th and 18th Japanese Whale Research Programme with Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA) and 1st JARPA II organized by the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Japan. In the macro- and microscopic observations, the placenta of the Antarctic minke whale was a diffuse and epitheliochorial placenta. The chorion was interdigitated to the endometrium by primary, secondary and tertiary villi, which contained no specialized trophoblast cells such as binucleate cells, and the interdigitation became complicated with the progress of gestation. Furthermore, fetal and maternal blood vessels indented deeply into the trophoblast cells and endometrial epithelium respectively with fetal growth. The minke whale placenta showed a fold-like shape as opposed to a finger-like shape. In both nonpregnant and pregnant uteri, many uterine glands were distributed. The uterine glands in the superficial layer of the pregnant endometrium had a wide lumen and large epithelial cells as compared with those in the deep layer. On the other hand, in the nonpregnant endometrium, the uterine glands had a narrower lumen and smaller epithelial cells than in the pregnant endometrium. In immunohistochemical detection, immunoreactivity for P450scc was detected in most trophoblast cells, but not in nonpregnant uteri, suggesting that trophoblast epithelial cells synthesized and secreted the sex steroid hormones and/or their precursors to maintain the pregnancy in the Antarctic minke whale. PMID:23269486

  3. Predictive habitat modelling of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Antarctic minke (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) whales in the Southern Ocean as a planning tool for seismic surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bombosch, Annette; Zitterbart, Daniel P.; Van Opzeeland, Ilse; Frickenhaus, Stephan; Burkhardt, Elke; Wisz, Mary S.; Boebel, Olaf

    2014-09-01

    Seismic surveys are frequently a matter of concern regarding their potentially negative impacts on marine mammals. In the Southern Ocean, which provides a critical habitat for several endangered cetacean species, seismic research activities are undertaken at a circumpolar scale. In order to minimize impacts of these surveys, pre-cruise planning requires detailed, spatio-temporally resolved knowledge on the likelihood of encountering these species in the survey area. In this publication we present predictive habitat modelling as a potential tool to support decisions for survey planning. We associated opportunistic sightings (2005-2011) of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae, N=93) and Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis, N=139) with a range of static and dynamic environmental variables. A maximum entropy algorithm (Maxent) was used to develop habitat models and to calculate daily basinwide/circumpolar prediction maps to evaluate how species-specific habitat conditions evolved throughout the spring and summer months. For both species, prediction maps revealed considerable changes in habitat suitability throughout the season. Suitable humpback whale habitat occurred predominantly in ice-free areas, expanding southwards with the retreating sea ice edge, whereas suitable Antarctic minke whale habitat was consistently predicted within sea ice covered areas. Daily, large-scale prediction maps provide a valuable tool to design layout and timing of seismic surveys as they allow the identification and consideration of potential spatio-temporal hotspots to minimize potential impacts of seismic surveys on Antarctic cetacean species.

  4. Generalised additive models to investigate environmental drivers of Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) spatial density in austral summer

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beekmans, Bas W.P.M.; Forcada, Jaume; Murphy, Eugene J.; Baar, de Hein J.W.; Bathmann, Ulrich V.; Fleming, Andrew H.

    2010-01-01

    There is a need to characterise the physical environment associated with Antarctic minke whale density in order to understand long-term changes in minke whale distribution and density in open waters of the Southern Ocean during austral summer months. To investigate environmental drivers of Antarctic

  5. Feeding rates and under-ice foraging strategies of the smallest lunge filter feeder, the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Friedlaender, A S; Goldbogen, J A; Nowacek, D P; Read, A J; Johnston, D; Gales, N

    2014-08-15

    Body size and feeding mode are two fundamental characteristics that determine foraging performance and ecological niche. As the smallest obligate lunge filter feeders, minke whales represent an ideal system for studying the physical and energetic limits of filter feeding in endotherms. We used multi-sensor suction cup tags to quantify the feeding performance of Antarctic minke whales. Foraging dives around and beneath sea ice contained up to 24 lunges per dive, the highest feeding rates for any lunge-feeding whale. Their small size allows minke whales access to krill in sea-ice environments not easily accessible to larger baleen whales. Furthermore, their ability to filter feed provides an advantage over other smaller sympatric krill predators such as penguins and seals that feed on individual prey. The unique combination of body size, feeding mechanism and sea-ice habitat of Antarctic minke whales defines a previously undocumented energetic niche that is unique among aquatic vertebrates. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  6. Estrutura populacional da Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister) (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae) nas áreas de reprodução do Oceano Atlântico Sul Minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister) (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae) population structure in the breeding grounds off South Atlantic Ocean

    OpenAIRE

    Alineide Lucena

    2006-01-01

    Um estudo da composição dos grupos de baleias minke, Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister, 1867), capturadas nas águas de Costinha, Paraíba, Brasil, na época da caça comercial, foi realizado com o objetivo de conhecer a dinâmica dos principais parâmetros biológicos, assim como aspectos do comportamento reprodutivo desta espécie. Foram analisados dados da caça coletados pela Superintendência para o Desenvolvimento da Pesca e Companhia de Pesca Norte do Brasil acerca do tamanho e composição dos...

  7. Estrutura populacional da Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae nas áreas de reprodução do Oceano Atlântico Sul Minke whale Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister (Cetacea, Balaenopteridae population structure in the breeding grounds off South Atlantic Ocean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alineide Lucena

    2006-03-01

    Full Text Available Um estudo da composição dos grupos de baleias minke, Balaenoptera bonaerensis (Burmeister, 1867, capturadas nas águas de Costinha, Paraíba, Brasil, na época da caça comercial, foi realizado com o objetivo de conhecer a dinâmica dos principais parâmetros biológicos, assim como aspectos do comportamento reprodutivo desta espécie. Foram analisados dados da caça coletados pela Superintendência para o Desenvolvimento da Pesca e Companhia de Pesca Norte do Brasil acerca do tamanho e composição dos grupos, proporções sexuais e grau de maturidade das baleias capturadas entre os anos de 1975 a 1985. Os grupos encontrados nas águas de Costinha foram em geral de pequeno tamanho e compostos de animais de ambos os sexos, com predominância de fêmeas e animais maturos sexualmente. Os filhotes, as fêmeas lactantes e prenhes foram raramente encontrados. Esta população de baleias encontrava-se em maior número na costa da Paraíba entre os meses de setembro e outubro, principal período de concepção para a espécie, devendo ocorrer grande número de fecundações nesta área e período. A ausência de fêmeas prenhes ou lactantes e filhotes nesta população demonstra que os nascimentos não ocorrem nesta área. O encalhe e a avistagem de filhotes da baleia minke na costa leste da América do Sul (entre 25ºS e 40ºS sugere o nascimento dos filhotes em médias latitudes desta região, onde a temperatura da água é inferior à encontrada na costa do nordeste brasileiro. Desta forma há indícios de que existam distintas áreas para o nascimento de filhotes e o acasalamento da baleia minke nas águas do Oceano Atlântico Sul Ocidental. A poligamia é um comportamento reprodutivo apresentado pela baleia minke, tendo sido observado através da proporção sexual das capturas e da composição dos grupos formados apenas por animais maturos sexualmente nesta área de acasalamento.A group composition study of the minke whale, Balaenoptera

  8. Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Sedano, Nils; Johansson, Stig; May, Bryan; Brown, Joey D; Holliday, Casey M; Kot, Brian W; Fish, Frank E

    2008-06-01

    Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) are the smallest member of balaenopterid whales and little is known of their kinematics during feeding maneuvers. These whales have narrow and elongated flippers that are small relative to body size compared to related species such as right and gray whales. No experimental studies have addressed the hydrodynamic properties of minke whale flippers and their functional role during feeding maneuvers. This study integrated wind tunnel, locomotion and anatomical range of motion data to identify functional parameters of the cambered minke whale flipper. A full-sized cast of a minke whale flipper was used in wind tunnel testing of lift, drag and stall behavior at six speeds, corresponding to swimming speeds of 0.7-8.9 m s(-1). Flow over the model surface stalled between 10 degrees and 14 degrees angle of attack (alpha) depending on testing speed. When the leading edge was rotated ventrally, loss in lift occurred around -18 degrees alpha regardless of speed. Range of mobility in the fresh limb was approximately 40% greater than the range of positive lift-generating angles of attack predicted by wind tunnel data (+14 degrees alpha). Video footage, photographs and observations of swimming, engulfment feeding and gulping minke whales showed limb positions corresponding to low drag in wind tunnel tests, and were therefore hydrodynamically efficient. Flippers play an important role in orienting the body during feeding maneuvers as they maintain trim of the body, an action that counters drag-induced torque of the body during water and prey intake.

  9. Material and structural properties of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Zwischensubstanz.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinto, Sheldon J D; Shadwick, Robert E

    2013-08-01

    The oral anatomy of the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) consists of several major structures crucial to its engulfment method of feeding, such as stiff keratinized baleen plates, a large flaccid tongue, and a prominent vomer. One under-documented part of this anatomy is the cream white Zwischensubstanz that holds the baleen plates to the rostrum at their dorsal base. The mechanical and structural properties of Zwischensubstanz play a key role in baleen plate dynamics and, on the grand scale, contribute to baleen whales' filtration efficiency and attainment of large body size. Compression and tensile tests on the Zwischensubstanz sampled from an 18 m fin whale showed that this material unexpectedly exhibits linear isotropic behaviour with Elastic Modulus of 2.56 ± 0.60 MPa and hysteresis of 0.44 ± 0.02 in compression despite apparent unidirectional growth. Acting similar to a soft rubber, the Zwischensubstanz absorbs and dissipates the enormous forces acting on baleen plates during engulfment feeding while maintaining spacing between the plates to maximize filtration efficiency. Microscopic analysis provided images of connective tissue papillae penetrating the base of the Zwischensubstanz and developing within it to emerge as fully formed, keratinized baleen plates. The plates develop from the papillae and a connective tissue sheet within the 5-7 cm deep Zwischensubstanz. The Zwischensubstanz provides a keratin matrix of concentrically oriented fibers around each papilla forming the hard baleen plates and frayed fringes used for filter feeding. During this formation, the Zwischensubstanz remains unchanged and appears to slough away to allow the baleen plate to grow unhindered. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. First record of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus Linnaeus, 1758) in Kotor Bay (South Adriatic Sea)

    OpenAIRE

    Joksimović, Aleksandar; MANDIĆ, Milica; Ðurović, Mirko

    2015-01-01

    Abstract A single individual of fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758) was recorded on 17 December 2011 in Kotor Bay (southeastern Adriatic Sea). The depth was between 5 and 7 meters. The specimen was about 10 meters long and this paper reports the first occurrence of the fin whale in very shallow waters in the most inner part of Boka Kotorska Bay.

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

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    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.

  12. Dolphin Morbillivirus in a Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in Denmark, 2016.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jo, Wendy K; Grilo, Miguel L; Wohlsein, Peter; Andersen-Ranberg, Emilie U; Hansen, Mette S; Kinze, Carl C; Hjulsager, Charlotte K; Olsen, Morten T; Lehnert, Kristina; Prenger-Berninghoff, Ellen; Siebert, Ursula; Osterhaus, Albert; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Jensen, Lasse F; van der Vries, Erhard

    2017-10-01

    We studied the etiology of encephalitis in a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that stranded in 2016 on the coast of Denmark. Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) was detected in the brain and other organs. Phylogenetics showed close relation to DMV isolated from a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) from Spain in 2012.

  13. Dolphin Morbillivirus in a Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in Denmark, 2016

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jo, Wendy K.; Grilo, Miguel L.; Wohlsein, Peter

    2017-01-01

    We studied the etiology of encephalitis in a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that stranded in 2016 on the coast of Denmark. Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) was detected in the brain and other organs. Phylogenetics showed close relation to DMV isolated from a striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba...

  14. Mitogenomic phylogenetics of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus spp.) : Genetic evidence for revision of subspecies

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Archer, Frederick I.; Morin, Phillip A.; Hancock-Hanser, Brittany L.; Robertson, Kelly M.; Leslie, Matthew S.; Bérubé, Martine; Panigada, Simone; Taylor, Barbara L.

    2013-01-01

    There are three described subspecies of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): B. p. physalus Linnaeus, 1758 in the Northern Hemisphere, B. p. quoyi Fischer, 1829 in the Southern Hemisphere, and a recently described pygmy form, B. p. patachonica Burmeister, 1865. The discrete distribution in the North

  15. Migratory Movements of Pygmy Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) between Australia and Indonesia as Revealed by Satellite Telemetry

    OpenAIRE

    Double, Michael C.; Virginia Andrews-Goff; Jenner, K. Curt S.; Micheline-Nicole Jenner; Sarah M Laverick; Branch, Trevor A.; Nicholas J. Gales

    2014-01-01

    In Australian waters during the austral summer, pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) occur predictably in two distinct feeding areas off western and southern Australia. As with other blue whale subspecies, outside the austral summer their distribution and movements are poorly understood. In order to describe the migratory movements of these whales, we present the satellite telemetry derived movements of eleven individuals tagged off western Australia over two years. Whales wer...

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

  18. Radio tracking of a fin whale /Balaenoptera physalus/

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    Ray, G. C.; Wartzok, D.; Mitchell, E. D.; Kozicki, V. M.; Maiefski, R.

    1978-01-01

    Tracking of a fin whale tagged with an implantable beacon transmitter (IBT) is described. The IBT, which was fired from a modified 12-gauge shotgun, weighs 517 g and is 70 cm long, including a 46-cm antenna. Data on whale movement and breathing are presented. Contact was lost after 27.8 hours of intermittent tracking, presumably as a result of battery leakage. Potential range and duration of IBT transmission are considered, and the significance of transmitter location and orientation in the whale blubber is considered.

  19. DNA barcoding of the Bryde’s Whale Balaenoptera edeni Anderson (Cetacea: Balaenopteridae washed ashore along Kerala coast, India

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    A Bijukumar

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Three whales washed ashore along Kerala coast of southwest India were identified as Bryde’s Whale Balaenoptera edeni Anderson based on sequencing of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and cytochrome b genes. The results of mtDNA sequencing in the present study confirm the presence of B. edeni species of ‘Bryde’s Whale complex’ in the coastal waters of India.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-11-01

    Baleen whales are potentially exposed to micro-litter ingestion as a result of their filter-feeding activity. However, the impacts of microplastics on baleen whales are largely unknown. In this case study of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), we explore the toxicological effects of microplastics on mysticetes. The study included the following three steps: (1) the collection/count of microplastics in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea), (2) the detection of phthalates in surface neustonic/planktonic samples, and (3) the detection of phthalates in stranded fin whales. A total of 56% of the surface neustonic/planktonic samples contained microplastic particles. The highest abundance of microplastics (9.63 items/m(3)) was found in the Portofino MPA (Ligurian Sea). High concentrations of phthalates (DEHP and MEHP) were detected in the neustonic/planktonic samples. The concentrations of MEHP found in the blubber of stranded fin whales suggested that phthalates could serve as a tracer of the intake of microplastics. The results of this study represent the first warning of this emerging threat to baleen whales. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) sounds from the North Atlantic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mellinger, David K.; Clark, Christopher W.

    2003-08-01

    Sounds of blue whales were recorded from U.S. Navy hydrophone arrays in the North Atlantic. The most common signals were long, patterned sequences of very-low-frequency sounds in the 15-20 Hz band. Sounds within a sequence were hierarchically organized into phrases consisting of one or two different sound types. Sequences were typically composed of two-part phrases repeated every 73 s: a constant-frequency tonal ``A'' part lasting approximately 8 s, followed 5 s later by a frequency-modulated ``B'' part lasting approximately 11 s. A common sequence variant consisted only of repetitions of part A. Sequences were separated by silent periods averaging just over four minutes. Two other sound types are described: a 2-5 s tone at 9 Hz, and a 5-7s inflected tone that swept up in frequency to ca. 70 Hz and then rapidly down to 25 Hz. The general characteristics of repeated sequences of simple combinations of long-duration, very-low-frequency sound units repeated every 1-2 min are typical of blue whale sounds recorded in other parts of the world. However, the specific frequency, duration, and repetition interval features of these North Atlantic sounds are different than those reported from other regions, lending further support to the notion that geographically separate blue whale populations have distinctive acoustic displays.

  3. Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) boings detected at the Station ALOHA Cabled Observatory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oswald, Julie N; Au, Whitlow W L; Duennebier, Fred

    2011-05-01

    Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the tropical North Pacific are elusive and difficult to detect visually. The recent association of a unique sound called the "boing" to North Pacific minke whales has made it possible to use passive acoustics to investigate the occurrence of this species in Hawaiian waters. One year of recordings (17 February 2007-18 February 2008) made at the Station ALOHA Cabled Observatory were examined to investigate the characteristics of boings and temporal patterns in their occurrence at this site, located 100 km north of Oahu. Characteristics of boings exhibited low variability. Pulse repetition rate and duration measurements matched those for "central" or "Hawaii" boing types. Boings were detected from October until May, with a peak in March. Although no boings were detected from June to September, the absence of boings does not necessarily indicate the absence of minke whales. Significant diel variation in boing rate was not observed. The absence of a diel pattern in boing production suggests that day- or night-time acoustic surveys are equally acceptable methods for studying minke whale occurrence. Future research should include efforts to determine what other sounds are produced by minke whales in this area, and which age/sex classes produce boings.

  4. Organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Gulf of California.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niño-Torres, Carlos Alberto; Zenteno-Savín, Tania; Gardner, Susan C; Urbán R, Jorge

    2010-08-01

    The present study reports unique data on concentrations of several classes of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls in blubber biopsies from healthy living fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Gulf of California, Mexico, one of the most isolated and unstudied population in the world. OC levels in this population were generally lower than levels reported in fin whales from other regions. The rank order of OCs were SigmaDDTs (range from 300 to 2400 ng g(-1) lw) > SigmaPCBs (range from 40 to 290 ng g(-1) lw) > SigmaHCHs (range from or = SigmaCHLORs (from whales samples. Males had significant higher concentrations of SigmaOC, SigmaDDTs and SigmaPCBs than females (P whales. Given the small population size and highly isolated characteristics of Gulf of California fin whales, health effects in individuals could readily translate into population-level effects. Future research on this topic will be necessary to better understand the role that these compounds may have on the health of this population.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

    There is little detailed information on stranded fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the scientific literature (Notarbartolo di Sciara et al., 2003). In Denmark, at least eight fin whales stranded between the years 1603 and 1958 (Kinze, 1995). On 16 June 2010, a live subadult or adult male fin ......, and a necropsy was performed by a multidisciplinary team, including biologists, conservationists, physicians, and veterinarians representing three universities and several museums....

  6. Spatio-temporal patterns in acoustic presence and distribution of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia in the Weddell Sea

    OpenAIRE

    Thomisch, Karolin; Boebel, Olaf; Clark, CW; Hagen, W.; Spiesecke, Stefanie; Zitterbart, Daniel; Van Opzeeland, Ilse

    2016-01-01

    Distribution and movement patterns of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia at large temporal and spatial scales are still poorly understood. The objective of this study was to explore spatio-temporal distribution patterns of Antarctic blue whales in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, using passive acoustic monitoring data. Multi-year data were collected between 2008 and 2013 by 11 recorders deployed in the Weddell Sea and along the Greenwich meridian. Antarctic blue ...

  7. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, "NEMO-SN1", deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz-1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9-22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise.

  8. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Virginia Sciacca

    Full Text Available In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea, throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, "NEMO-SN1", deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz-1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9-22.5 Hz was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise.

  9. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, “NEMO-SN1”, deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz–1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9–22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise. PMID:26581104

  10. Genomic and structural investigation on dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) in Mediterranean fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beffagna, Giorgia; Centelleghe, Cinzia; Franzo, Giovanni; Di Guardo, Giovanni; Mazzariol, Sandro

    2017-01-30

    Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) has been deemed as one of the most relevant threats for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) being responsible for a mortality outbreak in the Mediterranean Sea in the last years. Knowledge of the complete viral genome is essential to understand any structural changes that could modify virus pathogenesis and viral tissue tropism. We report the complete DMV sequence of N, P/V/C, M, F and H genes identified from a fin whale and the comparison of primary to quaternary structure of proteins between this fin whale strain and some of those isolated during the 1990-'92 and the 2006-'08 epidemics. Some relevant substitutions were detected, particularly Asn52Ser located on F protein and Ile21Thr on N protein. Comparing mutations found in the fin whale DMV with those occurring in viral strains of other cetacean species, some of them were proven to be the result of diversifying selection, thus allowing to speculate on their role in host adaptation and on the way they could affect the interaction between the viral attachment and fusion with the target host cells.

  11. Potential Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) calls recorded in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, Aaron N; Palmer, K J; Tielens, Jamey T; Muirhead, Charles A; Clark, Christopher W

    2014-05-01

    Several marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) were deployed in northeastern Gulf of Mexico from 2010–2012 to study the acoustic ecology of Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni) following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. However, the acoustic repertoire of this sub-population is poorly documented, presently limiting the efficacy of acoustic monitoring applications. Numerous stereotyped, low-frequency signals from a putative biological sound source were found throughout the recordings. Sounds fell into three categories distinguished by spectral and temporal properties. Multiple calls overlapped temporally on individual MARUs, suggesting that multiple sources produced these sounds. The basic features are similar to those from other mysticetes, but they differ from any previously published sounds. Since Bryde's whales are the most common mysticete in the Gulf and have previously been observed within the recording area on multiple occasions, it is likely that Bryde's whales are the most probable source of these sounds. These results potentially identify a suite of previously undocumented calls from Bryde's whales, which could facilitate future passive acoustic monitoring efforts to better understand the population dynamics and status of this sub-population.

  12. Dolphin Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii coinfection in a Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazzariol, Sandro; Marcer, Federica; Mignone, Walter; Serracca, Laura; Goria, Mariella; Marsili, Letizia; Di Guardo, Giovanni; Casalone, Cristina

    2012-03-07

    Although Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii have emerged as important pathogens for several cetaceans populations over the last 20 years, they have never been identified together in a Mysticete. In particular, morbilliviral infection has been never described in the Mediterranean fin whale population. On January 2011 an adult male of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) stranded along the Tyrrhenian coastline of Italy. During necropsy, tissue samples from heart, skeletal muscle, mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney were collected and subsequently analyzed for Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii by microscopic and molecular methods. Following the detailed necropsy carried out on this whale, molecular analysis revealed, for the first time, the simultaneous presence of a Dolphin Morbillivirus (DMV) and T. gondii infection coexisting with each other, along with high organochlorine pollutant concentrations, with special reference to DDT. This report, besides confirming the possibility for Mysticetes to be infected with DMV, highlights the risk of toxoplasmosis in sea water for mammals, already immunodepressed by concurrent factors as infections and environmental contaminants.

  13. Mitogenomic phylogenetics of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus spp.): genetic evidence for revision of subspecies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Archer, Frederick I; Morin, Phillip A; Hancock-Hanser, Brittany L; Robertson, Kelly M; Leslie, Matthew S; Bérubé, Martine; Panigada, Simone; Taylor, Barbara L

    2013-01-01

    There are three described subspecies of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus): B. p. physalus Linnaeus, 1758 in the Northern Hemisphere, B. p. quoyi Fischer, 1829 in the Southern Hemisphere, and a recently described pygmy form, B. p. patachonica Burmeister, 1865. The discrete distribution in the North Pacific and North Atlantic raises the question of whether a single Northern Hemisphere subspecies is valid. We assess phylogenetic patterns using ~16 K base pairs of the complete mitogenome for 154 fin whales from the North Pacific, North Atlantic--including the Mediterranean Sea--and Southern Hemisphere. A Bayesian tree of the resulting 136 haplotypes revealed several well-supported clades representing each ocean basin, with no haplotypes shared among ocean basins. The North Atlantic haplotypes (n = 12) form a sister clade to those from the Southern Hemisphere (n = 42). The estimated time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) for this Atlantic/Southern Hemisphere clade and 81 of the 97 samples from the North Pacific was approximately 2 Ma. 14 of the remaining North Pacific samples formed a well-supported clade within the Southern Hemisphere. The TMRCA for this node suggests that at least one female from the Southern Hemisphere immigrated to the North Pacific approximately 0.37 Ma. These results provide strong evidence that North Pacific and North Atlantic fin whales should not be considered the same subspecies, and suggest the need for revision of the global taxonomy of the species.

  14. Dolphin Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii coinfection in a Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mazzariol Sandro

    2012-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Although Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii have emerged as important pathogens for several cetaceans populations over the last 20 years, they have never been identified together in a Mysticete. In particular, morbilliviral infection has been never described in the Mediterranean fin whale population. Case presentation On January 2011 an adult male of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus stranded along the Tyrrhenian coastline of Italy. During necropsy, tissue samples from heart, skeletal muscle, mesenteric lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney were collected and subsequently analyzed for Morbillivirus and Toxoplasma gondii by microscopic and molecular methods. Following the detailed necropsy carried out on this whale, molecular analysis revealed, for the first time, the simultaneous presence of a Dolphin Morbillivirus (DMV and T. gondii infection coexisting with each other, along with high organochlorine pollutant concentrations, with special reference to DDT. Conclusion This report, besides confirming the possibility for Mysticetes to be infected with DMV, highlights the risk of toxoplasmosis in sea water for mammals, already immunodepressed by concurrent factors as infections and environmental contaminants.

  15. Chemical characterization of the oligosaccharides in beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) milk.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Urashima, Tadasu; Sato, Harumi; Munakata, Jiro; Nakamura, Tadashi; Arai, Ikichi; Saito, Tadao; Tetsuka, Masafumi; Fukui, Yutaka; Ishikawa, Hajime; Lydersen, Christian; Kovacs, Kit M

    2002-07-01

    Carbohydrates were extracted from the milk of a beluga, Delphinopterus leucas (family Odontoceti), and two Minke whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Family Mysticeti), sampled late in their respective lactation periods. Free oligosaccharides were separated by gel filtration and then neutral oligosaccharides were purified by preparative thin layer chromatography and gel filtration, while acidic oligosaccharides were purified by ion-exchange chromatography, gel filtration and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Their structures were determined by 1H-NMR. In one of the Minke whale milk samples, lactose was a dominant saccharide, with Fuc(alpha1-2)Gal(beta1-4)Glc(2'-fucosyllactose), Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc(lacto-N-neotetraose), GalNAc(alpha1-3)[Fuc(alpha1-2)]Gal(beta1-4)Glc(A-tetrasaccharide), Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (para lacto-N-neohexaose), Neu5Ac(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (sialyl lacto-N-neotetraose), Neu5Ac(alpha2-6)Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (LST c) and Neu5Ac(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (sialyl para lacto-N-neohexaose) also being found in the milk. The second Minke whale sample contained similar amounts of lactose, 2'-fucosyllactose and A-tetrasaccharide, but no free sialyl oligosaccharides. Sialyl lacto-N-neotetraose and sialyl para lacto-N-neohexaose are novel oligosaccharides which have not been previously reported from any mammalian milk or colostrum. These and other oligosaccharides of Minke whale milk may have biological significance as anti-infection factors, protecting the suckling young against bacteria and viruses. The lactose of Minke whale milk could be a source of energy for them. The beluga whale milk contained trace amounts of Neu5Ac(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc(3'-N-acetylneuraminyllactose), but the question of whether it contained free lactose could not be clarified. Therefore

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kate Lomac-MacNair

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available 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 presence and group cohesion (i.e., spacing between individuals within a group differed according to the spatio-temporal explanatory variables behavioral state, time of day, season, water depth and distance from shore. To address our hypotheses, we flew systematic line transect surveys in southern California and collected focal group data. Two sets of data were separately analyzed using different sampling approaches: (1 point sample data associated with the first sighting of a blue whale(s, and (2 extended all-occurrence focal group behavioral sampling data (i.e., focal follows collected on a subsample of all sightings while the aircraft circled at a radial distance of approximately 0.5-1 km and an altitude of 1,500 m for extended periods of 5 – 60 minutes. Chi-square contingency table and G² analyses were used to assess statistical relationships between response and explanatory variables. We conducted 18 one-week-long aerial surveys spanning October 2008 through May 2013 (at least once during every month except December, totaling 87,555 km of observation effort. Seventy blue whale sightings (117 individuals were seen, ranging in size from 1 – 6 whales, and focal follow was performed on over half (55% of these sightings. Results supported our hypotheses that blue whale group characteristics were related to behavioral state and spatio-temporal variables. Sighting rates were significantly highest during summer followed by spring, fall, and winter. Group type differed

  17. 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.

  18. On the olfactory anatomy in an archaic whale (Protocetidae, Cetacea) and the minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Balaenopteridae, Cetacea).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Godfrey, Stephen J; Geisler, Jonathan; Fitzgerald, Erich M G

    2013-02-01

    The structure of the olfactory apparatus is not well known in both archaic and extant whales; the result of poor preservation in most fossils and locational isolation deep within the skulls in both fossil and Recent taxa. Several specimens now shed additional light on the subject. A partial skull of an archaic cetacean is reported from the Pamunkey River, Virginia, USA. The specimen probably derives from the upper middle Eocene (Piney Point Formation) and is tentatively assigned to the Protocetidae. Uncrushed cranial cavities associated with the olfactory apparatus were devoid of sediment. CT scans clearly reveal the dorsal nasal meatus, ethmoturbinates within the olfactory recess, the cribriform plate, the area occupied by the olfactory bulbs, and the olfactory nerve tract. Several sectioned skulls of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were also examined, and olfactory structures are remarkably similar to those observed in the fossil skull from the Pamunkey River. One important difference between the two is that the fossil specimen has an elongate olfactory nerve tract. The more forward position of the external nares in extant balaenopterids when compared with those of extant odontocetes is interpreted to be the result of the need to retain a functional olfactory apparatus and the forward position of the supraoccipital/cranial vertex. An increase in the distance between the occipital condyles and the vertex in balaenopterids enhances the mechanical advantage of the epaxial musculature that inserts on the occiput, a specialization that likely stabilizes the head of these enormous mammals during lunge feeding. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Spatial distribution of common Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) as an indication of a biological hotspot in the East Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Dasom; An, Yong Rock; Park, Kyum Joon; Kim, Hyun Woo; Lee, Dabin; Joo, Hui Tae; Oh, Young Geun; Kim, Su Min; Kang, Chang Keun; Lee, Sang Heon

    2017-09-01

    The minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is the most common baleen whale among several marine mammal species observed in Korea. Since a high concentrated condition of prey to whales can be obtained by physical structures, the foraging whale distribution can be an indicator of biological hotspot. Our main objective is verifying the coastal upwelling-southwestern East Sea as a productive biological hotspot based on the geographical distribution of minke whales. Among the cetacean research surveys of the National Institute of Fisheries Science since 1999, 9 years data for the minke whales available in the East Sea were used for this study. The regional primary productivity derived from Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) was used for a proxy of biological productivity. Minke whales observed during the sighting surveys were mostly concentrated in May and found mostly (approximately 70%) in the southwestern coastal areas (annual primary production (320 g C m-2 y-1) estimated in the southwestern coastal region of the East Sea belongs to the highly productive coastal upwelling regions in the world. A change in the main spatial distribution of minke whales was found in recent years, which indicate that the major habitats of mink whales have been shifted into the north of the common coastal upwelling regions. This is consistent with the recently reported unprecedented coastal upwelling in the mid-eastern coast of Korea. Based on high phytoplankton productivity and high distribution of minke whales, the southwestern coastal regions can be considered as one of biological hotspots in the East Sea. These regions are important for ecosystem dynamics and the population biology of top marine predators, especially migratory whales and needed to be carefully managed from a resource management perspective.

  20. Circumpolar diversity and geographic differentiation of mtDNA in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sremba, Angela L; Hancock-Hanser, Brittany; Branch, Trevor A; LeDuc, Rick L; Baker, C Scott

    2012-01-01

    The Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) was hunted to near extinction between 1904 and 1972, declining from an estimated initial abundance of more than 250,000 to fewer than 400. Here, we describe mtDNA control region diversity and geographic differentiation in the surviving population of the Antarctic blue whale, using 218 biopsy samples collected under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) during research cruises from 1990-2009. Microsatellite genotypes and mtDNA sequences identified 166 individuals among the 218 samples and documented movement of a small number of individuals, including a female that traveled at least 6,650 km or 131° longitude over four years. mtDNA sequences from the 166 individuals were aligned with published sequences from 17 additional individuals, resolving 52 unique haplotypes from a consensus length of 410 bp. From this minimum census, a rarefaction analysis predicted that only 72 haplotypes (95% CL, 64, 86) have survived in the contemporary population of Antarctic blue whales. However, haplotype diversity was relatively high (0.968±0.004), perhaps as a result of the longevity of blue whales and the relatively recent timing of the bottleneck. Despite the potential for circumpolar dispersal, we found significant differentiation in mtDNA diversity (F(ST) = 0.032, pblue whales.

  1. Migratory movements of pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) between Australia and Indonesia as revealed by satellite telemetry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Double, Michael C; Andrews-Goff, Virginia; Jenner, K Curt S; Jenner, Micheline-Nicole; Laverick, Sarah M; Branch, Trevor A; Gales, Nicholas J

    2014-01-01

    In Australian waters during the austral summer, pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) occur predictably in two distinct feeding areas off western and southern Australia. As with other blue whale subspecies, outside the austral summer their distribution and movements are poorly understood. In order to describe the migratory movements of these whales, we present the satellite telemetry derived movements of eleven individuals tagged off western Australia over two years. Whales were tracked from between 8 and 308 days covering an average distance of 3,009±892 km (mean ± se; range: 832 km-14,101 km) at a rate of 21.94±0.74 km per day (0.09 km-455.80 km/day). Whales were tagged during March and April and ultimately migrated northwards post tag deployment with the exception of a single animal which remained in the vicinity of the Perth Canyon/Naturaliste Plateau for its eight day tracking period. The tagged whales travelled relatively near to the Australian coastline (100.0±1.7 km) until reaching a prominent peninsula in the north-west of the state of Western Australia (North West Cape) after which they travelled offshore (238.0±13.9 km). Whales reached the northern terminus of their migration and potential breeding grounds in Indonesian waters by June. One satellite tag relayed intermittent information to describe aspects of the southern migration from Indonesia with the animal departing around September to arrive in the subtropical frontal zone, south of western Australia in December. Throughout their migratory range, these whales are exposed to impacts associated with industry, fishing and vessel traffic. These movements therefore provide a valuable tool to industry when assessing potential interactions with pygmy blue whales and should be considered by conservation managers and regulators when mitigating impacts of development. This is particularly relevant for this species as it continues to recover from past exploitation.

  2. Migratory movements of pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda between Australia and Indonesia as revealed by satellite telemetry.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael C Double

    Full Text Available In Australian waters during the austral summer, pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda occur predictably in two distinct feeding areas off western and southern Australia. As with other blue whale subspecies, outside the austral summer their distribution and movements are poorly understood. In order to describe the migratory movements of these whales, we present the satellite telemetry derived movements of eleven individuals tagged off western Australia over two years. Whales were tracked from between 8 and 308 days covering an average distance of 3,009±892 km (mean ± se; range: 832 km-14,101 km at a rate of 21.94±0.74 km per day (0.09 km-455.80 km/day. Whales were tagged during March and April and ultimately migrated northwards post tag deployment with the exception of a single animal which remained in the vicinity of the Perth Canyon/Naturaliste Plateau for its eight day tracking period. The tagged whales travelled relatively near to the Australian coastline (100.0±1.7 km until reaching a prominent peninsula in the north-west of the state of Western Australia (North West Cape after which they travelled offshore (238.0±13.9 km. Whales reached the northern terminus of their migration and potential breeding grounds in Indonesian waters by June. One satellite tag relayed intermittent information to describe aspects of the southern migration from Indonesia with the animal departing around September to arrive in the subtropical frontal zone, south of western Australia in December. Throughout their migratory range, these whales are exposed to impacts associated with industry, fishing and vessel traffic. These movements therefore provide a valuable tool to industry when assessing potential interactions with pygmy blue whales and should be considered by conservation managers and regulators when mitigating impacts of development. This is particularly relevant for this species as it continues to recover from past exploitation.

  3. 20-Hz pulses and other vocalizations of fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, in the Gulf of California, Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, P O; Findley, L T; Vidal, O

    1992-12-01

    Low-frequency vocalizations were recorded from fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, in the Gulf of California, Mexico, during three cruises. In March 1985, recorded 20-Hz pulses were in sequences of regular 9-s interpulse intervals. In August 1987, nearly all were in sequences of doublets with alternating 5- and 18-s interpulse intervals. No 20-Hz pulse sequences of any kind were detected in February 1987. The typical pulse modulated from 42 to 20 Hz and its median duration was 0.7 s (1985 data). Most other fin whale sounds were also short tonal pulses averaging 82, 56, and 68 Hz, respectively, for the three cruises; 89% were modulated in frequency, mostly downward. Compared to Atlantic and Pacific Ocean regions, Gulf of California 20-Hz pulses were unique in terms of frequency modulation, interpulse sound levels, and temporal patterns. Fin whales in the Gulf may represent a regional stock revealed by their sound characteristics, a phenomenon previously shown for humpback whales, birds, and fish. Regional differences in fin whale sounds were found in comparisons of Atlantic and Pacific locations.

  4. A note on the distribution and abundance of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus in the Central and Northeast North Atlantic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel G Pike

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available The distribution and abundance of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus was assessed from ship surveys conducted in the Central and Northeast Atlantic in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001. Blue whales were most commonly sighted off western Iceland, and to a lesser extent northeast of Iceland. They were very rare or absent in the Northeast Atlantic. Sightings were combined over all surveys to estimate the detection function using standard line transect methodology, with the addition of a covariate to account for differences between surveys. Total abundance was highest in 1995 (979, 95% CI 137-2,542 and lowest in 1987 (222, 95% CI 115-440. Uncertainty in species identity had little effect on estimates of abundance. There was a significant positive trend in abundance northeast of Iceland and in the total survey area.

  5. Impairment of cellular immunity in west Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) dietary exposed to polluted minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Larsen, Hans J S; Loft, Klaus Earl; Kirkegaard, Maja; Letcher, Robert J; Shahmiri, Soheila; Móller, Per

    2006-03-15

    Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber is rich in organohalogen contaminants, mercury, and n-3 fatty acids. In the present study we show that a daily intake of 50-200 g of minke whale blubber causes an impairment of the nonspecific and specific cellular immune system in the West Greenland sledge dog (Canis familiaris). Immune reactions were measured by mitogen (PHA, Con A) and antigen (KLH) intradermal testing, and as the study used exposure levels similar to those of Inuits and polar bears (Ursus maritimus), it is reasonable to infer that Inuits and polar bears suffer from similar decreased resistance to diseases. It is speculated that food sources are depleted by thinning sea ice due to climate change and that more research should assess the forecasted rise in additive immunopathy effects in polar bears. Additionally, our study suggests that the fatty acid composition may be of importance when investigating combined immunotoxic effects of contaminated food resources in future Inuit and polar bear studies.

  6. Population genetic structure of North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Cortez fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus 1758) : Analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear loci

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bérubé, Martine; Aguilar, Alex; Dendanto, Dan; Larsen, Finn; Notarbartolo di Sciara, Guiseppe; Sears, Richard; Sigurjónsson8, Johan; Urban-R, Jorge; Palsboll, Per

    Samples were collected from 407 fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, at four North Atlantic and one Mediterranean Sea summer feeding area as well as the Sea of Cortez in the Pacific Ocean. For each sample, the sex, the sequence of the first 288 nucleotides of the mitochondrial (mt) control region and

  7. Altered vitamin D status in liver tissue and blood plasma from Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) dietary exposed to organohalogen contaminated minke whale (Balaenoptera acuterostrata) blubber

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Kirkegaard, Maja; Jakobsen, Jette

    2014-01-01

    This study compared vitamin D3 (vitD3) and 25-OH vitamin D3 (25OHD3) status in Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) given either minke whale (Balaenoptera acuterostrata) blubber high in organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) or clean porcine (Suis scrofa) fat for up to 636 days. A group of six...

  8. The complete amino acid sequence of the major component myoglobin from the arctic minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lehman, L D; Dwulet, F E; Bogardt, R A; Jones, B N; Gurd, F R

    1977-02-22

    The complete primary structure of the major component myoglobin from the Arctic minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, was determined by specific cleavage of the protein to obtain large peptides which are readily degraded by the automatic sequencer. Over 80% of the amino acid sequence was established from the three peptides resulting from the cleavage of the apomyoglobin at the two methionine residues with cyanogen bromide along with the four peptides resulting from the cleavage of the methylacetimidated apomyoglobin at the three arginine residues with trypsin. The further digestion of the central cyanogen bromide peptide with trypsin and S. aureus strain V8 protease enabled the determining of the remainder of the covalent structure. This myoglobin differs from that of the dwarf sperm whale, Kogia simus, at 16 positions, and the common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, at 14 positions, from that of the common porpoise, Phocaena phocaena, and the bottlenosed dolphin, Tursiops truncatus at 13 positions, from that of the Amazon River dolphin, Inia geoffrensis, at 10 positions, and from that of California gray whale, Eschrichtius gibbosus, at 3 positions- All of the substitutions observed in this sequence fit easily into the three-dimensional structure of the sperm whale myoglobin.

  9. Circumpolar diversity and geographic differentiation of mtDNA in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Angela L Sremba

    Full Text Available The Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia was hunted to near extinction between 1904 and 1972, declining from an estimated initial abundance of more than 250,000 to fewer than 400. Here, we describe mtDNA control region diversity and geographic differentiation in the surviving population of the Antarctic blue whale, using 218 biopsy samples collected under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC during research cruises from 1990-2009. Microsatellite genotypes and mtDNA sequences identified 166 individuals among the 218 samples and documented movement of a small number of individuals, including a female that traveled at least 6,650 km or 131° longitude over four years. mtDNA sequences from the 166 individuals were aligned with published sequences from 17 additional individuals, resolving 52 unique haplotypes from a consensus length of 410 bp. From this minimum census, a rarefaction analysis predicted that only 72 haplotypes (95% CL, 64, 86 have survived in the contemporary population of Antarctic blue whales. However, haplotype diversity was relatively high (0.968±0.004, perhaps as a result of the longevity of blue whales and the relatively recent timing of the bottleneck. Despite the potential for circumpolar dispersal, we found significant differentiation in mtDNA diversity (F(ST = 0.032, p<0.005 and microsatellite alleles (F(ST = 0.005, p<0.05 among the six Antarctic Areas historically used by the IWC for management of blue whales.

  10. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) optimize foraging efficiency by balancing oxygen use and energy gain as a function of prey density.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hazen, Elliott Lee; Friedlaender, Ari Seth; Goldbogen, Jeremy Arthur

    2015-10-01

    Terrestrial predators can modulate the energy used for prey capture to maximize efficiency, but diving animals face the conflicting metabolic demands of energy intake and the minimization of oxygen depletion during a breath hold. It is thought that diving predators optimize their foraging success when oxygen use and energy gain act as competing currencies, but this hypothesis has not been rigorously tested because it has been difficult to measure the quality of prey that is targeted by free-ranging animals. We used high-resolution multisensor digital tags attached to foraging blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) with concurrent acoustic prey measurements to quantify foraging performance across depth and prey density gradients. We parameterized two competing physiological models to estimate energy gain and expenditure based on foraging decisions. Our analyses show that at low prey densities, blue whale feeding rates and energy intake were low to minimize oxygen use, but at higher prey densities feeding frequency increased to maximize energy intake. Contrary to previous paradigms, we demonstrate that blue whales are not indiscriminate grazers but instead switch foraging strategies in response to variation in prey density and depth to maximize energetic efficiency.

  11. Mediterranean Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus) Threatened by Dolphin MorbilliVirus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazzariol, Sandro; Centelleghe, Cinzia; Beffagna, Giorgia; Povinelli, Michele; Terracciano, Giuliana; Cocumelli, Cristiano; Pintore, Antonio; Denurra, Daniele; Casalone, Cristina; Pautasso, Alessandra; Di Francesco, Cristina Esmeralda; Di Guardo, Giovanni

    2016-02-01

    During 2011-2013, dolphin morbillivirus was molecularly identified in 4 stranded fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea. Nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein, and hemagglutinin gene sequences of the identified strain were highly homologous with those of a morbillivirus that caused a 2006-2007 epidemic in the Mediterranean. Dolphin morbillivirus represents a serious threat for fin whales.

  12. Demography and conservation of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus): what clues can be obtained from photo-identification data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossi, Alessia; Panigada, Simone; Arrigoni, Massimo; Zanardelli, Margherita; Cimmino, Cristina; Marangi, Luigi; Manfredi, Piero; Santangelo, Giovanni

    2014-01-01

    Long-lived and slow reproducing species, such as cetaceans, are among the most critical conservation units: a demographic approach can be very useful for their management and conservation. In the present work, we examined, by demographic tools, the most exhaustive photo-identification database available for the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) population, recorded by Tethys Research Institute between 1990 and 2007 in the Western Ligurian Sea. A total of 31,782 km were covered and 548 fin whale sightings were recorded. The occurrence of the target species was uneven across the years and months: an anomalous reduction of sightings occurred between 2001 and 2004. Moreover, the target species is likely to concentrate in the study area in the summer months and probably moves to other areas in the early autumn. Using the photo-identification technique, 431 different individuals were photo-identified, but only 318 of them were sized: 6 calves (≤ 10 meters), 33 immature (10-15 m), 261 adolescent-adult (> 15 m) and 18 olds (≥ 20 m). For the first time the site of the fin whale sub-population in the Pelagos Sanctuary was obtained by photo-identification and mark-recapture techniques. These techniques were used to estimate the site of the sub-population composed by individuals > 15 meters as 539 fin whales (95% confidence interval = 345-732) over the period 1990-1999. The number of calves was likely underestimated, as the sighting period (late spring-summer) was shifted with respect to the peak of births (late autumn). To fill this gap of knowledge we propose a simple mathematical model for the yearly dynamics of calves. After correcting the number of calves, a static life history table for the period 1990-2007 was set out. Our results highlight the highest survival proportions between calf and immature (61.1%) and the minimum between adolescent-adult and old (2.5%) vital stages. The overall life expectancy is estimated to be 6.3 years while the life

  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. 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.

  15. 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

    2015-07-01

    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 to 19.6 μg/g with an average level of 10.07 μg/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.

  16. 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

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

    OpenAIRE

    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 ...

  18. Large filter feeding marine organisms as indicators of microplastic in the pelagic environment: the case studies of the Mediterranean basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fossi, Maria Cristina; Coppola, Daniele; Baini, Matteo; Giannetti, Matteo; Guerranti, Cristiana; Marsili, Letizia; Panti, Cristina; de Sabata, Eleonora; Clò, Simona

    2014-09-01

    The impact of microplastics (plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm) on large filter feeding marine organisms such as baleen whales and sharks are largely unknown. These species potentially are ingesting micro-litter by filter feeding activity. Here we present the case studies of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) exploring the toxicological effects of microplastics in these species measuring the levels of phthalates in both species. The results show higher concentration of MEHP in the muscle of basking shark in comparison to fin whale blubber. These species can be proposed as indicators of microplastics in the pelagic environment in the implementation of Descriptor 8 and 10 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Distribution and abundance of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus in the Northeast and Central Atlantic as inferred from the North Atlantic Sightings Surveys 1987-2001

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gísli A Víkingsson

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available North Atlantic Sightings Surveys (NASS is a series of large scale international cetacean line transect surveys, conducted in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001, that covered a large part of the central and eastern North Atlantic. Target species were fin (Balaenoptera physalus, common minke (B. acutorostrata, pilot (Globicephala melas and sei (B. borealis whales. Here we present new estimates of abundance for fin whales from the 2 most recent surveys and analysis of trends throughout the survey period. Fin whales were found in highest densities in the Irminger Sea between Iceland and Greenland. Abundance of fin whales in the survey area of the Icelandic and Faroese vessels (Central North Atlantic was estimated as 19,672 (95% C.I. 12,083-28,986 animals in 1995 and 24,887 (95% C.I. 18,186-30,214 in 2001. The estimates are negatively biased because of whales diving during the passage of vessels, and whales being missed by observers, but these and other potential biases are likely small for this species. The abundance of fin whales increased significantly over the survey period. For all areas combined the estimated annual growth rate was 4%. An estimated annual increase of 10% in the area between Iceland and Greenland was responsible for most of this overall increase in numbers of fin whales in the area. Although high, the estimated rates of increase are not out of bounds of biological plausibility and can thus be viewed as recovery of a depleted population. However, the apparent pattern of population growth and the whaling history in the area indicate that fin whales made a significant recovery during the first half of the 20th century and that the recent observed high growth rates cannot be explained solely by recovery after overexploitation.

  20. Estimates of the abundance of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata from Faroese and Icelandic NASS shipboard surveys

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel G Pike

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available North Atlantic Sightings Surveys for cetaceans were carried out Northeast and Central Atlantic in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001. Here we provide estimates of density and abundance for minke whales from the Faroese and Icelandic ship surveys. The estimates are not corrected for availability or perception biases. Double platform data collected in 2001 indicates that perception bias is likely considerable for this species. However comparison of corrected estimates of densityfrom aerial surveys with a ship survey estimate from the same area suggests that ship surveys can be nearly unbiased under optimal survey conditions with high searching effort. There were some regional changes in density over the period but no overall changes in density and abundance. Given the recent catch history for minke whales in this area, we would not expect to see changes in abundance due to exploitation that would be detectable with these surveys.

  1. The feasibility of assessing the diets of minke whale ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the East Sea through fatty acid composition in blubber and stable isotopic ratio of skin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ko, Ah-Ra; Ju, Se-Jong; Choi, Seok-Gwan; Shin, Kyung-Hoon

    2016-09-01

    To track the diet of minke whale ( Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the East Sea (Japan Sea), a conjoint analysis of fatty acids and C and N stable isotopes was performed on blubber and skin from the whale and its potential prey. The total lipid content in the blubber of minke whales ranged from 37.9% to 82.7% of wet mass (mean ± SD, 63.1 ± 17.2%), with triacylglycerols being the dominant lipids (96.9%-99.2% of total lipids). The lipid and fatty acid (FA) contents were systematically stratified throughout the depth of the blubber layers; contents of the dominant monounsaturated FAs (MUFAs), including 18:1ω9 and 16:1ω7, increased from the innermost layer to the outermost layer, whereas contents of saturated FAs (SFAs) and polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) were higher in the innermost layer than in the outermost layer. This stratification is related to the different physiological roles of the blubber layers; e.g., thermoregulation, streaming, and buoyancy. A comparison of the FA compositions of the innermost layer of minke whales with those of potential prey indicates that FA compositions in the whales are similar to those of Pacific herring. In addition, stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) suggest that minke whale and Pacific herring have the same or similar diets. Therefore, the diets of minke whale from the East Sea (Japan Sea) could be inferred from information on the diet of the Pacific herring, although FA compositions and stable isotope ratios for Pacific herring would not exactly reflect the whale's diet. Although the very limited number of samples was used in this study, our preliminary findings are very promising to help understand the feeding ecology of minke whales in the East Sea (Japan Sea).

  2. MHC DQB-1 polymorphism in the Gulf of California fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nigenda-Morales, Sergio; Flores-Ramírez, Sergio; Urbán-R, Jorge; Vázquez-Juárez, Ricardo

    2008-01-01

    One of the most isolated populations of fin whales occurs in the Gulf of California (GOC) with 400-800 individuals. This population shows reduced neutral genetic variation in comparison to the North Pacific population and thus might also display limited adaptive polymorphism. We sampled 36 fin whales from the GOC and assessed genetic variation at exon 2 of the major histocompatibility complex class II DQB-1 genes responsible for eliciting immune responses. Three divergent alleles were found with higher nonsynonymous than synonymous substitution rates within the peptide-binding region positions as well as the likely retention of ancient alleles, indicating that positive selection has shaped diversity in this species. Limited levels of nonneutral polymorphism, in addition to previously described low levels of neutral polymorphism, are consistent with the results of previous studies on vertebrate populations that have remained small and demographically stable for a very long time. Such low genetic variation in the GOC fin whales could be explained by 2 demographic scenarios: an ancient isolated population with limited gene flow or a more recent founder event after the last glacial maximum with very restricted gene flow.

  3. Locomotor behaviours and respiratory pattern of the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafortuna, Claudio L; Jahoda, Maddalena; Azzellino, Arianna; Saibene, Franco; Colombini, Angelo

    2003-10-01

    Twenty-four Mediterranean fin whales were tracked in open sea with a method based on the assessment of the animal differential position in respect of the observer's absolute position aboard a vessel, with the concomitant recording of the respiratory activity. Short distance video recording was also performed in two whales, permitting the simultaneous determination of single breath expiratory (TE) and inspiratory (TI) durations. In the 24 whales swimming at an average velocity of 1.39 (0.47) m.s(-1) [mean (SD), range: 0.62-2.44 m.s(-1)], 2068 breaths organized in 477 respiratory cycles were observed. Each cycle entailed a prolonged apnoea dive phase [225 (91) s, Tdive) followed by a period near the surface [62 (28) s, surfacing], during which a series of breaths [4.6 (1.8)] was performed at short intervals. On the basis of track length and swimming velocity, two groups of animals were devised differing for convolution of the course (p<0.001), extension of ranging territory (p<0.01) and horizontal swimming velocity (p<0.05), which may represent two distinct behaviours. A possibly general mechanism of control of breathing in cetaceans was found, consistent with a model of constant tidal volume and variable respiratory frequency. Coherently with this model, TE was independent of TI or Tdive, in line with a passive expiration, while TI appeared to be negatively correlated with Tdive (p<0.05), otherwise suggesting, similarly with terrestrial mammals, a significant role of hypercapnic stimulation. The estimated O2 consumption of about 150 l.min(-1) is in line with the general allometric regression for mammals and corresponds to an energetic expenditure of 85-95 kJ.kg(-1).day(-1).

  4. Passive versus active engulfment: verdict from trajectory simulations of lunge-feeding fin whales Balaenoptera physalus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potvin, J; Goldbogen, J A; Shadwick, R E

    2009-11-06

    Lunge-feeding in rorqual whales represents the largest biomechanical event on Earth and one of the most extreme feeding methods among aquatic vertebrates. By accelerating to high speeds and by opening their mouth to large gape angles, these whales generate the water pressure required to expand their mouth around a large volume of prey-laden water. Such large influx is facilitated by highly extensible ventral groove blubber (VGB) associated with the walls of the throat (buccal cavity). Based on the mechanical properties of this tissue, previous studies have assumed lunge-feeding to be an entirely passive process, where the flow-induced pressure driving the expansion of the VGB is met with little resistance. Such compliant engulfment would be facilitated by the compliant properties of the VGB that have been measured on dead specimens. However, adjoining the ventral blubber are several layers of well-developed muscle embedded with mechanoreceptors, thereby suggesting a capability to gauge the magnitude of engulfed water and use eccentric muscle action to control the flux of water into the mouth. An unsteady hydrodynamic model of fin whale lunge-feeding is presented here to test whether engulfment is exclusively passive and compliant or involves muscle action. The model is based on the explicit simulation of the engulfed water as it interacts with the buccal cavity walls of the whale, under different heuristically motivated cavity forces. Our results, together with their comparison with velocity data collected in the field, suggest that adult rorquals actively push engulfed water forward from the very onset of mouth opening in order to successfully complete a lunge. Interestingly, such an action involves a reflux of the engulfed mass rather than the oft-assumed rebound, which would occur mainly at the very end of a lunge sequence dominated by compliant engulfment. Given the great mass of the engulfed water, reflux creation adds a significant source of hydrodynamic drag

  5. Analysis of the microbial diversity in faecal material of the endangered blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guass, Olivia; Haapanen, Lisa Meier; Dowd, Scot E; Širović, Ana; McLaughlin, Richard William

    2016-07-01

    Using bacterial and fungal tag-encoded FLX-Titanium amplicon pyrosequencing, the microbiota of the faecal material of two blue whales living in the wild off the coast of California was investigated. In both samples the most predominant bacterial phylum was the Firmicutes with Clostridium spp. being the most dominant bacteria. The most predominant fungi were members of the phylum Ascomycota with Metschnikowia spp. being the most dominant. In this study, we also preliminarily characterised the culturable anaerobic bacteria from the faecal material, using traditional culture and 16S rRNA gene sequencing approaches. In total, three bacterial species belonging to the phylum Firmicutes were identified.

  6. Anthropogenic Threats and Conservation Needs of Blue Whales, Balaenoptera musculus indica, around Sri Lanka

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. de Vos

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Blue whales in the Northern Indian Ocean are a morphologically and acoustically distinct population restricted to these waters. Off Sri Lanka a portion of the population concentrates near shore where they are exposed to a range of anthropogenic threats. We review available data to determine anthropogenic threats/stressors faced by this population and assign subjective rankings for the population-level severity of each threat/stressor based on severity, scope, and immediacy. With the cessation of direct illegal catches on this population in the late 1960s, we ranked ship strike as the most important population-level threat. Incidental catch, which includes entanglement and bycatch, is also important as it can result in death. Other less important stressors that may negatively impact this population include threats resulting from oil and gas development and pollution. However, some stressors can have a long-term cumulative impact that is difficult to assess. The most important research needed for the conservation of these whales is to obtain an estimate of the size of the population using photo-identification methods.

  7. Estimated food consumption of minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata in Northeast Atlantic waters in 1992-1995

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    Lars P Folkow

    2000-05-01

    Uncertainties in stock estimates suggest a 95% confidence range of 1.4 - 2.1 million tonnes. The point estimate was composed of 602,000 tonnes of krill Thysanoessa spp., 633,000 tonnes of herring Clupea harengus, 142,000 tonnes of capelin Mallotus villosus, 256,000 tonnes of cod Gadus morhua, 128,000 tonnes of haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and 54,500 tonnes of other fish species, including saithe Pollaehius virens and sand eel Ammodytes sp. Consumption of various prey items by minke whales may represent an important mortality factor for some of the species. For example, the estimated annual consumption of herring corresponds to about 70% of the herring fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic in 1995. Minke whale diets are subject to year-to-year variations due to changes in the resource base in different feeding areas. Thus, the regional distribution of consumption of different prey items is highly dynamic.

  8. Seasonal and Diel Vocalization Patterns of Antarctic Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia in the Southern Indian Ocean: A Multi-Year and Multi-Site Study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Emmanuelle C Leroy

    Full Text Available Passive acoustic monitoring is an efficient way to provide insights on the ecology of large whales. This approach allows for long-term and species-specific monitoring over large areas. In this study, we examined six years (2010 to 2015 of continuous acoustic recordings at up to seven different locations in the Central and Southern Indian Basin to assess the peak periods of presence, seasonality and migration movements of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia. An automated method is used to detect the Antarctic blue whale stereotyped call, known as Z-call. Detection results are analyzed in terms of distribution, seasonal presence and diel pattern of emission at each site. Z-calls are detected year-round at each site, except for one located in the equatorial Indian Ocean, and display highly seasonal distribution. This seasonality is stable across years for every site, but varies between sites. Z-calls are mainly detected during autumn and spring at the subantarctic locations, suggesting that these sites are on the Antarctic blue whale migration routes, and mostly during winter at the subtropical sites. In addition to these seasonal trends, there is a significant diel pattern in Z-call emission, with more Z-calls in daytime than in nighttime. This diel pattern may be related to the blue whale feeding ecology.

  9. Seasonal and Diel Vocalization Patterns of Antarctic Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) in the Southern Indian Ocean: A Multi-Year and Multi-Site Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leroy, Emmanuelle C; Samaran, Flore; Bonnel, Julien; Royer, Jean-Yves

    2016-01-01

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an efficient way to provide insights on the ecology of large whales. This approach allows for long-term and species-specific monitoring over large areas. In this study, we examined six years (2010 to 2015) of continuous acoustic recordings at up to seven different locations in the Central and Southern Indian Basin to assess the peak periods of presence, seasonality and migration movements of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia). An automated method is used to detect the Antarctic blue whale stereotyped call, known as Z-call. Detection results are analyzed in terms of distribution, seasonal presence and diel pattern of emission at each site. Z-calls are detected year-round at each site, except for one located in the equatorial Indian Ocean, and display highly seasonal distribution. This seasonality is stable across years for every site, but varies between sites. Z-calls are mainly detected during autumn and spring at the subantarctic locations, suggesting that these sites are on the Antarctic blue whale migration routes, and mostly during winter at the subtropical sites. In addition to these seasonal trends, there is a significant diel pattern in Z-call emission, with more Z-calls in daytime than in nighttime. This diel pattern may be related to the blue whale feeding ecology.

  10. Total Mercury, Methylmercury, Inorganic Arsenic and Other Elements in Meat from Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) from the North East Atlantic Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maage, Amund; Nilsen, Bente M; Julshamn, Kaare; Frøyland, Livar; Valdersnes, Stig

    2017-08-01

    Meat samples of 84 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) mainly from the Barents Sea, collected between 1 May and 16 August 2011, were analyzed for total mercury, methylmercury, cadmium, lead, total arsenic, inorganic arsenic and selenium. The average total mercury concentration found was 0.15 ± 0.09 mg/kg, with a range from 0.05 to 0.49 mg/kg. The molar ratio of selenium to mercury varied between 1.0 and 10.3. Cadmium content ranged from 0.002 to 0.036 mg/kg, while the content of lead in whale meat ranged from whale samples exceeded established EU maximum levels for metals in fish muscle, but 4.8% and 6.8% of the samples exceeded Japanese maximum levels for total mercury and methylmercury, respectively, in whale meat. There was only minor variations in element concentrations between whales from different geographical areas, and cadmium was the only element were the concentration increased with increasing length.

  11. Altered vitamin D status in liver tissue and blood plasma from Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) dietary exposed to organohalogen contaminated minke whale (Balaenoptera acuterostrata) blubber.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Kirkegaard, Maja; Jakobsen, Jette; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Letcher, Robert J; Dietz, Rune

    2014-06-01

    This study compared vitamin D3 (vitD3) and 25-OH vitamin D3 (25OHD3) status in Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) given either minke whale (Balaenoptera acuterostrata) blubber high in organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) or clean porcine (Suis scrofa) fat for up to 636 days. A group of six exposed and six control sister bitches (maternal generation) and their three exposed and four control pups, respectively, were daily fed 112g whale blubber (193µg ∑PCB/day) or porcine fat (0.17µg ∑PCB/day). Mean level of ∑PCB in adipose tissue of exposed bitches and their pups was 3106 and 2670ng/g lw, respectively, which was significantly higher than the mean concentration of 53ng/g lw for all controls (pwildlife. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. A multi-trial diagnostic tool in fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) skin biopsies of the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea) and the Gulf of California (Mexico).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fossi, Maria Cristina; Urban, Jorge; Casini, Silvia; Maltese, Silvia; Spinsanti, Giacomo; Panti, Cristina; Porcelloni, Serena; Panigada, Simone; Lauriano, Giancarlo; Niño-Torres, Carlos; Rojas-Bracho, Lorenzo; Jimenez, Begoña; Muñoz-Arnanz, Juan; Marsili, Letizia

    2010-01-01

    The main objective of this study was to apply a set of sensitive non-lethal biomarkers in skin biopsies of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) to evaluate the toxicological status of this mysticete in the Pelagos Sanctuary (Mediterranean Sea) and in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez-Mexico). We developed a "multi-trial diagnostic tool" (based on field and in vitro studies), combining molecular biomarkers (western blot of CYP1A1, CYP2B) and gene expression (qRT-PCR of HSP70, ERα, AHR, E2F-1) with the analysis of OCs, PAHs and PBDEs. The study revealed a higher level of toxicological stress in the Mediterranean fin whales. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. The Functional Anatomy of Nerves Innervating the Ventral Grooved Blubber of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera Physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogl, Wayne; Petersen, Hannes; Adams, Arlo; Lillie, Margo A; Shadwick, Robert E

    2017-11-01

    Nerves that supply the floor of the oral cavity in rorqual whales are extensible to accommodate the dramatic changes in tissue dimensions that occur during "lunge feeding" in this group. We report here that the large nerves innervating the muscle component of the ventral grooved blubber (VGB) in fin whales are branches of cranial nerve VII (facial nerve). Therefore, the muscles of the VGB are homologous to second branchial arch derived muscles, which in humans include the muscles of "facial expression." We speculate, based on the presence of numerous foramina on the dorsolateral surface of the mandibular bones, that general sensation from the VGB likely is carried by branches of the mandibular division (V3) of cranial nerve V (trigeminal nerve), and that these small branches travel in the lipid-rich layer directly underlying the skin. We show that intercostal and phrenic nerves, which are not extensible, have a different wall and nerve core morphology than the large VGB nerves that are branches of VII. Although these VGB nerves are known to have two levels of waviness, the intercostal and phrenic nerves have only one in which the nerve fascicles in the nerve core are moderately wavy. In addition, the VGB nerves have inner and outer parts to their walls with numerous large elastin fibers in the outer part, whereas intercostal and phrenic nerves have single walls formed predominantly of collagen. Our results illustrate that overall nerve morphology depends greatly on location and the forces to which the structures are exposed. Anat Rec, 300:1963-1972, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities in Extracts from Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata Blubber

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mari Johannessen Walquist

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-n3-PUFA is commonly recognized to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD. In previous studies, cold-pressed whale oil (CWO and cod liver oil (CLO were given as a dietary supplement to healthy volunteers. Even though CWO contains less than half the amount of LC-n3-PUFA of CLO, CWO supplement resulted in beneficial effects on anti-inflammatory and CVD risk markers compared to CLO. In the present study, we prepared virtually lipid-free extracts from CWO and CLO and evaluated the antioxidative capacity (AOC and anti-inflammatory effects. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP assays were used to test the AOC, and the results indicated high levels of antioxidants present in all extracts. The anti-inflammatory effects of the extracts were tested with lipopolysaccharide- (LPS- treated THP-1 cells, measuring its ability to reduce cytokine and chemokine secretion. Several CWO extracts displayed anti-inflammatory activity, and a butyl alcohol extract of CWO most effectively reduced TNF-α (50%, p<0.05 and MCP-1 (85%, p<0.001 secretion. This extract maintained a stable effect of reducing MCP-1 secretion (60%, p<0.05 even after long-term storage. In conclusion, CWO has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that may act in addition to its well-known LC-n3-PUFA effects.

  15. Discerning between recurrent gene flow and recent divergence under a finite-site mutation model applied to North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palsbøll, Per J; Bérubé, Martine; Aguilar, Alex; Notarbartolo-Di-Sciara, Giuseppe; Nielsen, Rasmus

    2004-03-01

    Genetic divergence among conspecific subpopulations can be due to either low recurrent gene flow or recent divergence and no gene flow. Here we present a modification of an earlier method developed by Nielsen and Wakeley (2001), which accommodates a finite-site mutation model, to assess which of the two models of divergence is most likely given the observed data. We apply the method to nucleotide sequence data collected from the variable part of the mitochondrial control region in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from the Atlantic coast off Spain and the Mediterranean Sea. Our estimations strongly favor a model of recurrent gene flow over a model of recent divergence and zero gene flow. We estimated the migration rate at two females per generation. While the estimated rate is high by evolutionary standards, exchange rates of this order of magnitude is low from an ecological and conservation perspective and entirely consistent with the current paucity of fin whale sightings in the Strait of Gibraltar today. Intensive commercial shore-based whaling during the 1920s removed substantial numbers of fin whales in the Strait of Gibraltar and this local population has seemingly since failed to recover.

  16. The neocortex of cetartiodactyls: I. A comparative Golgi analysis of neuronal morphology in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Butti, Camilla; Janeway, Caroline M; Townshend, Courtney; Wicinski, Bridget A; Reidenberg, Joy S; Ridgway, Sam H; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Jacobs, Bob

    2015-11-01

    The present study documents the morphology of neurons in several regions of the neocortex from the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the North Atlantic minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), and the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Golgi-stained neurons (n = 210) were analyzed in the frontal and temporal neocortex as well as in the primary visual and primary motor areas. Qualitatively, all three species exhibited a diversity of neuronal morphologies, with spiny neurons including typical pyramidal types, similar to those observed in primates and rodents, as well as other spiny neuron types that had more variable morphology and/or orientation. Five neuron types, with a vertical apical dendrite, approximated the general pyramidal neuron morphology (i.e., typical pyramidal, extraverted, magnopyramidal, multiapical, and bitufted neurons), with a predominance of typical and extraverted pyramidal neurons. In what may represent a cetacean morphological apomorphy, both typical pyramidal and magnopyramidal neurons frequently exhibited a tri-tufted variant. In the humpback whale, there were also large, star-like neurons with no discernable apical dendrite. Aspiny bipolar and multipolar interneurons were morphologically consistent with those reported previously in other mammals. Quantitative analyses showed that neuronal size and dendritic extent increased in association with body size and brain mass (bottlenose dolphin whale humpback whale). The present data thus suggest that certain spiny neuron morphologies may be apomorphies in the neocortex of cetaceans as compared to other mammals and that neuronal dendritic extent covaries with brain and body size.

  17. A comparative morphometric analysis of the optic nerve in two cetacean species, the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mazzatenta, A; Caleo, M; Baldaccini, N E; Maffei, L

    2001-01-01

    A comparative study was made on one Mysticete (the fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus) and one Odontocete species (the striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba) by measuring several morphological characteristics seen in cross sections of the optic nerve. We found that the two cetacean nerves share a number of specializations that distinguish them from the optic nerve of terrestrial mammals. Fiber density is approximately two-fold lower than in land mammals. A corresponding increase in the cross-sectional area occupied by astrocytes is observed. A population of "giant" (up to 15 microm in diameter) optic axons is present in both the B. physalus and the S. coeruleoalba nerve. It is argued that these features probably reflect common adaptations to the constraints imposed by the aquatic environment. "Giant" optic axons might ensure short-latency detection of preys and other targets during navigation while the increased astroglial content might be related to the maintenance of neuronal function during periods of anaerobic metabolism under water.

  18. 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.

  19. Genetic Variation at Exon 2 of the MHC Class II DQB Locus in Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus from the Gulf of California.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana D Moreno-Santillán

    Full Text Available The genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC play an important role in the vertebrate immune response and are among the most polymorphic genes known in vertebrates. In some marine mammals, MHC genes have been shown to be characterized by low levels of polymorphism compared to terrestrial taxa; this reduction in variation is often explained as a result of lower pathogen pressures in marine habitats. To determine if this same reduction in variation applies to the migratory population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus that occurs in the Gulf of California, we genotyped a 172 bp fragment of exon 2 of the MHC Class II DQB locus for 80 members of this population. Twenty-two putatively functional DQB allotypes were identified, all of which were homologous with DQB sequences from other cetacean species. Up to 5 putative alleles per individual were identified, suggesting that gene duplication has occurred at this locus. Rates of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions (ω and maximum likelihood analyses of models of nucleotide variation provided potential evidence of ongoing positive selection at this exon. Phylogenetic analyses of DQB alleles from B. musculus and 16 other species of cetaceans revealed trans-specific conservation of MHC variants, suggesting that selection has acted on this locus over prolonged periods of time. Collectively our findings reveal that immunogenic variation in blue whales is comparable to that in terrestrial mammals, thereby providing no evidence that marine taxa are subject to reduced pathogen-induced selective pressures.

  20. Genetic Variation at Exon 2 of the MHC Class II DQB Locus in Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) from the Gulf of California.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno-Santillán, Diana D; Lacey, Eileen A; Gendron, Diane; Ortega, Jorge

    2016-01-01

    The genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) play an important role in the vertebrate immune response and are among the most polymorphic genes known in vertebrates. In some marine mammals, MHC genes have been shown to be characterized by low levels of polymorphism compared to terrestrial taxa; this reduction in variation is often explained as a result of lower pathogen pressures in marine habitats. To determine if this same reduction in variation applies to the migratory population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) that occurs in the Gulf of California, we genotyped a 172 bp fragment of exon 2 of the MHC Class II DQB locus for 80 members of this population. Twenty-two putatively functional DQB allotypes were identified, all of which were homologous with DQB sequences from other cetacean species. Up to 5 putative alleles per individual were identified, suggesting that gene duplication has occurred at this locus. Rates of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions (ω) and maximum likelihood analyses of models of nucleotide variation provided potential evidence of ongoing positive selection at this exon. Phylogenetic analyses of DQB alleles from B. musculus and 16 other species of cetaceans revealed trans-specific conservation of MHC variants, suggesting that selection has acted on this locus over prolonged periods of time. Collectively our findings reveal that immunogenic variation in blue whales is comparable to that in terrestrial mammals, thereby providing no evidence that marine taxa are subject to reduced pathogen-induced selective pressures.

  1. Genetic identification of a small and highly isolated population of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Berube, M; Urban, J; Dizon, AE; Brownell, RL; Palsboll, PJ

    2002-01-01

    For many years, researchers have speculated that fin whales are year-round residents in the Sea of Cortez (= Gulf of California). Previous work by Berube and co-workers has shown that the degree of genetic diversity among fin whales in the Sea of Cortez at nuclear and mitochondrial loci is highly

  2. Organization of the sleep-related neural systems in the brain of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dell, Leigh-Anne; Karlsson, Karl Ae; Patzke, Nina; Spocter, Muhammad A; Siegel, Jerome M; Manger, Paul R

    2016-07-01

    The current study analyzed the nuclear organization of the neural systems related to the control and regulation of sleep and wake in the basal forebrain, diencephalon, midbrain, and pons of the minke whale, a mysticete cetacean. While odontocete cetaceans sleep in an unusual manner, with unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS) and suppressed REM sleep, it is unclear whether the mysticete whales show a similar sleep pattern. Previously, we detailed a range of features in the odontocete brain that appear to be related to odontocete-type sleep, and here present our analysis of these features in the minke whale brain. All neural elements involved in sleep regulation and control found in bihemispheric sleeping mammals and the harbor porpoise were present in the minke whale, with no specific nuclei being absent, and no novel nuclei being present. This qualitative similarity relates to the cholinergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic and orexinergic systems, and the GABAergic elements of these nuclei. Quantitative analysis revealed that the numbers of pontine cholinergic (274,242) and noradrenergic (203,686) neurons, and hypothalamic orexinergic neurons (277,604), are markedly higher than other large-brained bihemispheric sleeping mammals. Small telencephalic commissures (anterior, corpus callosum, and hippocampal), an enlarged posterior commissure, supernumerary pontine cholinergic and noradrenergic cells, and an enlarged peripheral division of the dorsal raphe nuclear complex of the minke whale, all indicate that the suite of neural characteristics thought to be involved in the control of USWS and the suppression of REM in the odontocete cetaceans are present in the minke whale. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2018-2035, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Spring distribution and density of minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata along an offshore bank in the central North Sea

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de M.N.

    2010-01-01

    Minke whales were recorded in the central North Sea in an area characterised by frontal features and high productivity northeast of the Dogger Bank (4677 km2). Survey efforts were carried out from 28 March to 2 July 2007, at a finer scale than in earlier studies in the region, using 2 vessels as

  4. On a specimen of the rare fin whale, Balaenoptera Edeni Anderson, stranded on Pulu Sugi near Singapore

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Junge, G.C.A.

    1950-01-01

    A Fin Whale was cast ashore on the coast of Pulu Sugi, one of the smaller islands of the Rhio Archipelago between Singapore and the Sumatran coast in July 1936. Thanks to the generosity of Dr. K. W. Dammerman, former Director of 's Lands Plantentuin at Buitenzorg, and the unvaluable help of the late

  5. Short Communication A stranding of Balaenoptera borealis (Lesson ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Strandings of baleen whales are uncommon in Patagonia, Argentina. We report on a stranding of an individual sei whale Balaenoptera borealis on the east coast of San Antonio (40°43.5′ S, 64°55.8′ W), Río Negro province, Argentina. It was the eighth reported stranding of this species along the Argentinean coastline.

  6. The existence of different Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus, populations in South Atlantic waters. A preliminary study by means of morphological characters

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beek, van J.G.; Utrecht, van W.L.

    1984-01-01

    The southern hemisphere has been divided into six Areas for baleen whale management purposes. It was assumed that of the different baleen whale species one population lives in each Area. However, evidence exists which suggests that different Fin Whale populations intermingle on the feeding grounds

  7. Regional variation of caesium-137 in minke whales ¤Balaenoptera acutorostrata¤ from West Greenland, the Northeast Atlantic and the North Sea

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Born, E.W.; Dahlgaard, H.; Riget, F.F.

    2002-01-01

    caesium concentration in minke whales from the North Sea is in accordance with previous findings that Cs-137 levels in the marine environment of the North Atlantic region decrease with increasing distance from major point sources (i.e. nuclear-fuel reprocessing plants in the UK and France, and outflow...

  8. Monitoring fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) acoustic presence by means of a low frequency seismic hydrophone in Western Ionian Sea, EMSO site.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Beranzoli, Laura; Marinaro, Giuditta

    2015-04-01

    In 2012, the NEMO-SN1 multidisciplinary seafloor platform was deployed in the Gulf of Catania at a depth of 2100 m. By using the low bandwidth seismic hydrophone SMID DT405D (1Hz MATLAB® software developed for the study, which automatically saves the spectrogram of the band below 50Hz. About 7.000 hours of acoustic recordings have been investigated through spectrograms analysis. The low frequency hydrophone installed aboard the NEMO-SN1/SMO station allowed the detection of both types of the Mediterranean fin whale acoustic signals, recorded for the first time in the area. Furthermore, our results show a previous unknown acoustic presence of fin whales offshore Eastern Sicily throughout all seasons of the investigated year. The new long-term multidisciplinary projects connected to "KM3NeT" and "EMSO" will give us the chance to better understand the animals' occurrence in the area and to investigate their acoustic behavior and population dynamics.

  9. Validation of the sperm quality analyzer and the hypo-osmotic swelling test for frozen-thawed ram and minke whale (Balaenoptera bonarensis) spermatozoa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukui, Yutaka; Togawa, Morihiko; Abe, Norihito; Takano, Yuuki; Asada, Masatsugu; Okada, Aki; Iida, Kenji; Ishikawa, Hajime; Ohsumi, Seiji

    2004-02-01

    The object of the present study was to investigate the validation of the sperm quality analyzer (SQA) and the hypo-osmotic swelling (HOS) test with standard sperm analysis methods in frozen-thawed ram and minke whale spermatozoa. In rams, highly significant correlations were observed in the percentage of motile spermatozoa (Psperm concentration (Pwhale spermatozoa, the SVI (sperm viability index) values by the standard method were significantly (Psperm motility index (SMI) values by SQA. The percentage of motile spermatozoa was also significantly correlated (Pwhale spermatozoa, and that the SQA and HOS test values are significantly correlated in ram spermatozoa. However, sperm concentration and morphologically normal spermatozoa are not assessed accurately by SQA in minke whales.

  10. Position, swimming direction and group size of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus in the presence of a fast-ferry in the Bay of Biscay

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ana S. Aniceto

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available We analyze group size, swimming direction and the orientation of fin whales relative to a fast ferry in the Bay of Biscay. Fin whale groups (≥3 individuals were on average closer to the vessel than single individuals and pairs (F1,114 = 4.94, p = 0.028 and were more often observed within a high-risk angle ahead of the ferry (binomial probability: p = 7.60 × 10−11. Also, small groups tend to swim in the opposite direction (heading of 180° of the ferry at the starboard side (binomial test: p = 6.86 × 10−5 and at the portside (binomial test: p = 0.0156. These findings provide valuable information to improve shipping management procedures in areas at high risk for collisions.

  11. 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

  12. Helminths parasites of whales in Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luís C. Muniz-Pereira

    1999-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. Rafinesque's Sicilian whale, Balena gastrytis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woodman, Neal; Mead, James G.

    2017-01-01

    In 1815, the naturalist Constantine S. Rafinesque described a new species of cetacean, Balena gastrytis, from Sicily, based on a whale that stranded on Carini beach near Palermo. In comparing the characteristics of his new whale with known species, Rafinesque also took the opportunity to name a new genus, Cetoptera, to replace Balaenoptera Lacépède, 1804. Unfortunately, few of Rafinesque's contemporaries saw his article, which appeared in Il Portafoglio, a local journal that he published and distributed. The journal remains rare, and awareness of the whale remains minimal, despite its relevance to cetacean taxonomy and understanding of whale diversity and distribution in the Mediterranean. We describe the circumstances of the stranding of the Sicilian whale and provide Rafinesque's original description of the whale, as well as an evaluation of its reported characteristics and its current identity.

  15. 77 FR 5491 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for Sei Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-03

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

  16. Fin whale survival and abundance in the gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ramp, Christian; Delarue, Julien; Bérubé, Martine; Hammond, Philip S.; Sears, Richard

    2014-01-01

    The fin whale Balaenoptera physalus, the second largest species in the animal kingdom to have lived on Earth, was heavily targeted during the industrial whaling era. North Atlantic whaling for this species ended in 1987 and it is unclear if the populations are recovering. The stock structure in the

  17. 76 FR 43985 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sei Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-07-22

    ... Plan for the Sei Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis). NMFS is soliciting review and comment from the public and all... would not promote its recovery. The sei whale has been listed as ``endangered'' under the Endangered...

  18. Distribution patterns and migratory behavior of Antarctic blue whales

    OpenAIRE

    Thomisch, Karolin

    2016-01-01

    After having been one of the primary targets of commercial whaling during the 20th century, Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) are still listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and many aspects of their distribution and migration patterns remain poorly understood to date. This dissertation investigates spatio-temporal patterns in the (acoustic) presence of Antarctic blue whales in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean and...

  19. The Ecology and Acoustic Behavior of Minke Whales in the Hawaiian and Pacific Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-09-30

    whales are poorly understood, especially for populations in the North Pacific. We have already determined that there are certain characteristics of...populations exist. We will continue to examine the acoustic characteristics of boings for additional insights. RELATED PROJECTS A related NOPP funded...A Visual Sighting and Acoustic Detections of Minke Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata ( Cetacea : Balaenopteridae), in Nearshore Hawaiian Waters

  20. Baleen whale spatial patterns in the Scotia Sea during January and February 2003

    OpenAIRE

    Sirovic, Ana; Hildebrand, John A.; Thiele, Deborah

    2006-01-01

    Different species of baleen whales display distinct spatial distribution patterns in the Scotia Sea during the austral summer. Passive acoustic and visual surveys for baleen whales were conducted aboard the RRS James Clark Ross in the Scotia Sea and around South Georgia in January and February 2003. Identified calls from four species were recorded during the acoustic survey including southern right (Eubalaena australis), blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus) and humpback whales (Meg...

  1. Sloughed skin: a method for the systematic colletion of tissue samples from Baja California blue whales

    OpenAIRE

    Gendron, Diane; Mesnick, S.L.

    2001-01-01

    The frequency of occurrence of naturally sloughed skin was investigated to verify the feasibility of this method to study blue whale genetics off Baja California. Sloughed skin was recorded in 97% of 337 surfacing intervals with blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, along the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. No significant difference (P>0.05) was found in size of pieces of skin sloughed from whales in different habitats, sea surface temperatures or whether they were alone or in pairs. Samp...

  2. Complete mitochondrial genomes of Diplogonoporus balaenopterae and Diplogonoporus grandis (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidae) and clarification of their taxonomic relationships.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamasaki, Hiroshi; Ohmae, Hiroshi; Kuramochi, Toshiaki

    2012-06-01

    Although the diplogonadic human tapeworm, Diplogonoporus grandis, has long been considered to be a synonym of the whale tapeworm, Diplogonoporus balaenopterae, the identity of the both species at the complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear DNA levels has been not sufficiently undertaken to date. In the present study, to clarify the taxonomic relationships between D. balaenopterae and D. grandis at the molecular level, the complete mitochondrial genomes of both species were sequenced and compared. In addition, the genetic variation in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1) and the nuclear internal transcribed spacer-1 (ITS-1) region of the ribosomal RNA gene were examined. The complete mitochondrial genomes of D. balaenopterae and D. grandis consisted of 13,724 bp and 13,725 bp, respectively. These mitochondrial genomes contained 12 protein-coding, 22 transfer RNA and 2 ribosomal RNA genes and two longer non-coding regions. Except for Hymenolepis diminuta, the genomic organization in both species was essentially identical to that in other cestode genomes examined to date. However, differences were observed between Diplogonoporus and Diphyllobothrium species in abbreviated stop codons, sequences and the number of repeat units in the 2nd non-coding regions. The genetic differences observed in the mitochondrial genomes, cox1 and ITS-1 regions of both species were considered typical of intraspecific variation. In conclusion, D. balaenopterae is a taxonomically valid species and D. grandis is a junior synonym of D. balaenopterae based on the zoological nomenclature. Further, molecular-phylogenetic analysis confirmed that D. balaenopterae is more closely related to Diphyllobothrium stemmacephalum, the type-species of the genus Diphyllobothrium, and the taxonomical validity of the genera Diplogonoporus and Diphyllobothrium was also discussed. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  3. Estimates of Abundance and Trend on a Blue Whale Feeding Ground off Isla de Chiloé, Chile

    OpenAIRE

    Galletti Vernazzani, Barbara; Jackson, Jennifer A.; Cabrera, Elsa; Carlson, Carole A.; Brownell, Jr. , Robert L.

    2017-01-01

    Since 1970, blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have been seen feeding in the waters off southern Chile during the summer and autumn (December to May). Investigation of the genetic, acoustic and morphological characteristics of these blue whales shows that they are a distinct but unnamed subspecies, called the Chilean blue whales. Photo-identification surveys have been conducted in the waters off northwestern Isla Grande de Chilo?, southern Chile from 2004?2012 and Isla Cha?aral, central Chil...

  4. Bones as biofuel: a review of whale bone composition with implications for deep-sea biology and palaeoanthropology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Higgs, Nicholas D; Little, Crispin T S; Glover, Adrian G

    2011-01-07

    Whales are unique among vertebrates because of the enormous oil reserves held in their soft tissue and bone. These 'biofuel' stores have been used by humans from prehistoric times to more recent industrial-scale whaling. Deep-sea biologists have now discovered that the oily bones of dead whales on the seabed are also used by specialist and generalist scavenging communities, including many unique organisms recently described as new to science. In the context of both cetacean and deep-sea invertebrate biology, we review scientific knowledge on the oil content of bone from several of the great whale species: Balaenoptera musculus, Balaenoptera physalus, Balaenoptera borealis, Megaptera novaeangliae, Eschrichtius robustus, Physeter macrocephalus and the striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba. We show that data collected by scientists over 50 years ago during the heyday of industrial whaling explain several interesting phenomena with regard to the decay of whale remains. Variations in the lipid content of bones from different parts of a whale correspond closely with recently observed differences in the taphonomy of deep-sea whale carcasses and observed biases in the frequency of whale bones at archaeological sites.

  5. 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...

  6. Inter-Annual Variability in Blue Whale Distribution off Southern Sri Lanka between 2011 and 2012

    OpenAIRE

    Asha de Vos; Charitha B. Pattiaratchi; Robert G. Harcourt

    2014-01-01

    Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) movements are often driven by the availability of their prey in space and time. While globally blue whale populations undertake long-range migrations between feeding and breeding grounds, those in the northern Indian Ocean remain in low latitude waters throughout the year with the implication that the productivity of these waters is sufficient to support their energy needs. A part of this population remains around Sri Lanka where they are usually recorded cl...

  7. Blue whale sightings in Antarctica west of the Greenwich meridian, Januart 2015

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Geelhoed, S.C.V.; Feij, B.; Franeker, van J.A.; Herr, H.; Janinhoff, N.; McKay, S.J.; Muller, S.; Thomisch, K.; Verdaat, J.P.; Viquerat, S.

    2015-01-01

    During the RV Polarstern PS 89 (ANT-XXX/2) expedition from Cape Town to Atka Bay and back, 20 sightings of 26 individual blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were recorded in Antarctic waters west of the Greenwich Meridian between 16-20 January 2015. These observations suggest a more westerly

  8. 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...

  9. Environmental Influences On Diel Calling Behavior In Baleen Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    first use of real-time detection and reporting of marine mammal calls from autonomous underwater vehicles to adaptively plan research activities. 3...eastern tropical Pacific. Animal Behaviour 69:951–958. Wiggins, S. M., E. M. Oleson, M. A. Mcdonald, and J. A. Hildebrand. 2005. Blue whale...Balaenoptera musculus) diel call patterns offshore of Southern California. Aquatic Mammals 31:161–168. PUBLICATIONS Baumgartner, M.F., D.M

  10. 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

  11. Towards population-level conservation in the critically endangered Antarctic blue whale: the number and distribution of their populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Attard, Catherine R. M.; Beheregaray, Luciano B.; Möller, Luciana M.

    2016-03-01

    Population-level conservation is required to prevent biodiversity loss within a species, but it first necessitates determining the number and distribution of populations. Many whale populations are still depleted due to 20th century whaling. Whales are one of the most logistically difficult and expensive animals to study because of their mobility, pelagic lifestyle and often remote habitat. We tackle the question of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) - a critically endangered subspecies and the largest extant animal - by capitalizing on the largest genetic dataset to date for Antarctic blue whales. We found evidence of three populations that are sympatric in the Antarctic feeding grounds and likely occupy separate breeding grounds. Our study adds to knowledge of population structure in the Antarctic blue whale. Future research should invest in locating the breeding grounds and migratory routes of Antarctic blue whales through satellite telemetry to confirm their population structure and allow population-level conservation.

  12. Application of a novel method for age estimation of a baleen whale and a porpoise

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Nielsen, Nynne H.; Garde, Eva; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter

    2013-01-01

    Eyeballs from 121 fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and 83 harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) were used for age estimation using the aspartic acid racemization (AAR) technique. The racemization rate (kAsp) for fin whales was established from 15 fetuses (age 0) and 15 adult whales where age...... was estimated by reading growth layer groups (GLGs) in the earplugs. The (kAsp) for harbor porpoises was derived from 15 porpoises (two calves and 13 > 1 yr old) age-estimated by counting GLGs in the teeth and two calves classified to age based on length. The (kAsp) values were estimated by regression of GLGs...

  13. Ferro-manganese encrustation on the tympanic bulla of a minke whale from Central Indian Ocean Basin

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Banakar, V.K.

    Ear bone of a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) was collected from 5200 m water depth with thin coating of Fe-Mn oxide on its surface. The Fe-Mn coating material was similar in nature and ratios Mn/Fe and Cu + Ni/Co were closely comparable...

  14. Integration of oceanographic data with fin whale calling presence in the Bering Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dasarathy, S.; Berchok, C.; Stabeno, P. J.; Crance, J.

    2016-02-01

    Through the integration of environmental data with passive acoustic monitoring, it is possible to investigate whether fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) presence is influenced by environmental factors. Fin whale calling activity and concurrent environmental variables were analyzed from May 2012 to September 2013. These data were collected from passive acoustic and oceanographic moorings located in the Bering Sea. Fin whale calling presence was strongly correlated with three of the eight parameters analyzed: ice concentration, chlorophyll (a proxy for primary production), and temperature. Fin whale calling was negatively correlated with ice concentration; as ice concentration increased, fin whale calling decreased. A strong positive correlation was observed between fin whale calling and chlorophyll. A large spike in chlorophyll concentration in July 2013 preceded fin whale calling at the northern location. Fin whale calling also increased concurrently with a mixing of the water column (evidenced in the temperature data) at a depth of 30 to 50m. Peaks in chlorophyll concentration occurred after the mixing of the water column, and followed an increase in fin whale calling. These data illustrate the relationship between fin whale presence and environmental variables in the Bering Sea. These correlations may be used to predict the impact of climate change on fin whale populations in the rapidly changing environment of the Bering Sea.

  15. Habitat preferences of baleen whales in a mid-latitude habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prieto, Rui; Tobeña, Marta; Silva, Mónica A.

    2017-07-01

    Understanding the dynamics of baleen whale distribution is essential to predict how environmental changes can affect their ecology and, in turn, ecosystem functioning. Recent work showed that mid-latitude habitats along migratory routes may play an important role on the feeding ecology of baleen whales. This study aimed to investigate the function of a mid-latitude habitat for blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and sei (Balaenoptera borealis) whales occurring in sympatry during spring and summer months and to what extent their environmental niches overlap. We addressed those questions by developing environmental niche models (ENM) for each species and then making pairwise comparisons of niche overlap and relative habitat patch importance among the three species. ENMs were created using sightings from the Azorean Fisheries Observer Program from May to November, between 2004 and 2009, and a set of 18 predictor environmental variables. We then assessed monthly (April-July) overlap among ENMs using a modified Hellinger's distance metric (I). Results show that the habitat niches of blue and fin whales are strongly influenced by primary productivity and sea surface temperature and are highly dynamic both spatially and temporally due to the oceanography of the region. Niche overlap analyses show that blue and fin whale environmental niches are similar and that the suitable habitats for the two species have high degree of spatial coincidence. These results in combination suggest that this habitat may function as a mid-latitude feeding ground to both species while conditions are adequate. The sei whale model, on the other hand, did not include variables considered to be proxies for prey distribution and little environmental niche overlap was found between this species and the other two. We argue that these results suggest that the region holds little importance as a foraging habitat for the sei whale.

  16. Underwater Ambient Noise in a Baleen Whale Migratory Habitat Off the Azores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miriam Romagosa

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Assessment of underwater noise is of particular interest given the increase in noise-generating human activities and the potential negative effects on marine mammals which depend on sound for many vital processes. The Azores archipelago is an important migratory and feeding habitat for blue (Balaenoptera musculus, fin (Balaenoptera physalus and sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis en route to summering grounds in northern Atlantic waters. High levels of low frequency noise in this area could displace whales or interfere with foraging behavior, impacting energy intake during a critical stage of their annual cycle. In this study, bottom-mounted Ecological Acoustic Recorders were deployed at three Azorean seamounts (Condor, Açores, and Gigante to measure temporal variations in background noise levels and ship noise in the 18–1,000 Hz frequency band, used by baleen whales to emit and receive sounds. Monthly average noise levels ranged from 90.3 dB re 1 μPa (Açores seamount to 103.1 dB re 1 μPa (Condor seamount and local ship noise was present up to 13% of the recording time in Condor. At this location, average contribution of local boat noise to background noise levels is almost 10 dB higher than wind contribution, which might temporally affect detection ranges for baleen whale calls and difficult communication at long ranges. Given the low time percentatge with noise levels above 120 dB re 1 μPa found here (3.3% at Condor, we woud expect limited behavioral responses to ships from baleen whales. Sound pressure levels measured in the Azores are lower than those reported for the Mediterranean basin and the Strait of Gibraltar. However, the currently unknown effects of baleen whale vocalization masking and the increasing presence of boats at the monitored sites underline the need for continuous monitoring to understand any long-term impacts on whales.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Seasonality of blue and fin whale calls and the influence of sea ice in the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Širović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A.; Wiggins, Sean M.; McDonald, Mark A.; Moore, Sue E.; Thiele, Deborah

    2004-08-01

    The calling seasonality of blue ( Balaenoptera musculus) and fin ( B. physalus) whales was assessed using acoustic data recorded on seven autonomous acoustic recording packages (ARPs) deployed from March 2001 to February 2003 in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Automatic detection and acoustic power analysis methods were used for determining presence and absence of whale calls. Blue whale calls were detected year round, on average 177 days per year, with peak calling in March and April, and a secondary peak in October and November. Lowest calling rates occurred between June and September, and in December. Fin whale calling rates were seasonal with calls detected between February and June (on average 51 days/year), and peak calling in May. Sea ice formed a month later and retreated a month earlier in 2001 than in 2002 over all recording sites. During the entire deployment period, detected calls of both species of whales showed negative correlation with sea ice concentrations at all sites, suggesting an absence of blue and fin whales in areas covered with sea ice. A conservative density estimate of calling whales from the acoustic data yields 0.43 calling blue whales per 1000 n mi 2 and 1.30 calling fin whales per 1000 n mi 2, which is about one-third higher than the density of blue whales and approximately equal to the density of fin whales estimated from the visual surveys.

  20. Distribution and abundance of large whales in Norwegian and adjacent waters based on ship surveys 1995-2001

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nils Øien

    2009-09-01

    Full Text Available The abundances of large whale species are presented for the northeast Atlantic from near-complete survey coverage in 1995 and from multiple partial-area surveys during 1996-2001. These Norwegian shipboard surveys were generally conducted with 2 independent observer platforms, except for single-platform surveys during part of 1995. Tracking procedures implemented for minke whales – Balaenoptera acutorostrata (the target species meant that the surveys had to be conducted in passing mode, and there were therefore only limited opportunities for closing on sightings to determine species identity and school size. Abundance estimates for large whale species (fin – Balaenoptera physalus, humpback – Megaptera novaeangliae and sperm whales – Physeter macrocephalus were obtained by combining sightings from both platforms, and applying standard distance sampling techniques to the smeared and truncated perpendicular distances for each species. Abundance estimates for the 2 survey groupings (1995 and 1996-2001 summarised over comparable areas were: fin whales, 5,034 (cv 0.209 and 6,409 (cv 0.18; humpback whales, 1,059 (cv 0.248 and 1,450 (cv 0.29; and sperm whales, 4,319 (cv 0.199 and 6,207 (cv 0.22. The estimated cv’s are likely underestimates and specifically the combined partial-area survey cv’s do not include additional variance due to possible distributional shifts between years. Inclusion of a new survey stratum north of Iceland (block NVS in the later set of surveys revealed a high additional abundance there of fin whales 3,960 (cv 0.538 and humpback whales 3,246 (cv 0.512. The high humpback whale estimate for this stratum confirms the Icelandic survey findings of a large humpback whale population summering in that area.

  1. Descripción osteológica del rorcual común (Balaenoptera physalus, Linnaeus, 1758 del Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Barcelona

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carrillo, M.

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Description of the skeleton of the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, Linnaeus, 1758 at the Natural History Museum of Barcelona We describe the osteology of the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, L., registration code MZB 83-308 at the Natural History Museum of Barcelona. The specimen was stranded and died on a beach in Llançà (Girona, Spain in 1862. The skeleton weighed 1,161.59 kg and measured 14. 6 m, although the live animal would have been longer because the invertebral tissue was not included in the length originally stated. The newly reconstructed skeleton includes the invertebral discs and is 17.5 m long. The skull weighs 484 kg and the condilobasal length is 431 cm ( 24. 84% of the total length, corresponding to the mean length of specimens in the Mediterranean. The vertebral column has 58 vertebra structured following the formula: C7 T14 L14 Cd23. It is 10.29 m long and weighs 470.95 kg. All the cervical vertebra are free and show dorsoventral compression, differing from the thoracic, lumbar and first caudal vertebra that are relatively uniform, and rounded. From Cd14 se onwards, the vertebra vary in shape and the relationship between width and height is greater than 1, indicating lateral compression. The lack of suture lines in the epiphysis of the ulna and radius indicates the specimen is an adult that has reached ossification maturation.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Discovery of a blue whale feeding and nursing ground in southern Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Osman, Layla P; Moreno, Carlos A; Findlay, Ken P; Ljungblad, Don K

    2004-05-07

    After the extensive exploitation that reduced the Southern Hemisphere blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) populations to less than 3% of its original numbers, studies on its recovery have been compounded by the inaccessibility of most populations and the extensive migrations between low and high latitudes, thus ensuring that knowledge about blue whale ecology and status remains limited. We report the recent discovery of, arguably, the most important blue whale feeding and nursing ground known to date in the Southern Hemisphere, which is located near the fjords off southern Chile. Through aerial and marine surveys (n = 7) 47 groups, comprising 153 blue whales including at least 11 mother-calf pairs, were sighted during the austral summer and early autumn of 2003. The implications of this discovery on the biological understanding and conservation of this endangered species are discussed.

  6. Antarctic-type blue whale calls recorded at low latitudes in the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stafford, Kathleen M.; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne R.; Tolstoy, Maya; Chapp, Emily; Mellinger, David K.; Moore, Sue E.

    2004-10-01

    Blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, were once abundant around the Antarctic during the austral summer, but intensive whaling during the first half of the 20th century reduced their numbers by over 99%. Although interannual variability of blue whale occurrence on the Antarctic feeding grounds was documented by whalers, little was known about where the whales spent the winter months. Antarctic blue whales produce calls that are distinct from those produced by blue whales elsewhere in the world. To investigate potential winter migratory destinations of Antarctic blue whales, we examined acoustic data for these signals from two low-latitude locales: the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Antarctic-type blue whale calls were detected on hydrophones in both regions during the austral autumn and winter (May-September), with peak detections in July. Calls occurred over relatively brief periods in both oceans, suggesting that there may be only a few animals migrating so far north and/or producing calls. Antarctic blue whales appear to use both the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans concurrently, indicating that there is not a single migratory destination. Acoustic data from the South Atlantic and from mid-latitudes in the Indian or Pacific Oceans are needed for a more global understanding of migratory patterns and destinations of Antarctic blue whales.

  7. Multiple origins of gigantism in stem baleen whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Kohno, Naoki

    2016-12-01

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

  8. Multiple origins of gigantism in stem baleen whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Kohno, Naoki

    2016-12-01

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

  9. Scale-dependent habitat use by a large free-ranging predator, the Mediterranean fin whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cotté, Cédric; Guinet, Christophe; Taupier-Letage, Isabelle; Mate, Bruce; Petiau, Estelle

    2009-05-01

    Since the heterogeneity of oceanographic conditions drives abundance, distribution, and availability of prey, it is essential to understand how foraging predators interact with their dynamic environment at various spatial and temporal scales. We examined the spatio-temporal relationships between oceanographic features and abundance of fin whales ( Balaenoptera physalus), the largest free-ranging predator in the Western Mediterranean Sea (WM), through two independent approaches. First, spatial modeling was used to estimate whale density, using waiting distance (the distance between detections) for fin whales along ferry routes across the WM, in relation to remotely sensed oceanographic parameters. At a large scale (basin and year), fin whales exhibited fidelity to the northern WM with a summer-aggregated and winter-dispersed pattern. At mesoscale (20-100 km), whales were found in colder, saltier (from an on-board system) and dynamic areas defined by steep altimetric and temperature gradients. Second, using an independent fin whale satellite tracking dataset, we showed that tracked whales were effectively preferentially located in favorable habitats, i.e. in areas of high predicted densities as identified by our previous model using oceanographic data contemporaneous to the tracking period. We suggest that the large-scale fidelity corresponds to temporally and spatially predictable habitat of whale favorite prey, the northern krill ( Meganyctiphanes norvegica), while mesoscale relationships are likely to identify areas of high prey concentration and availability.

  10. 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.

  11. Blue and fin whale call source levels and propagation range in the Southern Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A; Wiggins, Sean M

    2007-08-01

    Blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) produce high-intensity, low-frequency calls, which probably function for communication during mating and feeding. The source levels of blue and fin whale calls off the Western Antarctic Peninsula were calculated using recordings made with calibrated, bottom-moored hydrophones. Blue whales were located up to a range of 200 km using hyperbolic localization and time difference of arrival. The distance to fin whales, estimated using multipath arrivals of their calls, was up to 56 km. The error in range measurements was 3.8 km using hyperbolic localization, and 3.4 km using multipath arrivals. Both species produced high-intensity calls; the average blue whale call source level was 189+/-3 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 25-29 Hz, and the average fin whale call source level was 189+/-4 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 15-28 Hz. Blue and fin whale populations in the Southern Ocean have remained at low numbers for decades since they became protected; using source level and detection range from passive acoustic recordings can help in calculating the relative density of calling whales.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Taxonomy Icon Data: blue whale [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available 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/taxonomy..._icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Balaenoptera+musculus&t=NS ...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Looking for North Atlantic Baleen Whales: When are they coming to the Azores?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura González

    2014-06-01

    baleen whales: fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus with 221 sightings, sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis with 143 and blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus with 83. Those three species were sighted regularly each season every year of the study. Following them, with a much smaller number of sightings, were minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata with 16, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae with 15 and Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni with 13. Minke, humpback and Bryde’s whales were seen more rarely, being occasionally observed around the islands. The preferred time of the year for all species except Bryde’s, were spring months between March and June (81.7% of the sightings. Blue whales were more frequent in 2010 and 2012, having the highest sighting rates in May (32 sightings, April (24 sightings and March (20 sightings, making up 91.6% of total blue whale records. Having into account March 2014 photos, we identified 75 different blue whales, and from those, only two were re-sighted in different years. One was firstly sighted on April 2010 with a calf and re-sighted alone on March 2014; and the other was firstly sighted on March 2012 and re-sighted on April 2014. 2013 was a good unusual year for fin whales, with a total number of 90 sightings seen mostly in may. Along the study period, we identified 45 fin whales, and at the moment, we didn’t get any match in different years or locations. Humpback whales were not sighted during 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013, but we must bear in mind that our data from those years are incomplete (except for 2013. Nevertheless, they seem to have a slight preference for April-May as well. We photo-identified 12 individuals. One whale was re-sighted after only seven days, but there were no other re-sightings between seasons or years yet. For sei whales the best year was 2010, with 47 records. Most of records for both species were made in April and May, 66% of the fin whales and 54% of sei whales. Minke whales were sighted all years but

  19. Low genetic diversity in pygmy blue whales is due to climate-induced diversification rather than anthropogenic impacts.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-05-01

    Unusually low genetic diversity can be a warning of an urgent need to mitigate causative anthropogenic activities. However, current low levels of genetic diversity in a population could also be due to natural historical events, including recent evolutionary divergence, or long-term persistence at a small population size. Here, we determine whether the relatively low genetic diversity of pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) in Australia is due to natural causes or overexploitation. We apply recently developed analytical approaches in the largest genetic dataset ever compiled to study blue whales (297 samples collected after whaling and representing lineages from Australia, Antarctica and Chile). We find that low levels of genetic diversity in Australia are due to a natural founder event from Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) that occurred around the Last Glacial Maximum, followed by evolutionary divergence. Historical climate change has therefore driven the evolution of blue whales into genetically, phenotypically and behaviourally distinct lineages that will likely be influenced by future climate change. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  20. POPs in free-ranging pilot whales, sperm whales and fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea: Influence of biological and ecological factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pinzone, Marianna; Budzinski, Hélène; Tasciotti, Aurélie; Ody, Denis; Lepoint, Gilles; Schnitzler, Joseph; Scholl, George; Thomé, Jean-Pierre; Tapie, Nathalie; Eppe, Gauthier; Das, Krishna

    2015-10-01

    The pilot whale Globicephala melas, the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, and the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus are large cetaceans permanently inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea. These species are subjected to numerous anthropogenic threats such as exposure to high levels of contaminants. Therefore, selected persistent organic pollutants POPs (29 PCBs, 15 organochlorine compounds, 9 PBDEs and 17 PCDD/Fs) were analysed in blubber biopsies of 49 long-finned pilot whales, 61 sperm whales and 70 fin whales sampled in the North Western Mediterranean Sea (NWMS) from 2006 to 2013. Contamination profile and species feeding ecology were then combined through the use of stable isotopes. δ(13)C, δ(15)N values and POPs levels were assessed through IR-MS and GC-MS respectively. To assess the toxic potency of the dioxin-like compounds, the TEQ approach was applied. δ(15)N values were 12.2±1.3‰ for sperm whales, 10.5±0.7‰ for pilot whales and 7.7±0.8‰ in fin whales, positioning sperm whales at higher trophic levels. δ(13)C of the two odontocetes was similar and amounted to -17.3±0.4‰ for sperm whales and -17.8±0.3‰ for pilot whales; whilst fin whales were more depleted (-18.7±0.4‰). This indicates a partial overlap in toothed-whales feeding habitats, while confirms the differences in feeding behaviour of the mysticete. Pilot whales presented higher concentrations than sperm whales for ΣPCBs (38,666±25,731 ng g(-1)lw and 22,849±15,566 ng g(-1) lw respectively), ΣPBDEs (712±412 ng g(-1) lw and 347±173 ng g(-1) lw respectively) and ΣDDTs (46,081±37,506 ng g(-1) lw and 37,647±38,518 ng g(-1) lw respectively). Fin whales presented the lowest values, in accordance with its trophic position (ΣPCBs: 5721±5180 ng g(-1) lw, ΣPBDEs: 177±208 ng g(-1) lw and ΣDDTs: 6643±5549 ng g(-1) lw). Each species was characterized by large inter-individual variations that are more related to sex than trophic level, with males presenting higher contaminant burden

  1. Dolphin Morbillivirus in a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris), Italy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Centelleghe, Cinzia; Beffagna, Giorgia; Palmisano, Giuseppe; Franzo, Giovanni; Casalone, Cristina; Pautasso, Alessandra; Giorda, Federica; Di Nocera, Fabio; Iaccarino, Doriana; Santoro, Mario; Di Guardo, Giovanni; Mazzariol, Sandro

    2017-01-01

    Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) has caused several mortality events in Mediterranean striped (Stenella coeruleoalba) and bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins populations since 19; in the last 5 years, the virus was reported to infect new hosts in this basin, such as fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and even a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). Very recently, a calf Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) calf stranded on the Southern Italian coastline with mild pathological findings suggestive of morbilliviral infection, received the first confirmation of DMV infection in this species by biomolecular evidences on lung tissue. This new cross-species infection report, along with 19% of the cetaceans specimens examined by the Italian Stranding Network being found positive to DMV, support the hypothesis of an endemic circulation of this virus among Mediterranean cetaceans. PMID:28197145

  2. Temporal Segregation of the Australian and Antarctic Blue Whale Call Types (Balaenoptera musculus spp.)

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Joy S. Tripovich; Holger Klinck; Sharon L. Nieukirk; Tempe Adams; David K. Mellinger; Naysa E. Balcazar; Karolin Klinck; Evelyn J. S. Hall; Tracey L. Rogers

    2015-01-01

    We examined recordings from a 15-month (May 2009–July 2010) continuous acoustic data set collected from a bottom-mounted passive acoustic recorder at a sample frequency of 6 kHz off Portland, Victoria, Australia (38°33′01″S, 141°15′13″E...

  3. Whale Identification

    Science.gov (United States)

    1991-01-01

    R:BASE for DOS, a computer program developed under NASA contract, has been adapted by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and the College of the Atlantic to provide and advanced computerized photo matching technique for identification of humpback whales. The program compares photos with stored digitized descriptions, enabling researchers to track and determine distribution and migration patterns. R:BASE is a spinoff of RIM (Relational Information Manager), which was used to store data for analyzing heat shielding tiles on the Space Shuttle Orbiter. It is now the world's second largest selling line of microcomputer database management software.

  4. Mechanics, hydrodynamics and energetics of blue whale lunge feeding: efficiency dependence on krill density.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldbogen, J A; Calambokidis, J; Oleson, E; Potvin, J; Pyenson, N D; Schorr, G; Shadwick, R E

    2011-01-01

    Lunge feeding by rorqual whales (Balaenopteridae) is associated with a high energetic cost that decreases diving capacity, thereby limiting access to dense prey patches at depth. Despite this cost, rorquals exhibit high rates of lipid deposition and extremely large maximum body size. To address this paradox, we integrated kinematic data from digital tags with unsteady hydrodynamic models to estimate the energy budget for lunges and foraging dives of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), the largest rorqual and living mammal. Our analysis suggests that, despite the large amount of mechanical work required to lunge feed, a large amount of prey and, therefore, energy is obtained during engulfment. Furthermore, we suggest that foraging efficiency for blue whales is significantly higher than for other marine mammals by nearly an order of magnitude, but only if lunges target extremely high densities of krill. The high predicted efficiency is attributed to the enhanced engulfment capacity, rapid filter rate and low mass-specific metabolic rate associated with large body size in blue whales. These results highlight the importance of high prey density, regardless of prey patch depth, for efficient bulk filter feeding in baleen whales and may explain some diel changes in foraging behavior in rorqual whales.

  5. On the anatomy of the temporomandibular joint and the muscles that act upon it: observations on the gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    El Adli, Joseph J; Deméré, Thomas A

    2015-04-01

    The temporomandibular joint and its associated musculature are described in a neonate gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) and serve as the basis for direct anatomical comparisons with the temporomandibular region in other clades of baleen whales (Mysticeti). Members of the right whale/bowhead whale clade (Balaenidae) are known to possess a synovial lower jaw joint, while members of the rorqual clade (Balaenopteridae) have a nonsynovial temporomandibular joint characterized by a highly flexible fibrocartilaginous pad and no joint capsule. In contrast, the gray whale possesses a modified temporomandibular joint (intermediate condition), with a vestigial joint cavity lacking a fibrous capsule, synovial membrane, and articular disk. In addition, the presence of a rudimentary fibrocartilaginous pad appears to be homologous to that seen in balaenopterid mysticetes. The intrinsic temporomandibular musculature in the gray whale was found to include a multibellied superficial masseter and a single-bellied deep masseter. The digastric and internal pterygoid muscles in E. robustus are enlarged relative to the condition documented in species of Balaenoptera. A relatively complex insertion of the temporalis muscle on the dentary is documented in the gray whale and the low, knob-like process on the gray whale dentary is determined to be homologous with the prominent coronoid process of rorquals. Comparison with the anatomy of the temporomandibular musculature in rorquals reveals an increased importance of alpha rotation of the dentary in the gray whale. This difference in muscular morphology and lines of muscle action is interpreted as representing adaptations for suction feeding. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Whale Teaching Unit.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peninsula Humane Society, San Mateo, CA.

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

  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. 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 (<70 m) and were more likely to be performed anti-clockwise (left lateralized). More acrobatic rolls are typically used to target small, less dense krill patches near the water's surface [5,6], and we posit that the specialization of lateralized feeding strategies may enhance foraging efficiency in environments with heterogeneous prey distributions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Blue whale earplug reveals lifetime contaminant exposure and hormone profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trumble, Stephen J.; Robinson, Eleanor M.; Berman-Kowalewski, Michelle; Potter, Charles W.; Usenko, Sascha

    2013-01-01

    Lifetime contaminant and hormonal profiles have been reconstructed for an individual male blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus, Linnaeus 1758) using the earplug as a natural aging matrix that is also capable of archiving and preserving lipophilic compounds. These unprecedented lifetime profiles (i.e., birth to death) were reconstructed with a 6-mo resolution for a wide range of analytes including cortisol (stress hormone), testosterone (developmental hormone), organic contaminants (e.g., pesticides and flame retardants), and mercury. Cortisol lifetime profiles revealed a doubling of cortisol levels over baseline. Testosterone profiles suggest this male blue whale reached sexual maturity at approximately 10 y of age, which corresponds well with and improves on previous estimates. Early periods of the reconstructed contaminant profiles for pesticides (such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes and chlordanes), polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers demonstrate significant maternal transfer occurred at 0–12 mo. The total lifetime organic contaminant burden measured between the earplug (sum of contaminants in laminae layers) and blubber samples from the same organism were similar. Total mercury profiles revealed reduced maternal transfer and two distinct pulse events compared with organic contaminants. The use of a whale earplug to reconstruct lifetime chemical profiles will allow for a more comprehensive examination of stress, development, and contaminant exposure, as well as improve the assessment of contaminant use/emission, environmental noise, ship traffic, and climate change on these important marine sentinels. PMID:24043814

  13. Synchronous seasonal change in fin whale song in the North Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oleson, Erin M; Širović, Ana; Bayless, Alexandra R; Hildebrand, John A

    2014-01-01

    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here.

  14. Synchronous seasonal change in fin whale song in the North Pacific.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erin M Oleson

    Full Text Available Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae, these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here.

  15. Effects of fishing rope strength on the severity of large whale entanglements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knowlton, Amy R; Robbins, Jooke; Landry, Scott; McKenna, Henry A; Kraus, Scott D; Werner, Timothy B

    2016-04-01

    Entanglement in fixed fishing gear affects whales worldwide. In the United States, deaths of North Atlantic right (Eubalaena glacialis) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have exceeded management limits for decades. We examined live and dead whales entangled in fishing gear along the U.S. East Coast and the Canadian Maritimes from 1994 to 2010. We recorded whale species, age, and injury severity and determined rope polymer type, breaking strength, and diameter of the fishing gear. For the 132 retrieved ropes from 70 cases, tested breaking strength range was 0.80-39.63 kN (kiloNewtons) and the mean was 11.64 kN (SD 8.29), which is 26% lower than strength at manufacture (range 2.89-53.38 kN, mean = 15.70 kN [9.89]). Median rope diameter was 9.5 mm. Right and humpback whales were found in ropes with significantly stronger breaking strengths at time of manufacture than minke whales (Balaenoptera acuturostrata) (19.30, 17.13, and 10.47 mean kN, respectively). Adult right whales were found in stronger ropes (mean 34.09 kN) than juvenile right whales (mean 15.33 kN) and than all humpback whale age classes (mean 17.37 kN). For right whales, severity of injuries increased since the mid 1980s, possibly due to changes in rope manufacturing in the mid 1990s that resulted in production of stronger ropes at the same diameter. Our results suggest that broad adoption of ropes with breaking strengths of ≤ 7.56 kN (≤ 1700 lbsf) could reduce the number of life-threatening entanglements for large whales by at least 72%, and yet could provide sufficient strength to withstand the routine forces involved in many fishing operations. A reduction of this magnitude would achieve nearly all the mitigation legally required for U.S. stocks of North Atlantic right and humpback whales. Ropes with reduced breaking strength should be developed and tested to determine the feasibility of their use in a variety of fisheries. © 2015 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley

  16. Report on 14 Large Whales That Died due to Ship Strikes off the Coast of Sri Lanka, 2010–2014

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ranil P. Nanayakkara

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The greatest threat to cetaceans in Sri Lankan waters was considered to be the direct take of small- and medium-sized cetaceans using harpoons and/or as bycatch until recently. However, ship strikes have probably been occurring for years but have not been recognized for what they were. For the current study, only animals with visible and prominent injuries related to collisions were evaluated. Data gathered between 2010 and 2014 included the species, morphometry, location, and date; tissue samples were collected for genetic analysis. When possible, a complete necropsy was conducted; otherwise, partial necropsies were conducted. The study confirmed 14 reports of ship strikes between whales and vessels out of all the strandings reported from 2010 to 2014. Most strikes (n=09, 64% involved blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus, although three other species were also documented, one Cuvier’s beaked whale, two great sperm whales, and one Bryde’s whale, as well as one unidentified baleen whale. Collision hotspots such as the southern waters of Sri Lanka are areas that warrant special attention in the form of vessel routing measures or speed limits, research on cetacean ecology, distribution, daily and seasonal movements, public service announcements, increased law enforcement presence, and other measures.

  17. Calls reveal population structure of blue whales across the southeast Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific Ocean.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balcazar, Naysa E; Tripovich, Joy S; Klinck, Holger; Nieukirk, Sharon L; Mellinger, David K; Dziak, Robert P; Rogers, Tracey L

    2015-11-24

    For effective species management, understanding population structure and distribution is critical. However, quantifying population structure is not always straightforward. Within the Southern Hemisphere, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) complex is extremely diverse but difficult to study. Using automated detector methods, we identified "acoustic populations" of whales producing region-specific call types. We examined blue whale call types in passive acoustic data at sites spanning over 7,370 km across the southeast Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific Ocean (SWPO) from 2009 to 2012. In the absence of genetic resolution, these acoustic populations offer unique information about the blue whale population complex. We found that the Australian continent acts as a geographic boundary, separating Australia and New Zealand blue whale acoustic populations at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins. We located blue whales in previously undocumented locations, including the far SWPO, in the Tasman Sea off the east coast of Australia, and along the Lau Basin near Tonga. Our understanding of population dynamics across this broad scale has significant implications to recovery and conservation management for this endangered species, at a regional and global scale.

  18. Calling behavior of blue and fin whales off California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oleson, Erin Marie

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an effective means for evaluating cetacean presence in remote regions and over long time periods, and may become an important component of cetacean abundance surveys. To use passive acoustic recordings for abundance estimation, an understanding of the behavioral ecology of cetacean calling is crucial. In this dissertation, I develop a better understanding of how blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (B. physalus ) whales use sound with the goal of evaluating passive acoustic techniques for studying their populations. Both blue and fin whales produce several different call types, though the behavioral and environmental context of these calls have not been widely investigated. To better understand how calling is used by these whales off California I have employed both new technologies and traditional techniques, including acoustic recording tags, continuous long-term autonomous acoustic recordings, and simultaneous shipboard acoustic and visual surveys. The outcome of these investigations has led to several conclusions. The production of blue whale calls varies with sex, behavior, season, location, and time of day. Each blue whale call type has a distinct behavioral context, including a male-only bias in the production of song, a call type thought to function in reproduction, and the production of some calls by both sexes. Long-term acoustic records, when interpreted using all call types, provide a more accurate measure of the local seasonal presence of whales, and how they use the region annually, seasonally and daily. The relative occurrence of different call types may indicate prime foraging habitat and the presence of different segments of the population. The proportion of animals heard calling changes seasonally and geographically relative to the number seen, indicating the calibration of acoustic and visual surveys is complex and requires further study on the motivations behind call production and the behavior of calling whales

  19. Blue whale population structure along the eastern South Pacific Ocean: evidence of more than one population.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Florez, J P; Hucke-Gaete, R; LeDuc, R; Lang, A; Taylor, B; Pimper, L E; Bedriñana-Romano, L; Rosenbaum, H C; Figueroa, C C

    2014-12-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were among the most intensively exploited species of whales in the world. As a consequence of this intense exploitation, blue whale sightings off the coast of Chile were uncommon by the end of the 20th century. In 2004, a feeding and nursing ground was reported in southern Chile (SCh). With the aim to investigate the genetic identity and relationship of these Chilean blue whales to those in other Southern Hemisphere areas, 60 biopsy samples were collected from blue whales in SCh between 2003 and 2009. These samples were genotyped at seven microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial control region was sequenced, allowing us to identify 52 individuals. To investigate the genetic identity of this suspected remnant population, we compared these 52 individuals to blue whales from Antarctica (ANT, n = 96), Northern Chile (NCh, n = 19) and the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP, n = 31). No significant differentiation in haplotype frequencies (mtDNA) or among genotypes (nDNA) was found between SCh, NCh and ETP, while significant differences were found between those three areas and Antarctica for both the mitochondrial and microsatellite analyses. Our results suggest at least two breeding population units or subspecies exist, which is also supported by other lines of evidence such as morphometrics and acoustics. The lack of differences detected between SCh/NCh/ETP areas supports the hypothesis that eastern South Pacific blue whales are using the ETP area as a possible breeding area. Considering the small population sizes previously reported for the SCh area, additional conservation measures and monitoring of this population should be developed and prioritized. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  20. Isotopic niches of fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea and the Celtic Sea (North Atlantic).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Das, Krishna; Holleville, Ophélie; Ryan, Conor; Berrow, Simon; Gilles, Anita; Ody, Denis; Michel, Loïc N

    2017-06-01

    The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is the most abundant and widespread mysticete species in the Mediterranean Sea, found mostly in deep, offshore waters of the western and central portion of the region. In the Mediterranean, this species is known to feed mainly on krill, in contrast to its Atlantic counterpart, which displays a more diversified diet. The International Whaling Commission recognizes several managements units in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea and the connectivity between these populations is still being debated. Questions remain about inter-individual feeding strategies and trophic ecology. The goal of this study was to compare isotopic niches of fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea and the Celtic Sea (North Atlantic). δ(13)C and δ(15)N values were analysed in 136 skin biopsies from free-ranging Mediterranean fin whales sampled in 2010 and 2011 during campaigns at sea. δ(13)C and δ(15)N values ranged from -20.4 to -17.1‰ and from 5.9 to 8.9‰, respectively. These values are in good agreement with those estimated previously from baleen plates from Mediterranean and North Atlantic fin whales. The narrow isotopic niche width of the Mediterranean fin whale (Standard Ellipses area SEAc) compared to the North Atlantic fin whale raises many concerns in the context of global changes and long-term consequences. One could indeed expect that species displaying narrow niches would be more susceptible to ecosystem fragmentation and other anthropogenic impacts. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Growth, fecundity and sex ratio of adult whaleworm (Anisakis simplex; Nematoda, Ascaridoidea, Anisakidae) in three whale species from the North-East Atlantic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ugland, Karl Inne; Strømnes, Einar; Berland, Bjørn; Aspholm, Paul Eric

    2004-04-01

    The growth rate, fecundity, and sex ratio of Anisakis simplex in minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) was studied on the basis of material from the North Atlantic. A total of 8,135 mature A. simplex were collected from 24 minke whales, 11 porpoises and eight pilot whales. For both males and females, the prevalence was 100% for all three host species, with a mean intensity of 1,727, 262 and 139, respectively. The mean body length of adult female A. simplex was 126 mm in minke whales, 71 mm in the porpoises and 73 mm in pilot whales; and for males the averages were, respectively, 106 mm, 57 mm and 68 mm. Eggs from the uteri of 32 females of length 87-176 mm collected in minke whale stomachs were counted in a Fuchs-Rosenthal chamber. Total egg production was measured in 14 females cultivated at sea. The female growth period was estimated to be 30-60 days, and apparently all eggs were shed during the last week of life. A female of size 150 mm produces approximately 1.5 million eggs. In the cultivation experiment, about 85% of the total egg production was shed during the first 3 days after spawning started.

  2. Plastic Debris Occurrence, Convergence Areas and Fin Whales Feeding Ground in the Mediterranean Marine Protected Area Pelagos Sanctuary: A Modeling Approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria Cristina Fossi

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The Mediterranean Sea is greatly affected by marine litter. In this area, research on the impact of plastic debris (including microplastics on biota, particularly large filter-feeding species such as the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, is still in its infancy. We investigated the possible overlap between microplastic, mesoplastic and macrolitter accumulation areas and the fin whale feeding grounds in in a pelagic Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI: the Pelagos Sanctuary. Models of ocean circulation and fin whale potential habitat were merged to compare marine litter accumulation with the presence of whales. Additionally, field data on microplastics, mesoplastics, and macrolitter abundance and cetacean presence were simultaneously collected. The resulting data were compared, as a multi-layer, with the simulated distribution of plastic concentration and the whale habitat model. These data showed a high occurrence of microplastics (mean: 0.082 items/m2, STD ± 0.079 items/m2 spatial distribution agreed with our modeling results. Areas with high microplastic density significantly overlapped with areas of high macroplastic density. The most abundant polymer detected in all the sampling sites was polyethylene (PE, suggesting fragmentation of larger packaging items as the primary source. To our knowledge, this is the first study in the Pelagos Sanctuary in which the simulated microplastic distribution has been confirmed by field observations. The overlap between the fin whale feeding habitat and the microplastic hot spots is an important contribution for risk assessment of fin whale exposure to microplastics.

  3. War of the Whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Blok, Anders

    2011-01-01

    to map out a ‘‘cosmogram’’ of Japanese pro-whaling enactments of abundant and ‘‘killable’’ whales. Following the political ecology of Bruno Latour, the global-scale situation is conceptualized as one of cosmopolitics, the politics of forging a common world across divergences in nature-cultures....

  4. Temporal separation of two fin whale call types across the eastern North Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirović, Ana; Williams, Lauren N; Kerosky, Sara M; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-01-01

    Fin whales ( Balaenoptera physalus ) produce a variety of low-frequency, short-duration, frequency-modulated calls. The differences in temporal patterns between two fin whale call types are described from long-term passive acoustic data collected intermittently between 2005 and 2011 at three locations across the eastern North Pacific: the Bering Sea, off Southern California, and in Canal de Ballenas in the northern Gulf of California. Fin whale calls were detected at all sites year-round, during all periods with recordings. At all three locations, 40-Hz calls peaked in June, preceding a peak in 20-Hz calls by 3-5 months. Monitoring both call types may provide a more accurate insight into the seasonal presence of fin whales across the eastern North Pacific than can be obtained from a single call type. The 40-Hz call may be associated with a foraging function, and temporal separation between 40- and 20-Hz calls may indicate the separation between predominately feeding behavior and other social interactions.

  5. Inter-Annual Variability in Blue Whale Distribution off Southern Sri Lanka between 2011 and 2012

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Asha de Vos

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus movements are often driven by the availability of their prey in space and time. While globally blue whale populations undertake long-range migrations between feeding and breeding grounds, those in the northern Indian Ocean remain in low latitude waters throughout the year with the implication that the productivity of these waters is sufficient to support their energy needs. A part of this population remains around Sri Lanka where they are usually recorded close to the southern coast during the Northeast Monsoon. To investigate inter-annual variability in sighting locations, we conducted systematic Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD and visual surveys between January–March 2011 and January–March 2012. In 2011, there was a notable decrease in inshore sightings compared to 2009 and 2012 (p < 0.001. CTD data revealed that in 2011 there was increased freshwater in the upper water column accompanied by deeper upwelling than in 2012. We hypothesise that anomalous rainfall, along with higher turbidity resulting from river discharge, affected the productivity of the inshore waters and caused a shift in blue whale prey and, consequently, the distribution of the whales themselves. An understanding of how predators and their prey respond to environmental variability is important for predicting how these species will respond to long-term changes. This is especially important given the rapid temperature increases predicted for the semi-enclosed northern Indian Ocean.

  6. Temporal and biogeographic comparisons of PCBs and persistent organochlorine pollutants in the blubber of fin whales from eastern Canada in 1971-1991.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hobbs, K E; Muir, D C; Mitchell, E

    2001-01-01

    Concentrations of PCB congeners and organochlorine (OC) pesticides were studied in archived fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) blubber samples collected in 1971-1972 from Newfoundland (Nfld) and Nova Scotia (NS) with the objective of obtaining a historical perspective on contaminant levels and proportions at a time when many persistent OCs were still in use. Concentrations of sigmaPCBs and sigmaDDTs in the blubber of 17 fin whales from historical whaling stations in 1971-1972 were generally in agreement with previously reported values for fin whales from Atlantic Canada. Although some differences in sex and body length (age) distribution of samples occurred, significant differences were detected in the concentrations and patterns of PCBs, DDTs and chlordanes in whales from Nfld and NS, supporting ecological evidence that whales from these regions represent relatively separate stocks. Temporal and geographical variations were examined by comparing data to those reported for fin whales from the St Lawrence Estuary (StL) in 1991 by Gauthier et al. (1997a). Significantly higher levels of sigmaDDT, sigmaCHL and HCB were found in the NS (1971-1972) stock compared with the StL (1991) animals, and in HCB between the Nfld stock (1971-1972) and the StL (1991) animals, as well as higher p,p'-DDE/sigmaDDT and lower p,p'-DDT/sigmaDDT ratios in the 1991 whales suggesting that temporal trends in these whales between the 1970s and 1990s were consistent with those in other marine mammals in Atlantic Canada. Evidence also suggests that geographical variations in patterns may occur for individuals from two relatively distinct stocks of fin whales in Atlantic Canada (NS, Nfld) and perhaps for one population (StL) related to, but recognisably different from the NS stock.

  7. Marine mammals of Easter Island (Rapa Nui and Salas y Gómez Island (Motu Motiro Hiva, Chile: a review and new records

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available The Chilean oceanic islands Easter Island (Rapa Nui and Salas y Gómez Island (Motu Motiro Hiva have received little attention with regards to basic marine mammal investigations. Here we review and update available information on the status of marine mammals in this area from different sources, including published accounts, local interviews and two recent expeditions. We also provide detailed accounts for each confirmed family or species, including historical data from published archaeological studies and whalers' logbooks from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Results indicate that a total of five marine mammal families (Balaenopteridae, Physeteridae, Ziphiidae, Delphinidae and Phocidae have been confirmed within the study area, representing two mammalian orders (Cetartiodactyla and Carnivora. Within these, twelve species are known to occur: blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus, unidentified minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis or B. acutorostrata, humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae, sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus, Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris, Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris, false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens, unidentified pilot whale (Globicephala sp., bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, common dolphin (Delphinus sp., southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina and leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx. We discuss the implications of some of most noteworthy records and make a plea for further studies to improve our knowledge of these top predators in one of the most isolated places in the world.

  8. The development of an intermediate-duration tag to characterize the diving behavior of large whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mate, Bruce R; Irvine, Ladd M; Palacios, Daniel M

    2017-01-01

    The development of high-resolution archival tag technologies has revolutionized our understanding of diving behavior in marine taxa such as sharks, turtles, and seals during their wide-ranging movements. However, similar applications for large whales have lagged behind due to the difficulty of keeping tags on the animals for extended periods of time. Here, we present a novel configuration of a transdermally attached biologging device called the Advanced Dive Behavior (ADB) tag. The ADB tag contains sensors that record hydrostatic pressure, three-axis accelerometers, magnetometers, water temperature, and light level, all sampled at 1 Hz. The ADB tag also collects Fastloc GPS locations and can send dive summary data through Service Argos, while staying attached to a whale for typical periods of 3-7 weeks before releasing for recovery and subsequent data download. ADB tags were deployed on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus; N = 46), blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus; N = 8), and fin whales (B. physalus; N = 5) from 2007 to 2015, resulting in attachment durations from 0 to 49.6 days, and recording 31 to 2,539 GPS locations and 27 to 2,918 dives per deployment. Archived dive profiles matched well with published dive shapes of each species from short-term records. For blue and fin whales, feeding lunges were detected using peaks in accelerometer data and matched corresponding vertical excursions in the depth record. In sperm whales, rapid orientation changes in the accelerometer data, often during the bottom phase of dives, were likely related to prey pursuit, representing a relative measure of foraging effort. Sperm whales were documented repeatedly diving to, and likely foraging along, the seafloor. Data from the temperature sensor described the vertical structure of the water column in all three species, extending from the surface to depths >1,600 m. In addition to providing information needed to construct multiweek time budgets, the ADB tag is well

  9. High genetic diversity in a small population: the case of Chilean blue whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Torres-Florez, Juan P; Hucke-Gaete, Rodrigo; Rosenbaum, Howard; Figueroa, Christian C

    2014-04-01

    It is generally assumed that species with low population sizes have lower genetic diversities than larger populations and vice versa. However, this would not be the case for long-lived species with long generation times, and which populations have declined due to anthropogenic effects, such as the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). This species was intensively decimated globally to near extinction during the 20th century. Along the Chilean coast, it is estimated that at least 4288 blue whales were hunted from an apparently pre-exploitation population size (k) of a maximum of 6200 individuals (Southeastern Pacific). Thus, here, we describe the mtDNA (control region) and nDNA (microsatellites) diversities of the Chilean blue whale aggregation site in order to verify the expectation of low genetic diversity in small populations. We then compare our findings with other blue whale aggregations in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly, although the estimated population size is small compared with the pre-whaling era, there is still considerable genetic diversity, even after the population crash, both in mitochondrial (N = 46) and nuclear (N = 52) markers (Hd = 0.890 and Ho = 0.692, respectively). Our results suggest that this diversity could be a consequence of the long generation times and the relatively short period of time elapsed since the end of whaling, which has been observed in other heavily-exploited whale populations. The genetic variability of blue whales on their southern Chile feeding grounds was similar to that found in other Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. Our phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA haplotypes does not show extensive differentiation of populations among Southern Hemisphere blue whale feeding grounds. The present study suggests that although levels of genetic diversity are frequently used as estimators of population health, these parameters depend on the biology of the species and should be taken into account in a

  10. Fin whale sound reception mechanisms: skull vibration enables low-frequency hearing.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ted W Cranford

    Full Text Available Hearing mechanisms in baleen whales (Mysticeti are essentially unknown but their vocalization frequencies overlap with anthropogenic sound sources. Synthetic audiograms were generated for a fin whale by applying finite element modeling tools to X-ray computed tomography (CT scans. We CT scanned the head of a small fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus in a scanner designed for solid-fuel rocket motors. Our computer (finite element modeling toolkit allowed us to visualize what occurs when sounds interact with the anatomic geometry of the whale's head. Simulations reveal two mechanisms that excite both bony ear complexes, (1 the skull-vibration enabled bone conduction mechanism and (2 a pressure mechanism transmitted through soft tissues. Bone conduction is the predominant mechanism. The mass density of the bony ear complexes and their firmly embedded attachments to the skull are universal across the Mysticeti, suggesting that sound reception mechanisms are similar in all baleen whales. Interactions between incident sound waves and the skull cause deformations that induce motion in each bony ear complex, resulting in best hearing sensitivity for low-frequency sounds. This predominant low-frequency sensitivity has significant implications for assessing mysticete exposure levels to anthropogenic sounds. The din of man-made ocean noise has increased steadily over the past half century. Our results provide valuable data for U.S. regulatory agencies and concerned large-scale industrial users of the ocean environment. This study transforms our understanding of baleen whale hearing and provides a means to predict auditory sensitivity across a broad spectrum of sound frequencies.

  11. Estimates of Abundance and Trend of Chilean Blue Whales off Isla de Chiloé, Chile.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Barbara Galletti Vernazzani

    Full Text Available Since 1970, blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus have been seen feeding in the waters off southern Chile during the summer and autumn (December to May. Investigation of the genetic, acoustic and morphological characteristics of these blue whales shows that they are a distinct but unnamed subspecies, called the Chilean blue whales. Photo-identification surveys have been conducted in the waters off northwestern Isla Grande de Chiloé, southern Chile from 2004-2012 and Isla Chañaral, central Chile in 2012. Over this time, 1,070 blue whales were encountered yielding, after photo-quality control, 318 and 267 unique photographs of the left and right side of the flank respectively. Using mark-recapture analysis of left and right side photographs collected from Isla Grande de Chiloé (2004-2012, open population models estimate that ~570-760 whales are feeding seasonally in this region. POPAN superpopulation abundance estimates for the same feeding ground in 2012 are 762 (95% confidence intervals, CI = 638-933 and 570 (95% CI 475-705 for left and right side datasets respectively, very similar to results from closed population models. Estimates of trend revealed strong variation in abundance, peaking in 2009 and [suggesting] fluctuating use in the survey area over time, likely related to the density of their prey. High inter-annual return rates suggest a degree of site-fidelity of individuals to Isla Grande de Chiloé and that the number of whales using this feeding ground is relatively small.

  12. Estimates of Abundance and Trend of Chilean Blue Whales off Isla de Chiloé, Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galletti Vernazzani, Barbara; Jackson, Jennifer A; Cabrera, Elsa; Carlson, Carole A; Brownell, Robert L

    2017-01-01

    Since 1970, blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have been seen feeding in the waters off southern Chile during the summer and autumn (December to May). Investigation of the genetic, acoustic and morphological characteristics of these blue whales shows that they are a distinct but unnamed subspecies, called the Chilean blue whales. Photo-identification surveys have been conducted in the waters off northwestern Isla Grande de Chiloé, southern Chile from 2004-2012 and Isla Chañaral, central Chile in 2012. Over this time, 1,070 blue whales were encountered yielding, after photo-quality control, 318 and 267 unique photographs of the left and right side of the flank respectively. Using mark-recapture analysis of left and right side photographs collected from Isla Grande de Chiloé (2004-2012), open population models estimate that ~570-760 whales are feeding seasonally in this region. POPAN superpopulation abundance estimates for the same feeding ground in 2012 are 762 (95% confidence intervals, CI = 638-933) and 570 (95% CI 475-705) for left and right side datasets respectively, very similar to results from closed population models. Estimates of trend revealed strong variation in abundance, peaking in 2009 and [suggesting] fluctuating use in the survey area over time, likely related to the density of their prey. High inter-annual return rates suggest a degree of site-fidelity of individuals to Isla Grande de Chiloé and that the number of whales using this feeding ground is relatively small.

  13. Estimating historical eastern North Pacific blue whale catches using spatial calling patterns.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cole C Monnahan

    Full Text Available Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP. The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114 from 1905-1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42% of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180. The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic

  14. Estimating historical eastern North Pacific blue whale catches using spatial calling patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monnahan, Cole C; Branch, Trevor A; Stafford, Kathleen M; Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Oleson, Erin M

    2014-01-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905-1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality.

  15. Designing an effective mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peel, David; Bravington, Mark; Kelly, Natalie; Double, Michael C

    2015-06-01

    To properly conserve and manage wild populations, it is important to have information on abundance and population dynamics. In the case of rare and cryptic species, especially in remote locations, surveys can be difficult and expensive, and run the risk of not producing sample sizes large enough to produce precise estimates. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct preliminary analysis to determine if the study will produce useable estimates. The focus of this paper is a proposed mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia). Antarctic blue whales were hunted to near extinction up until the mid- 1960s, when commercial exploitation of this species ended. Current abundance estimates are a decade old. Furthermore, at present, there are no formal circumpolar-level cetacean surveys operating in Antarctic waters and, specifically, there is no strategy to monitor the potential recovery of Antarctic blue whales. Hence the work in this paper was motivated by the need to inform decisions on strategies for future monitoring of Antarctic blue whale population. The paper describes a model to predict the precision and bias of estimates from a proposed survey program. The analysis showed that mark-recapture is indeed a suitable method to provide a circumpolar abundance estimate of Antarctic blue whales, with precision of the abundance, at the midpoint of the program, predicted to be between 0.2 and 0.3. However, this was only if passive acoustic tracking was utilized to increase the encounter rate. The analysis also provided guidance on general design for an Antarctic blue whale program, showing that it requires a 12-year duration; although surveys do not necessarily need to be run every year if multiple vessels are available to clump effort. Mark-recapture is based on a number of assumptions; it was evident from the analysis that ongoing analysis and monitoring of the data would be required to check such assumptions hold (e.g., test for

  16. Fin whale sound reception mechanisms: skull vibration enables low-frequency hearing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cranford, Ted W; Krysl, Petr

    2015-01-01

    Hearing mechanisms in baleen whales (Mysticeti) are essentially unknown but their vocalization frequencies overlap with anthropogenic sound sources. Synthetic audiograms were generated for a fin whale by applying finite element modeling tools to X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans. We CT scanned the head of a small fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in a scanner designed for solid-fuel rocket motors. Our computer (finite element) modeling toolkit allowed us to visualize what occurs when sounds interact with the anatomic geometry of the whale's head. Simulations reveal two mechanisms that excite both bony ear complexes, (1) the skull-vibration enabled bone conduction mechanism and (2) a pressure mechanism transmitted through soft tissues. Bone conduction is the predominant mechanism. The mass density of the bony ear complexes and their firmly embedded attachments to the skull are universal across the Mysticeti, suggesting that sound reception mechanisms are similar in all baleen whales. Interactions between incident sound waves and the skull cause deformations that induce motion in each bony ear complex, resulting in best hearing sensitivity for low-frequency sounds. This predominant low-frequency sensitivity has significant implications for assessing mysticete exposure levels to anthropogenic sounds. The din of man-made ocean noise has increased steadily over the past half century. Our results provide valuable data for U.S. regulatory agencies and concerned large-scale industrial users of the ocean environment. This study transforms our understanding of baleen whale hearing and provides a means to predict auditory sensitivity across a broad spectrum of sound frequencies.

  17. The influence of sea ice, wind speed and marine mammals on Southern Ocean ambient sound

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menze, Sebastian; Zitterbart, Daniel P.; van Opzeeland, Ilse; Boebel, Olaf

    2017-01-01

    This paper describes the natural variability of ambient sound in the Southern Ocean, an acoustically pristine marine mammal habitat. Over a 3-year period, two autonomous recorders were moored along the Greenwich meridian to collect underwater passive acoustic data. Ambient sound levels were strongly affected by the annual variation of the sea-ice cover, which decouples local wind speed and sound levels during austral winter. With increasing sea-ice concentration, area and thickness, sound levels decreased while the contribution of distant sources increased. Marine mammal sounds formed a substantial part of the overall acoustic environment, comprising calls produced by Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) and leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx). The combined sound energy of a group or population vocalizing during extended periods contributed species-specific peaks to the ambient sound spectra. The temporal and spatial variation in the contribution of marine mammals to ambient sound suggests annual patterns in migration and behaviour. The Antarctic blue and fin whale contributions were loudest in austral autumn, whereas the Antarctic minke whale contribution was loudest during austral winter and repeatedly showed a diel pattern that coincided with the diel vertical migration of zooplankton.

  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. Red shift, blue shift: investigating Doppler shifts, blubber thickness, and migration as explanations of seasonal variation in the tonality of Antarctic blue whale song.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian S Miller

    Full Text Available The song of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia comprises repeated, stereotyped, low-frequency calls. Measurements of these calls from recordings spanning many years have revealed a long-term linear decline as well as an intra-annual pattern in tonal frequency. While a number of hypotheses for this long-term decline have been investigated, including changes in population structure, changes in the physical environment, and changes in the behaviour of the whales, there have been relatively few attempts to explain the intra-annual pattern. An additional hypothesis that has not yet been investigated is that differences in the observed frequency from each call are due to the Doppler effect. The assumptions and implications of the Doppler effect on whale song are investigated using 1 vessel-based acoustic recordings of Antarctic blue whales with simultaneous observation of whale movement and 2 long-term acoustic recordings from both the subtropics and Antarctic. Results from vessel-based recordings of Antarctic blue whales indicate that variation in peak-frequency between calls produced by an individual whale was greater than would be expected by the movement of the whale alone. Furthermore, analysis of intra-annual frequency shift at Antarctic recording stations indicates that the Doppler effect is unlikely to fully explain the observations of intra-annual pattern in the frequency of Antarctic blue whale song. However, data do show cyclical changes in frequency in conjunction with season, thus suggesting that there might be a relationship among tonal frequency, body condition, and migration to and from Antarctic feeding grounds.

  20. Red shift, blue shift: investigating Doppler shifts, blubber thickness, and migration as explanations of seasonal variation in the tonality of Antarctic blue whale song.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Brian S; Leaper, Russell; Calderan, Susannah; Gedamke, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The song of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) comprises repeated, stereotyped, low-frequency calls. Measurements of these calls from recordings spanning many years have revealed a long-term linear decline as well as an intra-annual pattern in tonal frequency. While a number of hypotheses for this long-term decline have been investigated, including changes in population structure, changes in the physical environment, and changes in the behaviour of the whales, there have been relatively few attempts to explain the intra-annual pattern. An additional hypothesis that has not yet been investigated is that differences in the observed frequency from each call are due to the Doppler effect. The assumptions and implications of the Doppler effect on whale song are investigated using 1) vessel-based acoustic recordings of Antarctic blue whales with simultaneous observation of whale movement and 2) long-term acoustic recordings from both the subtropics and Antarctic. Results from vessel-based recordings of Antarctic blue whales indicate that variation in peak-frequency between calls produced by an individual whale was greater than would be expected by the movement of the whale alone. Furthermore, analysis of intra-annual frequency shift at Antarctic recording stations indicates that the Doppler effect is unlikely to fully explain the observations of intra-annual pattern in the frequency of Antarctic blue whale song. However, data do show cyclical changes in frequency in conjunction with season, thus suggesting that there might be a relationship among tonal frequency, body condition, and migration to and from Antarctic feeding grounds.

  1. 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.

  2. Large whale incident database

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  3. Spatial and temporal occurrence of blue whales off the U.S. West Coast, with implications for management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irvine, Ladd M; Mate, Bruce R; Winsor, Martha H; Palacios, Daniel M; Bograd, Steven J; Costa, Daniel P; Bailey, Helen

    2014-01-01

    Mortality and injuries caused by ship strikes in U.S. waters are a cause of concern for the endangered population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) occupying the eastern North Pacific. We sought to determine which areas along the U.S. West Coast are most important to blue whales and whether those areas change inter-annually. Argos-monitored satellite tags were attached to 171 blue whales off California during summer/early fall from 1993 to 2008. We analyzed portions of the tracks that occurred within U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone waters and defined the 'home range' (HR) and 'core areas' (CAU) as the 90% and 50% fixed kernel density distributions, respectively, for each whale. We used the number of overlapping individual HRs and CAUs to identify areas of highest use. Individual HR and CAU sizes varied dramatically, but without significant inter-annual variation despite covering years with El Niño and La Niña conditions. Observed within-year differences in HR size may represent different foraging strategies for individuals. The main areas of HR and CAU overlap among whales were near highly productive, strong upwelling centers that were crossed by commercial shipping lanes. Tagged whales generally departed U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone waters from mid-October to mid-November, with high variability among individuals. One 504-d track allowed HR and CAU comparisons for the same individual across two years, showing similar seasonal timing, and strong site fidelity. Our analysis showed how satellite-tagged blue whales seasonally used waters off the U.S. West Coast, including high-risk areas. We suggest possible modifications to existing shipping lanes to reduce the likelihood of collisions with vessels.

  4. Spatial and temporal occurrence of blue whales off the U.S. West Coast, with implications for management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ladd M Irvine

    Full Text Available Mortality and injuries caused by ship strikes in U.S. waters are a cause of concern for the endangered population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus occupying the eastern North Pacific. We sought to determine which areas along the U.S. West Coast are most important to blue whales and whether those areas change inter-annually. Argos-monitored satellite tags were attached to 171 blue whales off California during summer/early fall from 1993 to 2008. We analyzed portions of the tracks that occurred within U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone waters and defined the 'home range' (HR and 'core areas' (CAU as the 90% and 50% fixed kernel density distributions, respectively, for each whale. We used the number of overlapping individual HRs and CAUs to identify areas of highest use. Individual HR and CAU sizes varied dramatically, but without significant inter-annual variation despite covering years with El Niño and La Niña conditions. Observed within-year differences in HR size may represent different foraging strategies for individuals. The main areas of HR and CAU overlap among whales were near highly productive, strong upwelling centers that were crossed by commercial shipping lanes. Tagged whales generally departed U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone waters from mid-October to mid-November, with high variability among individuals. One 504-d track allowed HR and CAU comparisons for the same individual across two years, showing similar seasonal timing, and strong site fidelity. Our analysis showed how satellite-tagged blue whales seasonally used waters off the U.S. West Coast, including high-risk areas. We suggest possible modifications to existing shipping lanes to reduce the likelihood of collisions with vessels.

  5. 75 FR 68757 - Marine Mammals; File No. 781-1824

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-11-09

    ... whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW, Orcinus orca... the abundance, distribution, movement patterns, habitat use, contaminant levels, prey, behavior...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. Arteriovenous Patterns in Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Arteriovenous patterns in beaked whales Alexander M...picture of the vascular anatomy in beaked whale heads that will enhance our understanding of the basic biology of beaked whales and act as a baseline...The objective was to describe and better understand the gross morphology of the blood vessels in the heads of beaked whales . Gross anatomical

  9. Neuroglobin of seals and whales: evidence for a divergent role in the diving brain.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneuer, M; Flachsbarth, S; Czech-Damal, N U; Folkow, L P; Siebert, U; Burmester, T

    2012-10-25

    Although many physiological adaptations of diving mammals have been reported, little is known about how their brains sustain the high demands for metabolic energy and thus O(2) when submerged. A recent study revealed in the deep-diving hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) a unique shift of the oxidative energy metabolism and neuroglobin, a respiratory protein that is involved in neuronal hypoxia tolerance, from neurons to astrocytes. Here we have investigated neuroglobin in another pinniped species, the harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus), and in two cetaceans, the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). Neuroglobin sequences, expression levels and patterns were compared with those of terrestrial relatives, the ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and the cattle (Bos taurus), respectively. Neuroglobin sequences of whales and seals only differ in two or three amino acids from those of cattle and ferret, and are unlikely to confer functional differences, e.g. in O(2) affinity. Neuroglobin is expressed in the astrocytes also of P. groenlandicus, suggesting that the shift of neuroglobin and oxidative metabolism is a common adaptation in the brains of deep-diving phocid seals. In the cetacean brain neuroglobin resides in neurons, like in terrestrial mammals. However, neuroglobin mRNA expression levels were 4-15 times higher in the brains of harbor porpoises and minke whales than in terrestrial mammals or in seals. Thus neuroglobin appears to play a specific role in diving mammals, but seals and whales have evolved divergent strategies to cope with cerebral hypoxia. The specific function of neuroglobin that conveys hypoxia tolerance may either relate to oxygen supply or protection from reactive oxygen species. The different strategies in seals and whales resulted from a divergent evolution and an independent adaptation to diving. Copyright © 2012 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Characterizing Chilean blue whale vocalizations with DTAGs: a test of using tag accelerometers for caller identification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saddler, Mark R; Bocconcelli, Alessandro; Hickmott, Leigh S; Chiang, Gustavo; Landea-Briones, Rafaela; Bahamonde, Paulina A; Howes, Gloria; Segre, Paolo S; Sayigh, Laela S

    2017-11-15

    Vocal behavior of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in the Gulf of Corcovado, Chile, was analysed using both audio and accelerometer data from digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs). Over the course of three austral summers (2014, 2015 and 2016), seventeen tags were deployed, yielding 124 h of data. We report the occurrence of Southeast Pacific type 2 (SEP2) calls, which exhibit peak frequencies, durations and timing consistent with previous recordings made using towed and moored hydrophones. We also describe tonal downswept (D) calls, which have not been previously described for this population. As being able to accurately assign vocalizations to individual whales is fundamental for studying communication and for estimating population densities from call rates, we further examine the feasibility of using high-resolution DTAG accelerometers to identify low-frequency calls produced by tagged blue whales. We cross-correlated acoustic signals with simultaneous tri-axial accelerometer readings in order to analyse the phase match as well as the amplitude of accelerometer signals associated with low-frequency calls, which provides a quantitative method of determining if a call is associated with a detectable acceleration signal. Our results suggest that vocalizations from nearby individuals are also capable of registering accelerometer signals in the tagged whale's DTAG record. We cross-correlate acceleration vectors between calls to explore the possibility of using signature acceleration patterns associated with sounds produced within the tagged whale as a new method of identifying which accelerometer-detectable calls originate from the tagged animal. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  11. Fin Whale Sound Reception Mechanisms: Skull Vibration Enables Low-Frequency Hearing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cranford, Ted W.; Krysl, Petr

    2015-01-01

    Hearing mechanisms in baleen whales (Mysticeti) are essentially unknown but their vocalization frequencies overlap with anthropogenic sound sources. Synthetic audiograms were generated for a fin whale by applying finite element modeling tools to X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans. We CT scanned the head of a small fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in a scanner designed for solid-fuel rocket motors. Our computer (finite element) modeling toolkit allowed us to visualize what occurs when sounds interact with the anatomic geometry of the whale’s head. Simulations reveal two mechanisms that excite both bony ear complexes, (1) the skull-vibration enabled bone conduction mechanism and (2) a pressure mechanism transmitted through soft tissues. Bone conduction is the predominant mechanism. The mass density of the bony ear complexes and their firmly embedded attachments to the skull are universal across the Mysticeti, suggesting that sound reception mechanisms are similar in all baleen whales. Interactions between incident sound waves and the skull cause deformations that induce motion in each bony ear complex, resulting in best hearing sensitivity for low-frequency sounds. This predominant low-frequency sensitivity has significant implications for assessing mysticete exposure levels to anthropogenic sounds. The din of man-made ocean noise has increased steadily over the past half century. Our results provide valuable data for U.S. regulatory agencies and concerned large-scale industrial users of the ocean environment. This study transforms our understanding of baleen whale hearing and provides a means to predict auditory sensitivity across a broad spectrum of sound frequencies. PMID:25633412

  12. Spatial and temporal trends in fin whale vocalizations recorded in the NE Pacific Ocean between 2003-2013.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weirathmueller, Michelle J; Stafford, Kathleen M; Wilcock, William S D; Hilmo, Rose S; Dziak, Robert P; Tréhu, Anne M

    2017-01-01

    In order to study the long-term stability of fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) singing behavior, the frequency and inter-pulse interval of fin whale 20 Hz vocalizations were observed over 10 years from 2003-2013 from bottom mounted hydrophones and seismometers in the northeast Pacific Ocean. The instrument locations extended from 40°N to 48°N and 130°W to 125°W with water depths ranging from 1500-4000 m. The inter-pulse interval (IPI) of fin whale song sequences was observed to increase at a rate of 0.54 seconds/year over the decade of observation. During the same time period, peak frequency decreased at a rate of 0.17 Hz/year. Two primary call patterns were observed. During the earlier years, the more commonly observed pattern had a single frequency and single IPI. In later years, a doublet pattern emerged, with two dominant frequencies and IPIs. Many call sequences in the intervening years appeared to represent a transitional state between the two patterns. The overall trend was consistent across the entire geographical span, although some regional differences exist. Understanding changes in acoustic behavior over long time periods is needed to help establish whether acoustic characteristics can be used to help determine population identity in a widely distributed, difficult to study species such as the fin whale.

  13. From dynamic ocean management to climate-ready management: a case study using blue whales in the northeast Pacific.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hazen, E. L.

    2016-12-01

    Highly migratory species regularly traverse human-imposed boundaries including exclusive economic zones and marine protected areas, thus are difficult to manage using traditional spatial approaches. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are seasonal visitors to the California Current System that target a single prey resource, krill (Euphausia pacifica, Thysanoessa spinifera), and migrate large distances to find and exploit ephemeral prey patches. Successful management of blue whales requires improved understanding of how fine-scale foraging ecology translates to population abundances. Specifically, sub-lethal factors such as anthropogenic noise and climate change, and lethal factors such as ship strikes may be limiting recovery and can be difficult to account for in current management strategies. Here we use an extensive dataset of fine-scale accelerometers (55) and broad-scale satellite tags (104) deployed on Northeast Pacific blue whales to examine the energetics of foraging, overlap with human risk, and projections of future habitat with climate change. We quantify the importance of dense prey patches (> 100 krill per cubic meter) for blue whale energetics and fitness. Distribution models can be used in concert with industry and regional offices to produce dynamic rules to reduce vessel interactions. We propose telemetry data are ripe for use in establishing dynamic management approaches that account for daily to seasonal management areas to minimize anthropogenic risks, and are also adaptable to long-term climate-driven changes in habitat.

  14. Minke whale song, spacing, and acoustic communication on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gedamke, Jason

    An inquisitive population of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) that concentrates on the Great Barrier Reef during its suspected breeding season offered a unique opportunity to conduct a multi-faceted study of a little-known Balaenopteran species' acoustic behavior. Chapter one investigates whether the minke whale is the source of an unusual, complex, and stereotyped sound recorded, the "star-wars" vocalization. A hydrophone array was towed from a vessel to record sounds from circling whales for subsequent localization of sound sources. These acoustic locations were matched with shipboard and in-water observations of the minke whale, demonstrating the minke whale was the source of this unusual sound. Spectral and temporal features of this sound and the source levels at which it is produced are described. The repetitive "star-wars" vocalization appears similar to the songs of other whale species and has characteristics consistent with reproductive advertisement displays. Chapter two investigates whether song (i.e. the "star-wars" vocalization) has a spacing function through passive monitoring of singer spatial patterns with a moored five-sonobuoy array. Active song playback experiments to singers were also conducted to further test song function. This study demonstrated that singers naturally maintain spatial separations between them through a nearest-neighbor analysis and animated tracks of singer movements. In response to active song playbacks, singers generally moved away and repeated song more quickly suggesting that song repetition interval may help regulate spatial interaction and singer separation. These results further indicate the Great Barrier Reef may be an important reproductive habitat for this species. Chapter three investigates whether song is part of a potentially graded repertoire of acoustic signals. Utilizing both vessel-based recordings and remote recordings from the sonobuoy array, temporal and spectral features, source levels, and

  15. Impacts of Navy Sonar on Whales and Dolphins: Now beyond a Smoking Gun?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    E. C. M. Parsons

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available The risks military sonar poses to cetaceans received international attention with a highly-publicized mass stranding of Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris, Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris, and northern minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata in the Bahamas in 2000. This was the first time that the US Government determined a stranding to be the result of mid-frequency active sonar use. Subsequently attention has been drawn to other mass strandings coincident with naval exercises, including events preceding the 2000 mass stranding. The list of species for which mass strandings have been linked to naval exercises has also increased to include other beaked whales, dwarf and pygmy sperm whales (Kogia spp., pilot whales (Globicephala spp., several dolphin species (Stenella sp. and Delphinus delphis, and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena. In particular, there have been several mass strandings in the northern Indian Ocean coincident with naval exercises—including one of the largest (200–250 dolphins—which have received little attention. Changes in beaked whale behavior, including evasive maneuvering, have been recorded at received levels below <100 dB re 1 μPa (rms and mass stranding may occur at received levels potentially as low as 150–170 dB re 1 μPa. There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that a wide range of whale, dolphin and porpoise species can also be impacted by sound produced during military activities, with significant effects occurring at received levels lower than previously predicted. Although there are many stranding events that have occurred coincident with the presence of naval vessels or exercises, it is important to emphasize that even the absence of strandings in a region does not equate to an absence of deaths, i.e., absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. Strandings may be undetected, or be unlikely to be observed because of a lack of search effort or due to coastal

  16. 76 FR 10560 - Marine Mammals; File No. 15530

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-02-25

    ... endangered: blue whale (Balaenoptera ] musculus), fin whale (B. physalus), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), right whale (Eubalaena japonica), sei whale (B. borealis), beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) Cook Inlet stock, killer whale (Orcinus orca) southern resident stock, and sperm whale (Physeter...

  17. The Auditory System of the Minke Whale (Balaenoptera Acutorostrata): A Potential Fatty Sound Reception Pathway in a Mysticete Cetacean

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-01

    musculus. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 50:1193-1198. Finneran JJ, Houser DS, Mase -Guthrie B, Ewing RY, Lingenfelser RG. 2009. Auditory... determined , the ear fat is pressed against an area of the tympano-periotic complex including the ventral portion of the glove finger. At the entry to...decrease the sound speeds through these tissues, enhancing the waveguide effect that was discussed above. Future studies should aim to determine the

  18. Radiation and speciation of pelagic organisms during periods of global warming : the case of the common minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pastene, Luis A.; Goto, Mutsuo; Kanda, Naohisa; Zerbini, Alexandre N.; Kerem, Dan; Watanabe, Kazuo; Bessho, Yoshitaka; Hasegawa, Masami; Nielsen, Rasmus; Larsen, Finn; Palsboll, Per J.

    How do populations of highly mobile species inhabiting open environments become reproductively isolated and evolve into new species? We test the hypothesis that elevated ocean-surface temperatures can facilitate allopatry among pelagic populations and thus promote speciation. Oceanographic modelling

  19. A three year study of metal levels in skin biopsies of whales in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil crisis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wise, John Pierce; Wise, James T F; Wise, Catherine F; Wise, Sandra S; Gianios, Christy; Xie, Hong; Walter, Ron; Boswell, Mikki; Zhu, Cairong; Zheng, Tongzhang; Perkins, Christopher; Wise, John Pierce

    2017-12-20

    In response to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the massive release of oil that followed, we conducted three annual research voyages to investigate how the oil spill would impact the marine offshore environment. Most investigations into the ecological and toxicological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil crisis have mainly focused on the fate of the oil and dispersants, but few have considered the release of metals into the environment. From studies of previous oil spills, other marine oil industries, and analyses of oil compositions, it is evident that metals are frequently encountered. Several metals have been reported in the MC252 oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the nonessential metals aluminum, arsenic, chromium, nickel, and lead; genotoxic metals, such as these are able to damage DNA and can bioaccumulate in organisms resulting in persistent exposure. In the Gulf of Mexico, whales are the apex species; hence we collected skin biopsies from sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus), and Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni). The results from our three-year study of monitoring metal levels in whale skin show (1) genotoxic metals at concentrations higher than global averages previously reported and (2) patterns for MC252-relevant metal concentrations decreasing with time from the oil spill. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. Listening to Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allchin, Douglas

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Whales: Incredible Ocean Mammals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devona, Henry

    1992-01-01

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

  3. Whales Are Big With Little People.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dommers, John J.

    1981-01-01

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

  4. A whale of an opportunity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2010-01-01

    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...... not always target patches of high concentrations of Chl-a in the upper 50 m. Five satellite images were available within the periods whales carried fluorometers. Whales traversed 91 pixels collecting on average 761 s (SD 826) of Chl-a samples per pixel (0-136 m). The depth of the Chl-a maximum ranged widely...

  5. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter T Fretwell

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

  7. 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...... of the continental shelf off Andenes, Norway, in the summers of 1997 and 1998. With this system, source levels up to 223 dB re 1 mPa peRMS were recorded. Also, source level differences of 35 dB for the same click at different directions were seen, which are interpreted as evidence for high directionality....... 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....

  8. 78 FR 25425 - Marine Mammals; File No. 16388

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-05-01

    ... conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), blue whales (B. musculus), sei whales (B. borealis), bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), North Pacific right whales (E. japonica), and Eastern North Pacific gray...

  9. Cetacean records along a coastal-offshore gradient in the Vitória-Trindade Chain, western South Atlantic Ocean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    LL Wedekin

    Full Text Available Oceanic waters are difficult to assess, and there are many gaps in knowledge regarding cetacean occurrence. To fill some of these gaps, this article provides important cetacean records obtained in the winter of 2010 during a dedicated expedition to collect visual and acoustic information in the Vitória-Trindade seamounts. We observed 19 groups of cetaceans along a 1300-km search trajectory, with six species being identified: the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae, N = 9 groups, the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, N = 1, the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis, N = 1, the rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis, N = 1, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus, N = 2, and the killer whale (Orcinus orca, N = 1. Most humpback whale groups (N = 7; 78% were observed in the Vitória-Trindade seamounts, especially the mounts close to the Abrolhos Bank. Only one lone humpback whale was observed near Trindade Island after a search effort encompassing more than 520 km. From a total of 28 acoustic stations, humpback whale songs were only detected near the seamounts close to the Abrolhos Bank, where most groups of this species were visually detected (including a competitive group and groups with calves. The presence of humpback whales at the Trindade Island and surroundings is most likely occasional, with few sightings and low density. Finally, we observed a significant number of humpback whales along the seamounts close to the Abrolhos Bank, which may function as a breeding habitat for this species. We also added important records regarding the occurrence of cetaceans in these mounts and in the Western South Atlantic, including the endangered fin whale.

  10. Fin whale MDH-1 and MPI allozyme variation is not reflected in the corresponding DNA sequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olsen, Morten Tange; Pampoulie, Christophe; Daníelsdóttir, Anna K; Lidh, Emmelie; Bérubé, Martine; Víkingsson, Gísli A; Palsbøll, Per J

    2014-05-01

    The appeal of genetic inference methods to assess population genetic structure and guide management efforts is grounded in the correlation between the genetic similarity and gene flow among populations. Effects of such gene flow are typically genomewide; however, some loci may appear as outliers, displaying above or below average genetic divergence relative to the genomewide level. Above average population, genetic divergence may be due to divergent selection as a result of local adaptation. Consequently, substantial efforts have been directed toward such outlying loci in order to identify traits subject to local adaptation. Here, we report the results of an investigation into the molecular basis of the substantial degree of genetic divergence previously reported at allozyme loci among North Atlantic fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) populations. We sequenced the exons encoding for the two most divergent allozyme loci (MDH-1 and MPI) and failed to detect any nonsynonymous substitutions. Following extensive error checking and analysis of additional bioinformatic and morphological data, we hypothesize that the observed allozyme polymorphisms may reflect phenotypic plasticity at the cellular level, perhaps as a response to nutritional stress. While such plasticity is intriguing in itself, and of fundamental evolutionary interest, our key finding is that the observed allozyme variation does not appear to be a result of genetic drift, migration, or selection on the MDH-1 and MPI exons themselves, stressing the importance of interpreting allozyme data with caution. As for North Atlantic fin whale population structure, our findings support the low levels of differentiation found in previous analyses of DNA nucleotide loci.

  11. Accounting for the effects of lipids in stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N values) analysis of skin and blubber of balaenopterid whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, Conor; McHugh, Brendan; Trueman, Clive N; Harrod, Chris; Berrow, Simon D; O'Connor, Ian

    2012-12-15

    Stable isotope values (δ(13)C and δ(15)N) of darted skin and blubber biopsies can shed light on habitat use and diet of cetaceans, which are otherwise difficult to study. Non-dietary factors affect isotopic variability, chiefly the depletion of (13)C due to the presence of (12)C-rich lipids. The efficacy of post hoc lipid-correction models (normalization) must be tested. For tissues with high natural lipid content (e.g., whale skin and blubber), chemical lipid extraction or normalization is necessary. C:N ratios, δ(13)C values and δ(15)N values were determined for duplicate control and lipid-extracted skin and blubber of fin (Balaenoptera physalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and minke whales (B. acutorostrata) by continuous-flow elemental analysis isotope ratio mass spectrometry (CF-EA-IRMS). Six different normalization models were tested to correct δ(13)C values for the presence of lipids. Following lipid extraction, significant increases in δ(13)C values were observed for both tissues in the three species. Significant increases were also found for δ(15)N values in minke whale skin and fin whale blubber. In fin whale skin, the δ(15)N values decreased, with no change observed in humpback whale skin. Non-linear models generally out-performed linear models and the suitability of models varied by species and tissue, indicating the need for high model specificity, even among these closely related taxa. Given the poor predictive power of the models to estimate lipid-free δ(13)C values, and the unpredictable changes in δ(15)N values due to lipid-extraction, we recommend against arithmetical normalization in accounting for lipid effects on δ(13)C values for balaenopterid skin or blubber samples. Rather, we recommend that duplicate analysis of lipid-extracted (δ(13)C values) and non-treated tissues (δ(15)N values) be used. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    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 w...

  13. 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...

  14. Chilean blue whales as a case study to illustrate methods to estimate abundance and evaluate conservation status of rare species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Rob; Hedley, Sharon L; Branch, Trevor A; Bravington, Mark V; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Findlay, Ken P

    2011-06-01

    Often abundance of rare species cannot be estimated with conventional design-based methods, so we illustrate with a population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) a spatial model-based method to estimate abundance. We analyzed data from line-transect surveys of blue whales off the coast of Chile, where the population was hunted to low levels. Field protocols allowed deviation from planned track lines to collect identification photographs and tissue samples for genetic analyses, which resulted in an ad hoc sampling design with increased effort in areas of higher densities. Thus, we used spatial modeling methods to estimate abundance. Spatial models are increasingly being used to analyze data from surveys of marine, aquatic, and terrestrial species, but estimation of uncertainty from such models is often problematic. We developed a new, broadly applicable variance estimator that showed there were likely 303 whales (95% CI 176-625) in the study area. The survey did not span the whales' entire range, so this is a minimum estimate. We estimated current minimum abundance relative to pre-exploitation abundance (i.e., status) with a population dynamics model that incorporated our minimum abundance estimate, likely population growth rates from a meta-analysis of rates of increase in large baleen whales, and two alternative assumptions about historic catches. From this model, we estimated that the population was at a minimum of 9.5% (95% CI 4.9-18.0%) of pre-exploitation levels in 1998 under one catch assumption and 7.2% (CI 3.7-13.7%) of pre-exploitation levels under the other. Thus, although Chilean blue whales are probably still at a small fraction of pre-exploitation abundance, even these minimum abundance estimates demonstrate that their status is better than that of Antarctic blue whales, which are still <1% of pre-exploitation population size. We anticipate our methods will be broadly applicable in aquatic and terrestrial surveys for rarely encountered species

  15. 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...

  16. Co-Occurrence and Habitat Use of Fin Whales, Striped Dolphins and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauer, Robert Klaus; Fromentin, Jean-Marc; Demarcq, Hervé; Brisset, Blandine; Bonhommeau, Sylvain

    2015-01-01

    Different dolphin and tuna species have frequently been reported to aggregate in areas of high frontal activity, sometimes developing close multi-species associations to increase feeding success. Aerial surveys are a common tool to monitor the density and abundance of marine mammals, and have recently become a focus in the search for methods to provide fisheries-independent abundance indicators for tuna stock assessment. In this study, we present first density estimates corrected for availability bias of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from the Golf of Lions (GoL), compared with uncorrected estimates of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT; Thunnus thynnus) densities from 8 years of line transect aerial surveys. The raw sighting data were further used to analyze patterns of spatial co-occurrence and density of these three top marine predators in this important feeding ground in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. These patterns were investigated regarding known species-specific feeding preferences and environmental characteristics (i. e. mesoscale activity) of the survey zone. ABFT was by far the most abundant species during the surveys in terms of schools and individuals, followed by striped dolphins and fin whales. However, when accounted for availability bias, schools of dolphins and fin whales were of equal density. Direct interactions of the species appeared to be the exception, but results indicate that densities, presence and core sighting locations of striped dolphins and ABFT were correlated. Core sighting areas of these species were located close to an area of high mesoscale activity (oceanic fronts and eddies). Fin whales did not show such a correlation. The results further highlight the feasibility to coordinate research efforts to explore the behaviour and abundance of the investigated species, as demanded by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

  17. Co-Occurrence and Habitat Use of Fin Whales, Striped Dolphins and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Klaus Bauer

    Full Text Available Different dolphin and tuna species have frequently been reported to aggregate in areas of high frontal activity, sometimes developing close multi-species associations to increase feeding success. Aerial surveys are a common tool to monitor the density and abundance of marine mammals, and have recently become a focus in the search for methods to provide fisheries-independent abundance indicators for tuna stock assessment. In this study, we present first density estimates corrected for availability bias of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba from the Golf of Lions (GoL, compared with uncorrected estimates of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT; Thunnus thynnus densities from 8 years of line transect aerial surveys. The raw sighting data were further used to analyze patterns of spatial co-occurrence and density of these three top marine predators in this important feeding ground in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. These patterns were investigated regarding known species-specific feeding preferences and environmental characteristics (i. e. mesoscale activity of the survey zone. ABFT was by far the most abundant species during the surveys in terms of schools and individuals, followed by striped dolphins and fin whales. However, when accounted for availability bias, schools of dolphins and fin whales were of equal density. Direct interactions of the species appeared to be the exception, but results indicate that densities, presence and core sighting locations of striped dolphins and ABFT were correlated. Core sighting areas of these species were located close to an area of high mesoscale activity (oceanic fronts and eddies. Fin whales did not show such a correlation. The results further highlight the feasibility to coordinate research efforts to explore the behaviour and abundance of the investigated species, as demanded by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD.

  18. Co-Occurrence and Habitat Use of Fin Whales, Striped Dolphins and Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bauer, Robert Klaus; Demarcq, Hervé; Brisset, Blandine

    2015-01-01

    Different dolphin and tuna species have frequently been reported to aggregate in areas of high frontal activity, sometimes developing close multi-species associations to increase feeding success. Aerial surveys are a common tool to monitor the density and abundance of marine mammals, and have recently become a focus in the search for methods to provide fisheries-independent abundance indicators for tuna stock assessment. In this study, we present first density estimates corrected for availability bias of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) from the Golf of Lions (GoL), compared with uncorrected estimates of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT; Thunnus thynnus) densities from 8 years of line transect aerial surveys. The raw sighting data were further used to analyze patterns of spatial co-occurrence and density of these three top marine predators in this important feeding ground in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. These patterns were investigated regarding known species-specific feeding preferences and environmental characteristics (i. e. mesoscale activity) of the survey zone. ABFT was by far the most abundant species during the surveys in terms of schools and individuals, followed by striped dolphins and fin whales. However, when accounted for availability bias, schools of dolphins and fin whales were of equal density. Direct interactions of the species appeared to be the exception, but results indicate that densities, presence and core sighting locations of striped dolphins and ABFT were correlated. Core sighting areas of these species were located close to an area of high mesoscale activity (oceanic fronts and eddies). Fin whales did not show such a correlation. The results further highlight the feasibility to coordinate research efforts to explore the behaviour and abundance of the investigated species, as demanded by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). PMID:26458254

  19. Walrus and whale interactions: An eyewitness account

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  20. Beaked Whale Habitat Characterization and Prediction

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Ward, Jessica A; Mitchell, Glenn H; Farak, Amy M; Keane, Ellen P

    2005-01-01

    The objective of this study was to characterize known beaked whale habitat and create a predictive beaked whale habitat model of the Gulf of Mexico and east coast of the United States using available...

  1. 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

  2. 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...a more complete picture of pilot whale baseline behavior and vocalization rates in different social contexts, as well as calculating more exact...follows and attempts at tagging these animals, no tags were successfully deployed. In 2011, playbacks of both mammal-eating killer whale calls and

  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. 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.

  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. Fetal and Early Post-Natal Mineralization of the Tympanic Bulla in Fin Whales May Reveal a Hitherto Undiscovered Evolutionary Trait

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cozzi, Bruno; Podestà, Michela; Mazzariol, Sandro; Zotti, Alessandro

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago [1], and debate is still going on about the relationships between Cetacea and Artiodactyla [2], [3], [4]. Some skeletal traits of the basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes), such as the expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and vertebral size uniformity [5] are maintained and further emphasized also in contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus) is minimal, becomes sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution [6], this feature may indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival. PMID:22615912

  7. Fetal and early post-natal mineralization of the tympanic bulla in fin whales may reveal a Hitherto undiscovered evolutionary trait.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cozzi, Bruno; Podestà, Michela; Mazzariol, Sandro; Zotti, Alessandro

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago [1], and debate is still going on about the relationships between Cetacea and Artiodactyla [2], [3], [4]. Some skeletal traits of the basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes), such as the expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and vertebral size uniformity [5] are maintained and further emphasized also in contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus) is minimal, becomes sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution [6], this feature may indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival.

  8. Fetal and early post-natal mineralization of the tympanic bulla in fin whales may reveal a Hitherto undiscovered evolutionary trait.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Cozzi

    Full Text Available The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago [1], and debate is still going on about the relationships between Cetacea and Artiodactyla [2], [3], [4]. Some skeletal traits of the basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes, such as the expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and vertebral size uniformity [5] are maintained and further emphasized also in contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus is minimal, becomes sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution [6], this feature may indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival.

  9. The world's smallest whale population?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wade, Paul R.; Kennedy, Amy; LeDuc, Rick; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, Jim; Shelden, Kim; Perryman, Wayne; Pitman, Robert; Robertson, Kelly; Rone, Brenda; Salinas, Juan Carlos; Zerbini, Alexandre; Brownell, Robert L.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2011-01-01

    The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) was heavily exploited by both nineteenth century whaling and recent (1960s) illegal Soviet catches. Today, the species remains extremely rare especially in the eastern North Pacific. Here, we use photographic and genotype data to calculate the first mark–recapture estimates of abundance for right whales in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The estimates were very similar: photographic = 31 (95% CL 23–54), genotyping = 28 (95% CL 24–42). We also estimated the population contains eight females (95% CL 7–18) and 20 males (95% CL 17–37). Although these estimates may relate to a Bering Sea subpopulation, other data suggest that the total eastern North Pacific population is unlikely to be much larger. Its precarious status today—the world's smallest whale population for which an abundance estimate exists—is a direct consequence of uncontrolled and illegal whaling, and highlights the past failure of international management to prevent such abuses. PMID:20591853

  10. Steroid hormones in blood plasma from Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) dietary exposed to organohalogen polutted minke whale (Balanenoptera acuterostrata) blubber

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Letcher, J.

    2014-01-01

    , respectively, for 321–576 days. In the exposed group, this constituted a mean daily intake of 128 μg ∑PCBs (5 μg/kg/day). At the end of the study, organohalogen contaminant (OHC) were measured in adipose tissue and hormone levels in blood of sledge dogs. The hormones included 11 products of the steroidogenesis......Persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) are known to disrupt steroidogenesis and subsequent concentrations of circulating endogenous hormones. This is also suspected to occur in Arctic predatory species, such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and a study was therefore...... conducted in Greenland sledge dogs (Canis familiaris) as a sentinel species for adverse effects on steroid homeostasis. The control and exposed groups were composed of four sister-bitches all fed pork fat (Suis suis) and organohalogen contaminated minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber...

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. Bone as a surrogate tissue to monitor metals in baleen whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vighi, Morgana; Borrell, Asunción; Aguilar, Alex

    2017-03-01

    Metals are massively deposited in the marine environment through direct emissions or atmospheric dry and wet depositions, a process since long enhanced by human activities. Metal contamination in the marine organisms has been increasingly investigated, but most research focuses on few tissues, elements and species considered indicative. Baleen whales have been scarcely studied in this respect. Here we contribute to the fragmented knowledge on this field examining the concentrations of zinc, copper, lead, titanium and strontium in the bone of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) from NW Spain and W Iceland. Bone was selected because it is a tissue commonly available in archival historic collections, and it is therefore useful to examine long-term trends in metal pollution. We tested differences between populations and we investigated age- and sex-related accumulation trends, as well as the occurrence of placental transfer. Sr concentrations and Pb accumulation rates with age were significantly higher in individuals from NW Spain than in those from W Iceland. Placental transfer occurred, at different levels, for all metals: as a result fetuses showed significantly higher Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations than adults. After birth, only Zn and Pb concentrations significantly increased with age. Through this study we contributed to fill some gaps in the knowledge regarding metal contamination in marine mammals, and we concluded that bone can be a suitable surrogate tissue to monitor a number of trace elements, provided that dissimilarities in tissue-specific deposition are taken into account when comparing concentrations from different tissues. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. The comparative osteology of the petrotympanic complex (ear region) of extant baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ekdale, Eric G; Berta, Annalisa; Deméré, Thomas A

    2011-01-01

    Anatomical comparisons of the ear region of baleen whales (Mysticeti) are provided through detailed osteological descriptions and high-resolution photographs of the petrotympanic complex (tympanic bulla and petrosal bone) of all extant species of mysticete cetaceans. Salient morphological features are illustrated and identified, including overall shape of the bulla, size of the conical process of the bulla, morphology of the promontorium, and the size and shape of the anterior process of the petrosal. We place our comparative osteological observations into a phylogenetic context in order to initiate an exploration into petrotympanic evolution within Mysticeti. The morphology of the petrotympanic complex is diagnostic for individual species of baleen whale (e.g., sigmoid and conical processes positioned at midline of bulla in Balaenoptera musculus; confluence of fenestra cochleae and perilymphatic foramen in Eschrichtius robustus), and several mysticete clades are united by derived characteristics. Balaenids and neobalaenids share derived features of the bulla, such as a rhomboid shape and a reduced anterior lobe (swelling) in ventral aspect, and eschrichtiids share derived morphologies of the petrosal with balaenopterids, including loss of a medial promontory groove and dorsomedial elongation of the promontorium. Monophyly of Balaenoidea (Balaenidae and Neobalaenidae) and Balaenopteroidea (Balaenopteridae and Eschrichtiidae) was recovered in phylogenetic analyses utilizing data exclusively from the petrotympanic complex. This study fills a major gap in our knowledge of the complex structures of the mysticete petrotympanic complex, which is an important anatomical region for the interpretation of the evolutionary history of mammals. In addition, we introduce a novel body of phylogenetically informative characters from the ear region of mysticetes. Our detailed anatomical descriptions, illustrations, and comparisons provide valuable data for current and future

  15. The comparative osteology of the petrotympanic complex (ear region of extant baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eric G Ekdale

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Anatomical comparisons of the ear region of baleen whales (Mysticeti are provided through detailed osteological descriptions and high-resolution photographs of the petrotympanic complex (tympanic bulla and petrosal bone of all extant species of mysticete cetaceans. Salient morphological features are illustrated and identified, including overall shape of the bulla, size of the conical process of the bulla, morphology of the promontorium, and the size and shape of the anterior process of the petrosal. We place our comparative osteological observations into a phylogenetic context in order to initiate an exploration into petrotympanic evolution within Mysticeti. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The morphology of the petrotympanic complex is diagnostic for individual species of baleen whale (e.g., sigmoid and conical processes positioned at midline of bulla in Balaenoptera musculus; confluence of fenestra cochleae and perilymphatic foramen in Eschrichtius robustus, and several mysticete clades are united by derived characteristics. Balaenids and neobalaenids share derived features of the bulla, such as a rhomboid shape and a reduced anterior lobe (swelling in ventral aspect, and eschrichtiids share derived morphologies of the petrosal with balaenopterids, including loss of a medial promontory groove and dorsomedial elongation of the promontorium. Monophyly of Balaenoidea (Balaenidae and Neobalaenidae and Balaenopteroidea (Balaenopteridae and Eschrichtiidae was recovered in phylogenetic analyses utilizing data exclusively from the petrotympanic complex. SIGNIFICANCE: This study fills a major gap in our knowledge of the complex structures of the mysticete petrotympanic complex, which is an important anatomical region for the interpretation of the evolutionary history of mammals. In addition, we introduce a novel body of phylogenetically informative characters from the ear region of mysticetes. Our detailed anatomical descriptions, illustrations, and

  16. Adapting to a warmer ocean--seasonal shift of baleen whale movements over three decades.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christian Ramp

    Full Text Available Global warming poses particular challenges to migratory species, which face changes to the multiple environments occupied during migration. For many species, the timing of migration between summer and winter grounds and also within-season movements are crucial to maximise exploitation of temporarily abundant prey resources in feeding areas, themselves adapting to the warming planet. We investigated the temporal variation in the occurrence of fin (Balaenoptera physalus and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae in a North Atlantic summer feeding ground, the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada, from 1984 to 2010 using a long-term study of individually identifiable animals. These two sympatric species both shifted their date of arrival at a previously undocumented rate of more than 1 day per year earlier over the study period thus maintaining the approximate 2-week difference in arrival of the two species and enabling the maintenance of temporal niche separation. However, the departure date of both species also shifted earlier but at different rates resulting in increasing temporal overlap over the study period indicating that this separation may be starting to erode. Our analysis revealed that the trend in arrival was strongly related to earlier ice break-up and rising sea surface temperature, likely triggering earlier primary production. The observed changes in phenology in response to ocean warming are a remarkable example of phenotypic plasticity and may partly explain how baleen whales were able to survive a number of changes in climate over the last several million years. However, it is questionable whether the observed rate of change in timing can be maintained. Substantial modification to the distribution or annual life cycle of these species might be required to keep up with the ongoing warming of the oceans.

  17. Adapting to a Warmer Ocean—Seasonal Shift of Baleen Whale Movements over Three Decades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramp, Christian; Delarue, Julien; Palsbøll, Per J.; Sears, Richard; Hammond, Philip S.

    2015-01-01

    Global warming poses particular challenges to migratory species, which face changes to the multiple environments occupied during migration. For many species, the timing of migration between summer and winter grounds and also within-season movements are crucial to maximise exploitation of temporarily abundant prey resources in feeding areas, themselves adapting to the warming planet. We investigated the temporal variation in the occurrence of fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in a North Atlantic summer feeding ground, the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada), from 1984 to 2010 using a long-term study of individually identifiable animals. These two sympatric species both shifted their date of arrival at a previously undocumented rate of more than 1day per year earlier over the study period thus maintaining the approximate 2-week difference in arrival of the two species and enabling the maintenance of temporal niche separation. However, the departure date of both species also shifted earlier but at different rates resulting in increasing temporal overlap over the study period indicating that this separation may be starting to erode. Our analysis revealed that the trend in arrival was strongly related to earlier ice break-up and rising sea surface temperature, likely triggering earlier primary production. The observed changes in phenology in response to ocean warming are a remarkable example of phenotypic plasticity and may partly explain how baleen whales were able to survive a number of changes in climate over the last several million years. However, it is questionable whether the observed rate of change in timing can be maintained. Substantial modification to the distribution or annual life cycle of these species might be required to keep up with the ongoing warming of the oceans. PMID:25785462

  18. Adapting to a warmer ocean--seasonal shift of baleen whale movements over three decades.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramp, Christian; Delarue, Julien; Palsbøll, Per J; Sears, Richard; Hammond, Philip S

    2015-01-01

    Global warming poses particular challenges to migratory species, which face changes to the multiple environments occupied during migration. For many species, the timing of migration between summer and winter grounds and also within-season movements are crucial to maximise exploitation of temporarily abundant prey resources in feeding areas, themselves adapting to the warming planet. We investigated the temporal variation in the occurrence of fin (Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in a North Atlantic summer feeding ground, the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada), from 1984 to 2010 using a long-term study of individually identifiable animals. These two sympatric species both shifted their date of arrival at a previously undocumented rate of more than 1 day per year earlier over the study period thus maintaining the approximate 2-week difference in arrival of the two species and enabling the maintenance of temporal niche separation. However, the departure date of both species also shifted earlier but at different rates resulting in increasing temporal overlap over the study period indicating that this separation may be starting to erode. Our analysis revealed that the trend in arrival was strongly related to earlier ice break-up and rising sea surface temperature, likely triggering earlier primary production. The observed changes in phenology in response to ocean warming are a remarkable example of phenotypic plasticity and may partly explain how baleen whales were able to survive a number of changes in climate over the last several million years. However, it is questionable whether the observed rate of change in timing can be maintained. Substantial modification to the distribution or annual life cycle of these species might be required to keep up with the ongoing warming of the oceans.

  19. 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…

  20. Attitudes of Nunavut Inuit toward Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    KRISTIN H. WESTDAL; JEFF W. HIGDON; STEVEN H. FERGUSON

    2013-01-01

    .... Interviews provided data on interactions between Inuit and killer whales, physical descriptions and nature of killer whales in this region, overall opinion of interviewees with respect to killer...

  1. 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...

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

    OpenAIRE

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:23087648

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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....

  10. Arteriovenous Patterns in Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    time in cold storage, and therefore yielded varying results. Nonetheless, all specimens examined were beneficial to the process and added various...to thermoregulation . We observed a sizable arteriovenous structure suggestive of counter-current heat exchange (CCHE) not only in the lingual and...surfaces in contact with cold water. An analogous structure was described on the palatine surface of the bowhead whale (Mead, Werth and George, 2013

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-01-01

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

  12. 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…

  13. Discerning between recurrent gene flow and recent divergence under a finite-site mutation model applied to North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) populations

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Palsboll, PJ; Berube, M; Aguilar, A; Notarbartolo-Di-Sciara, G; Nielsen, R

    Genetic divergence among conspecific subpopulations can be due to either low recurrent gene flow or recent divergence and no gene flow. Here we present a modification of an earlier method developed by Nielsen and Wakeley (2001), which accommodates a finite-site mutation model, to assess which of the

  14. Whale Watching in the Gulf of Maine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carkin, Clayton A.

    1985-01-01

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

  15. 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

  16. Organohalogens in A Whale-Blubber-Supplemented Diet Affects Hepatic Retinol and Renal Tocopherol Concentrations in Greenland Sled Dogs (Canis familiaris)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kirkegaard, M.; Sonne, C.; Jakobsen, Jette

    2010-01-01

    The aim of this study was to examine the plasma, liver, and kidney status of vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin E (-tocopherol) in two groups of Greenland sled dogs (Canis familiaris), with a total number of 16 bitches and 8 pups. The dogs were fed either minke whale (Balaenoptera acuterostrata......) blubber (exposed dogs) or uncontaminated (control group) porcine fat for up to 12 to 21 mo of age. The daily intake of 50-200 g whale blubber (mean: 112 g) constituted between 10.4 and 11.7 mu g/kg body weight Sigma organohalogen contaminants (OHC) (or between 4.6 and 6.1 mu g/kg body weight Sigma...... polychlorinated biphenyls [PCB]). Retinol was approximately 18% and -tocopherol 22% higher in the diet of the exposed dogs compared to controls. In adipose tissue, mean of sigma OHC was 92 ng/g lipid weight (lw) and 5005 ng/g lw for all control (n = 12) and exposed dogs (n = 10), respectively. Hepatic retinol...

  17. 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...

  18. Competition among penguins and cetaceans reveals trophic cascades in the western Ross Sea, Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ainley, David G; Ballard, Grant; Dugger, Katie M

    2006-08-01

    An apparent trophic cascade that appears during summer in the western Ross Sea, Antarctica, explains why the Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum) there becomes cannibalistic; its principal prey, crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias) becomes scarce; and the diatom community is minimally grazed compared to adjacent areas. The krill is the major grazer of diatoms. On the basis of fieldwork at Ross Island, we suggest that the cascade results from foraging by unusually numerous Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae), minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis), and fish-eating killer whales (Orcinus orca). These species and other top predators apparently deplete the krill and silverfish. In drawing our conclusions, we were aided by two "natural experiments." In one "experiment," large, grounded icebergs altered the seasonal pattern of change in regional sea-ice cover, but not the seasonal change in penguin diet and foraging behavior that was also detected during the pre-iceberg era. In the other "experiment," a short-term polynya (opening in the ice) brought penguins and whales together in a confined area, this time altering both penguin diet and foraging behavior. We conclude that the foraging of penguins and whales, and not a formerly hypothesized seasonal decrease in sea-ice cover, explains (1) the annual switch in the penguins' prey from krill to silverfish, (2) the subsequent lengthening of penguin foraging trips, and (3) a marked decline of cetaceans in the area later in the season. Reduction in the middle-trophic-level prey is expressed in the relaxed grazing pressure on phytoplankton.

  19. Humpback whale bioacoustics: From form to function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mercado, Eduardo, III

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thums, Michele; Hanson, Christine E.; McMahon, Clive R.; Hindell, Mark A.

    2017-01-01

    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. PMID:28405350

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. Selective pressurized liquid extraction of pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in a whale earplug (earwax): a novel method for analyzing organic contaminants in lipid-rich matrices.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, Eleanor M; Trumble, Stephen J; Subedi, Bikram; Sanders, Rebel; Usenko, Sascha

    2013-12-06

    ) and 0.0017 to 2.9ngg(-1), respectively. Pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs, were measured in a single blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) cerumen lamina at concentrations ranging from 0.11 to 150ng g(-1). Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. 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...

  9. Having a Whale of a Time

    Science.gov (United States)

    du Feu, Chris

    2009-01-01

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

  10. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R Ewan

    2014-09-01

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

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Blue Whales Respond to Anthropogenic Noise

    OpenAIRE

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

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic noise may significantly impact exposed marine mammals. This work studied the vocalization response of endangered blue whales to anthropogenic noise sources in the mid-frequency range using passive acoustic monitoring in the Southern California Bight. Blue whales were less likely to produce calls when mid-frequency active sonar was present. This reduction was more pronounced when the sonar source was closer to the animal, at higher sound levels. The animals were equally likely to...

  15. 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.

  16. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Beekmans, Bas

    2017-01-01

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

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. Quantifying the Effects of Prey Abundance on Killer Whale Reproduction

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Eric J. Ward; Elizabeth E. Holmes; Ken C. Balcomb

    2009-01-01

    .... We assessed the impact of a wide range of factors on the fecundity of two threatened populations of killer whales Orcinus orca, specifically whether killer whale production is limited by availability...

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. A Whale of a Panorama

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for A Whale of a Panorama (QTVR) More than 1.5 years into their exploration of Mars, both of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers continue to send a cornucopia of images to Earth. The results are so spectacular that Deputy Project Manager John Callas recently described them as 'an embarrassment of riches.' Spirit produced this image mosaic, nicknamed the 'Whale Panorama,' two-thirds of the way to the summit of 'Husband Hill,' where the rover investigated martian rocks. On the right side of the panorama is a tilted layer of rocks dubbed 'Larry's Outcrop,' one of several tilted outcrops that scientists examined in April, 2005. They used spatial information to create geologic maps showing the compass orientation and degree of tilting of rock formations in the vicinity. Such information is key to geologic fieldwork because it helps establish if rock layers have been warped since they formed. In this case, scientists have also been studying the mineral and chemical differences, which show that some rocks have been more highly altered than others. In the foreground, in the middle of the image mosaic, Spirit is shown with the scientific instruments at the end of its robotic arm positioned on a rock target known as 'Ahab.' The rover was busy collecting elemental chemistry and mineralogy data on the rock at the same time that it was taking 50 individual snapshots with its five panoramic camera filters to create this stunning view of the martian scenery. The twin tracks of the rover's all-terrain wheels are clearly visible on the left. This mosaic of images spans about 220 degrees from left to right and is an approximate true-color rendering of the Mars terrain acquired through the panoramic camera's 750-, 530-, and 430-nanometer filters. Spirit collected these images from its 497th martian day, or sol, through its 500th sol (May 27 through May 30, 2005).

  8. Atlantic Canada : Dancing with whales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Reid, W.

    2003-03-03

    A major question in the Atlantic provinces that needs resolving concerns the how much waters and sea floors that can be considered protected area before disruption of industrial activity in the vicinity of those areas occurs, especially where there is potential for natural gas and crude oil. Another question that needs pondering relates to the amount of money that the federal government is willing to spend to study the effects on marine habitats resulting from this industrial activity. The consideration being given to a region called the Gully, as to whether it should be declared an official marine protected zone, brought these questions to the forefront. A canyon approximately 70 kilometres (km) long and 20 km wide, the Gully is a potentially resource-rich area located in deep water 300 km east of Cape Breton at the edge of the Scotian Shelf. A pilot project was implemented in 1998, but no clear decision has yet been made concerning the status of the Gully. According to a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is busy obtaining the proper approvals for its designation as a fully protected area. The northern bottlenose whale can be found in this canyon. This professor advocates a ban on industrial activity in the vicinity of the Gully, as he believes that seismic surveys and exploratory drilling pose a danger to the whales. He would like to see more funding allocated to research programs. Companies conducting seismic surveys in the vicinity of the Gully have to comply with environmental standards.

  9. 75 FR 28779 - Prince of Whales Resource Advisory Committee

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-24

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

  10. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

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

  11. 75 FR 2853 - False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-19

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XT76 False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team... (NOAA), Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of establishment of a False Killer Whale Take Reduction... Insular, and Palmyra Atoll stocks of false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in the Hawaii-based deep...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The prevalence of entanglements is seasonal with the peaks in activity coinciding with the breeding migrations of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae and southern right whales Eubalaena australis, the two large whale species that are the most prone to entanglement. Generalised linear models with a Poisson or ...

  13. 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.

  14. The Jan Mayen whaling industry - Its exploitation of the Greenland right whale and its impact on the marine ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hacquebord, L; Skreslet, S

    2004-01-01

    After a relatively late discovery of the island, Dutch whalers used Jan Mayen as a base for their whaling industry. They built stations on the west coast of the island where they rendered whale oil from the blubber of the Greenland right whales. Altogether the whalers stayed for twenty-two years on

  15. Seasonal fluctuations in occurrence of inshore Bryde's whales in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Multispecies associations with common dolphins Delphinus capensis and Cape gannets Morus capensis were most common in summer and autumn, when feeding activity was highest. Keywords: Balaenoptera edeni, chlorophyll a, generalised linear models, multispecies associations, seasonality, SST African Journal of ...

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tervo, Outi; Christoffersen, Mads; FØrasier, Timothy

    2011-01-01

    , 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...... for this species. Bowhead whale song has long been hypothesized to be produced by male whales as a reproductive advertisement; however, no data on the sex of singers has ever been reported. In this study, we determine the sex of singing bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in Disko Bay, West Greenland, by localizing...

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. How large should whales be?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aaron Clauset

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Williams, Rob; Krkošek, Martin; Ashe, Erin; Branch, Trevor A; Clark, Steve; Hammond, Philip S; Hoyt, Erich; Noren, Dawn P; Rosen, David; Winship, Arliss

    2011-01-01

    .... 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1998-08-01

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

  6. Will a catch share for whales improve social welfare?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Martin D; Asche, Frank; Bennear, Lori S; Havice, Elizabeth; Read, Andrew J; Squires, Dale

    2014-01-01

    We critique a proposal to use catch shares to manage transboundary wildlife resources with potentially high non-extractive values, and we focus on the case of whales. Because whales are impure public goods, a policy that fails to capture all nonmarket benefits (due to free riding) could lead to a suboptimal outcome. Even if free riding were overcome, whale shares would face four implementation challenges. First, a whale share could legitimize the international trade in whale meat and expand the whale meat market. Second, a legal whale trade creates monitoring and enforcement challenges similar to those of organizations that manage highly migratory species such as tuna. Third, a whale share could create a new political economy of management that changes incentives and increases costs for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to achieve the current level of conservation. Fourth, a whale share program creates new logistical challenges for quota definition and allocation regardless of whether the market for whale products expands or contracts. Each of these issues, if left unaddressed, could result in lower overall welfare for society than under the status quo.

  7. 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.

  8. Whales of New England. Secondary Curriculum.

    Science.gov (United States)

    New England Aquarium, Boston, MA.

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

  9. Successful euthanasia of a juvenile fin whale.

    OpenAIRE

    Daoust, P Y; Ortenburger, A I

    2001-01-01

    A stranded juvenile fin whale was successfully euthanized with an intravenous injection of sedative and cardioplegic drugs. Veterinarians may face a number of serious difficulties if called to perform this task, and advance preparation is required for successful euthanasia of these animals.

  10. Automated detection of Antarctic blue whale calls.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Socheleau, Francois-Xavier; Leroy, Emmanuelle; Pecci, Andres Carvallo; Samaran, Flore; Bonnel, Julien; Royer, Jean-Yves

    2015-11-01

    This paper addresses the problem of automated detection of Z-calls emitted by Antarctic blue whales (B. m. intermedia). The proposed solution is based on a subspace detector of sigmoidal-frequency signals with unknown time-varying amplitude. This detection strategy takes into account frequency variations of blue whale calls as well as the presence of other transient sounds that can interfere with Z-calls (such as airguns or other whale calls). The proposed method has been tested on more than 105 h of acoustic data containing about 2200 Z-calls (as found by an experienced human operator). This method is shown to have a correct-detection rate of up to more than 15% better than the extensible bioacoustic tool package, a spectrogram-based correlation detector commonly used to study blue whales. Because the proposed method relies on subspace detection, it does not suffer from some drawbacks of correlation-based detectors. In particular, it does not require the choice of an a priori fixed and subjective template. The analytic expression of the detection performance is also derived, which provides crucial information for higher level analyses such as animal density estimation from acoustic data. Finally, the detection threshold automatically adapts to the soundscape in order not to violate a user-specified false alarm rate.

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    All known records of pygmy right whales Caperea marginata in Namibia since 1978 are summarised for the first time, including 12 strandings (live and recently dead animals) and skeletal remains from at least eight more individuals. The majority of strandings and remains were located in the Walvis Bay region, where the ...

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. Expression and Purification of Sperm Whale Myoglobin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Stephen; Indivero, Virginia; Burkhard, Caroline

    2010-01-01

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

  17. Semi-Automatic Identification of Humpback Whales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    E.B. Ranguelova (Elena); M.J. Huiskes (Mark); E.J. Pauwels (Eric); K. Dawson-Howe; A.C. Kokaram; F. Shevlin

    2004-01-01

    htmlabstractThis paper describes current work on a photo-id system for humpback whales. Individuals of this species can be uniquely identied by the light and dark pigmentation patches on their tails. We propose semi-automatic algorithm based on marker-controlled watershed transformation for

  18. 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...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    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 qualitatively investigates ...

  20. 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.

  1. The novel evolution of the sperm whale genome.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Warren, Wesley C; Kuderna, Lukas; Alexander, Alana; Catchen, Julian; Pérez-Silva, José G; López-Otín, Carlos; Quesada, Víctor; Minx, Patrick; Tomlinson, Chad; Montague, Michael J; Farias, Fabiana H G; Walter, Ronald B; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Glenn, Travis; Kieran, Troy J; Wise, Sandra S; Wise, John Pierce; Waterhouse, Robert M; Wise, John Pierce

    2017-09-13

    The sperm whale, made famous by Moby Dick, is one of the most fascinating of all ocean-dwelling species given their unique life history, novel physiological adaptations to hunting squid at extreme ocean depths, and their position as one of the earliest branching toothed whales (Odontoceti). We assembled the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) genome and resequenced individuals from multiple ocean basins to identify new candidate genes for adaptation to an aquatic environment and infer demographic history. Genes crucial for skin integrity appeared to be particularly important in both the sperm whale and other cetaceans. We also find sperm whales experienced a steep population decline during the early Pleistocene epoch. These genomic data add new comparative insight into the evolution of whales. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  2. The Novel Evolution of the Sperm Whale Genome

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuderna, Lukas; Alexander, Alana; Catchen, Julian; Pérez-Silva, José G; López-Otín, Carlos; Minx, Patrick; Tomlinson, Chad; Farias, Fabiana H G; Walter, Ronald B; Marques-Bonet, Tomas; Glenn, Travis; Kieran, Troy J; Wise, Sandra S; Wise, John Pierce; Waterhouse, Robert M; Wise, John Pierce

    2017-01-01

    Abstract The sperm whale, made famous by Moby Dick, is one of the most fascinating of all ocean-dwelling species given their unique life history, novel physiological adaptations to hunting squid at extreme ocean depths, and their position as one of the earliest branching toothed whales (Odontoceti). We assembled the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) genome and resequenced individuals from multiple ocean basins to identify new candidate genes for adaptation to an aquatic environment and infer demographic history. Genes crucial for skin integrity appeared to be particularly important in both the sperm whale and other cetaceans. We also find sperm whales experienced a steep population decline during the early Pleistocene epoch. These genomic data add new comparative insight into the evolution of whales. PMID:28985367

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-30

    Service, California State Fish and Game, to film and television companies, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He has an excellent reputation and decades of...Perryman and Lynn (2002), a paper on gray whale condition using aerial photogrammetry . We figured that the absolute longest whale we would ever be...experience in locating gray whale / orca interactions for BBC film crews. 9. Refrigeration and freezing equipment design completed and ordered, and

  6. 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 ...

  7. The function of roll in foraging behaviour of sperm whales

    OpenAIRE

    Hartvig, Eva Christel

    2011-01-01

    Though direct experiments to test echolocation in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) remain impossible, the indirect evidence is overwhelming that one function of their clicks is echolocation used during foraging, as has been shown for other toothed whales. In this thesis, the aim was to test: 1) the hypothesis by Fristrup and Harbison (2002) that the sperm whale might be using downwelling light during the day to spot prey or prey patches as silhouettes against the lighter s...

  8. 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....

  9. 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.

  10. Sea-surface temperature gradients across blue whale and sea turtle foraging trajectories off the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etnoyer, Peter; Canny, David; Mate, Bruce R.; Morgan, Lance E.; Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G.; Nichols, Wallace J.

    2006-02-01

    Sea-surface temperature (SST) fronts are integral to pelagic ecology in the North Pacific Ocean, so it is necessary to understand their character and distribution, and the way these features influence the behavior of endangered and highly migratory species. Here, telemetry data from sixteen satellite-tagged blue whales ( Balaenoptera musculus) and sea turtles ( Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, and Lepidochelys olivacea) are employed to characterize 'biologically relevant' SST fronts off Baja California Sur. High residence times are used to identify presumed foraging areas, and SST gradients are calculated across advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) images of these regions. The resulting values are compared to classic definitions of SST fronts in the oceanographic literature. We find subtle changes in surface temperature (between 0.01 and 0.10 °C/km) across the foraging trajectories, near the lowest end of the oceanographic scale (between 0.03 and 0.3 °C/km), suggesting that edge-detection algorithms using gradient thresholds >0.10 °C/km may overlook pelagic habitats in tropical waters. We use this information to sensitize our edge-detection algorithm, and to identify persistent concentrations of subtle SST fronts in the Northeast Pacific Ocean between 2002 and 2004. The lower-gradient threshold increases the number of fronts detected, revealing more potential habitats in different places than we find with a higher-gradient threshold. This is the expected result, but it confirms that pelagic habitat can be overlooked, and that the temperature gradient parameter is an important one.

  11. 77 FR 56613 - Marine Mammals; File No. 16325

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-09-13

    ... for a permit to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), blue whales (B. musculus), sei whales (B. borealis), minke whales (B. acutorostrata), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and killer whales (Orcinus orca) had been submitted by the above-named...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. '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.

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

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    Prakash

    2009-10-29

    Oct 29, 2009 ... In 1936, Remington Kellogg, the authority on fossil whales of his day, observed that no fossil whales had been found in the Indian Subcontinent, and that there was 'very strong evidence that they had not as yet invaded these regions.' Kellogg's inference, though reasonable at the time, has been proven ...

  16. Double Teeth in the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus L.)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boschma, H.

    1938-01-01

    Recently a fairly large number of teeth of the sperm whale were acquired for the collections of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historic These teeth were picked out from an extensive material of sperm whale teeth collected in the Antarctic region and preserved by the whalers for their commercial

  17. Like most other rorquals in the southern hemisphere, sei whales ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    2010-04-21

    Apr 21, 2010 ... whales has been criticized (De la Mare 1984, Cooke. 1985), most of these criticisms ..... 35 ft. Fig. 3: Thicknesses of mammary glands in sei whales at Donkergat, 1962–1963 (range, mean and one standard deviation indicated) ...... non-lactating but with wide ducts and apparently pathological tissue. The.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Building a virtual model of a baleen whale: Phase 2 Dr...display or manipulate the entire volume in real time. Throughout the entire body of the whale, each individual scan section contains pixels that are 0.6

  19. Deep Mapping of Teuthivorous Whales and Their Prey Fields

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-01-01

    Ocean, Cetacean, Beaked Whale, Risso’s Dolphin, Predator- Prey, Anthropogenic Noise , Sonar, Foraging, Ecosystem, Deep-Sea, Heterogeneity, Patchiness 16...Research and Development Program SOAR Southern California Anti- submarine Warfare Range TOTO Tongue of the Ocean UDP User Datagram Protocol...Keywords Echosounder, Bathypelagic, Pelagic, Ocean, Marine Mammal, Beaked Whale, Risso’s Dolphin, Predator-Prey, Anthropogenic Noise , Sonar, Foraging

  20. 33 CFR 117.927 - Coosaw River (Whale Branch).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-07-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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

  4. 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 ...

  5. Marine Subsistence--Case of the Bowhead Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Camerino, Vicki

    1977-01-01

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) voted to impose a moratorium on Eskimo bowhead whale hunting. Since the U.S. did not exercise its option to object, had previously avowed support for Alaskan subsistence lifestyles, and had previously maintained legal exemption for the Eskimo, there is currently great Alaskan resentment. (JC)

  6. 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

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    spamer

    theodolite. Field and analytical techniques used for humpback whale observations from the same site have been detailed by Best et al. (1995), and those used for right whales were identical. The average swimming speed was defined as the sum of the distances covered between each theodolite position divided by the time.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Discovery of Right Whales in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, J C; Clark, E

    1963-07-19

    Two whales were observed closely for an hour off Sarasota, Florida, by residents who provided observations of structural details which identify only the right whale, Eubalaena glacialis, a temperate and subpolar species previously known to range to the Florida east coast, but not to enter the Gulf of Mexico.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitehead, Hal

    2015-03-16

    Menopause evolved in humans and whales, presumably because older females can help their kin. But how do they help? New research shows that post-menopausal female killer whales lead foraging groups. This leadership is most significant when food is scarce. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  14. The electrocardiogram and heart rate in three mid-sized whale species

    OpenAIRE

    Bickett, Natalie

    2017-01-01

    Although there are many studies describing the behavior/ecology of whales, little is known of their physiology. Furthermore, the limited data available regarding cardiac function in whales have been collected under atypical conditions. To address this, we applied electrocardiogram (ECG) recorders with a suction cup attachment technique to a killer whale (Orcinus orca), pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus), and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) to investigate heart rate regulation. The ...

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. Beaked Whales and Pilot Whales in the Alboran Sea SW Mediterranean

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-09-30

    was Silvia Revenga, Jefa de Servicio de la Subd. Gral. de Recursos Marinos y Acuicultura de la Dirección General de Recursos Pesqueros y Acuicultura...on long-finned pilot whales diving and foraging behavior These cruises developed and tested methods to measure social behavior and communication in

  18. 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)

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Utrecht, van W.L.

    1965-01-01

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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-07-01

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

  3. 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).

  4. 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.

  5. Click production during breathing in a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wahlberg, Magnus; Frantzis, Alexandros; Alexiadou, Paraskevi; Madsen, Peter T; Møhl, Bertel

    2005-12-01

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was observed at the surface with above- and underwater video and synchronized underwater sound recordings. During seven instances the whale ventilated its lungs while clicking. From this observation it is inferred that click production is achieved by pressurizing air in the right nasal passage, pneumatically disconnected from the lungs and the left nasal passage, and that air flows anterior through the phonic lips into the distal air sac. The capability of breathing and clicking at the same time is unique among studied odontocetes and relates to the extreme asymmetry of the sperm whale sound-producing forehead.

  6. Click production during breathing in a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wahlberg, Magnus; Frantzis, Alexandros; Alexiadou, Paraskevi; Madsen, Peter T.; Møhl, Bertel

    2005-12-01

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was observed at the surface with above- and underwater video and synchronized underwater sound recordings. During seven instances the whale ventilated its lungs while clicking. From this observation it is inferred that click production is achieved by pressurizing air in the right nasal passage, pneumatically disconnected from the lungs and the left nasal passage, and that air flows anterior through the phonic lips into the distal air sac. The capability of breathing and clicking at the same time is unique among studied odontocetes and relates to the extreme asymmetry of the sperm whale sound-producing forehead.

  7. The hearing gene Prestin unites echolocating bats and whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Ying; Liu, Zhen; Shi, Peng; Zhang, Jianzhi

    2010-01-26

    Echolocation is a sensory mechanism for locating, ranging and identifying objects which involves the emission of calls into the environment and listening to the echoes returning from objects [1]. Only microbats and toothed whales have acquired sophisticated echolocation, indispensable for their orientation and foraging [1]. Although the bat and whale biosonars originated independently and differ substantially in many aspects [2], we here report the surprising finding that the bottlenose dolphin, a toothed whale, is clustered with microbats in the gene tree constructed using protein sequences encoded by the hearing gene Prestin. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Techniques and instrumentation effort for whale migration tracking

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1975-01-01

    The following aspects of a research program concerned with tracking gray whales were documented: (1) design, fabrication and testing of a girdle-type harness and associated gear (release mechanism, tracking transmitter, xenon flasher), (2) design, fabrication and testing of instrumentation packs (subminiature recorder, sensor, electronics), (3) field preparations for the January-February 1974 expedition off Mexico, (4) travel arrangements, (5) preliminary field report (capture and handling of juvenile whales, instrumentation and housing tests, harness abrasion and chafing, respiration measurements, sea tracking, distribution, number, and behavior of whales at Lopez Mateos), (6) review, data reduction, and analysis of results.

  9. A right whale pootree: classification trees of faecal hormones identify reproductive states in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corkeron, Peter; Rolland, Rosalind M; Hunt, Kathleen E; Kraus, Scott D

    2017-01-01

    Immunoassay of hormone metabolites extracted from faecal samples of free-ranging large whales can provide biologically relevant information on reproductive state and stress responses. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis Müller 1776) are an ideal model for testing the conservation value of faecal metabolites. Almost all North Atlantic right whales are individually identified, most of the population is sighted each year, and systematic survey effort extends back to 1986. North Atlantic right whales number whales of known reproductive state. Our tree correctly classified the age class, sex and reproductive state of 83% of 112 faecal samples from known individual whales. Pregnant females, lactating females and both mature and immature males were classified reliably using our model. Non-reproductive [i.e. 'resting' (not pregnant and not lactating) and immature] females proved the most unreliable to distinguish. There were three individual males that, given their age, would traditionally be considered immature but that our tree classed as mature males, possibly calling for a re-evaluation of their reproductive status. Our analysis reiterates the importance of considering the reproductive state of whales when assessing the relationship between cortisol concentrations and stress. Overall, these results confirm findings from previous univariate statistical analyses, but with a more robust multivariate approach that may prove useful for the multiple-analyte data sets that are increasingly used by conservation physiologists.

  10. 77 FR 33198 - Marine Mammals; File No. 16019

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-06-05

    ... research are listed as threatened or endangered: Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whale (B. physalus), ] humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), sei whale (B. borealis), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill sea turtle...

  11. 78 FR 2955 - Marine Mammals; File Nos. 14451, 14353, and 13846

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-15

    ... blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (B. physalus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sei whales ] (B. borealis), and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), during aerial and vessel... Darling, Ph.D., Whale Trust, P.O. Box 384, Tofino, BC V0R2Z0, Canada, have applied for amendments to...

  12. 76 FR 30919 - Marine Mammals; File No. 15844

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-05-27

    ... feeding behaviors of humpback, killer, and minke whales, which would enhance information-based resource... novaeangliae), killer whales (Orcinus orca) and minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). DATES: Written... collect sloughed skin and/or feces to study humpback whales, killer whales and minke whale. Research would...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  14. Passive acoustic detection of deep-diving beaked whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2008-01-01

    Beaked whales can remain submerged for an hour or more and are difficult to sight when they come to the surface to breathe. Passive acoustic detection (PAD) not only complements traditional visual-based methods for detecting these species but also can be more effective because beaked whales produce...... clicks regularly to echolocate on prey during deep foraging dives. The effectiveness of PAD for beaked whales depends not only on the acoustic behavior and output of the animals but also on environmental conditions and the quality of the passive sonar implemented. A primary constraint on the range....../s, a receiver close to the surface should be able to detect acoustically Cuvier's beaked whales with a high probability at distances up to 0.7  km, provided the listening duration exceeds the deep dive interval, about 2.5  h on average. Detection ranges beyond 4  km are unlikely and would require low ambient...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

    Maneuverability is one of the most important and least understood aspects of animal locomotion. The hydrofoil-like flippers of cetaceans are thought to function as control surfaces that effect maneuvers, but quantitative tests of this hypothesis have been lacking. Here, we constructed a simple hydrodynamic model to predict the longitudinal-axis roll performance of fin whales, and we tested its predictions against kinematic data recorded by on-board movement sensors from 27 free-swimming fin whales. We found that for a given swimming speed and roll excursion, the roll velocity of fin whales calculated from our field data agrees well with that predicted by our hydrodynamic model. Although fluke and body torsion may further influence performance, our results indicate that lift generated by the flippers is sufficient to drive most of the longitudinal-axis rolls used by fin whales for feeding and maneuvering. © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. Acoustic Behaviour of Bottlenose Dolphins and Pilot Whales

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jensen, Frants Havmand

    2011-01-01

    of sight of surface observers. These species differ in the acoustic habitats they dwell in, as well as in group structure and foraging ecology. The overall aim of this thesis has been to address, in a comparative fashion, how these two species behave acoustically in the wild, and how they have adapted...... and extend the range of depths they can cover while producing sounds pneumatically. Surprisingly, I find that the frequency content of pilot whale calls, including the time/frequency modulation patterns that seem to convey information for some toothed whales, is unaffected by depth despite the compression....... As a consequence, the frequency contours that convey acoustic signatures in delphinids are unaffected by changes in depth as well as changes in the size of different nasal air sacs during sound production. Finally, both bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales are the subject of heavy whale watching activities...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    African Journal of Marine Science ... in order to assess the reliability of natural marks for long-term photo-identification studies. ... Results showed that Cuvier's beaked whales were extensively marked (96% of population; mean = 48 marks per ...

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...2009. Polar bears in Northwest Greenland – An interview survey about the catch and the climate . Meddelelser om Grønland. [In Press, refereed] Heide

  3. Population Parameters of Blainvilles and Cuviers Beaked Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    and Biologging: Two Blainville´s beaked whales were tagged in El Hierro in 2013 with DTAGs thanks to a collaborative project with M. Johnson ( Univ ...cetacean populations. Long-term monitoring of beaked whale populations in El Hierro, a nearly pristine habitat far from areas of sonar testing or...marine industry, enables valuable studies of demographic trends and life history dictated mainly by natural parameters. El Hierro is in process of

  4. Blue whale earplug reveals lifetime contaminant exposure and hormone profiles

    OpenAIRE

    Trumble, Stephen J.; Robinson, Eleanor M.; Berman-Kowalewski, Michelle; Potter, Charles W.; Usenko, Sascha

    2013-01-01

    Currently, obtaining lifetime chemical profiles (i.e., from birth to death) is extremely rare and difficult for most of Earth’s animals. We have developed a unique approach to quantify hormone and contaminant lifetime profiles for an individual blue whale with a 6-mo resolution using the wax earplug as a natural matrix capable of archiving and preserving these temporal profiles. Using a male blue whale earplug, chemical analysis reveals lifetime patterns of mercury and organic pollutant expos...

  5. Baleen whale ecology and feeding habitat use in the Bay of Fundy, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, K. T. A.; Brown, M.; Taggart, C. T.

    2016-02-01

    The Bay of Fundy on the east coast of Canada contains a rich supply of zooplankton and fish that provide food for diverse baleen whales. Endangered North Atlantic right whales and other large baleen whales have been monitored in the Bay of Fundy at least weekly during every summer since the 1980s. Over the most recent years, significant declines in sightings and residency of the right whales have been observed in this habitat; hypothetically indicative of a substantial and multi-year reduction in food supply. Whether concurrent changes in other baleen whales and, by inference, their respective food supplies have also occurred is unknown. This study quantifies changes in baleen whale ecology in the Bay over three decades with a focus on comparing (1) recent declines in right whale sightings to long-term historical trends, and (2) variation in right whale sightings to other large baleen whale species who share similar zooplankton food sources (e.g., sei whales) or rely on different food sources (e.g., fin, humpback). First, survey effort is reconstructed as survey track-length and as time-on-effort, and the space-time variations in effort are quantified. Then, variation in whale density indices and residency among surveys and survey-years are examined through effort-corrected sightings of all baleen whale species, as well as effort-corrected sightings of photo-identified right whale individuals. Results are then interpreted within the context of the oceanographic and food supply variation in the habitat.

  6. 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.

  7. Mediterranean fin whales at risk from fatal ship strikes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Panigada, Simone; Pesante, Giovanna; Zanardelli, Margherita; Capoulade, Frédéric; Gannier, Alexandre; Weinrich, Mason T

    2006-10-01

    This paper reviews and analyzes ship collision records for the relatively isolated population of fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea from 1972 to 2001. Out of 287 carcasses, 46 individuals (16.0%) were certainly killed by boats. The minimum mean annual fatal collision rate increased from 1 to 1.7 whales/year from the 1970s to the 1990s. Fatal strike events (82.2%) were reported in or adjacent to the Pelagos Sanctuary, characterized by high levels of traffic and whale concentrations. Among 383 photo-identified whales, 9 (2.4%) had marks that were attributed to a ship impact. The reported rates are unusually high for baleen whales. The high likelihood of unreported fatal strikes combined with other anthropogenic threats suggests an urgent need for a comprehensive, basin-wide conservation strategy, including ship strike mitigation requirements, like real-time monitoring of whale presence and distribution to re-locate ferry routes to areas of lower cetacean density, and reducing ship speed in high cetacean density areas.

  8. Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Brian S; Collins, Kym; Barlow, Jay; Calderan, Susannah; Leaper, Russell; McDonald, Mark; Ensor, Paul; Olson, Paula A; Olavarria, Carlos; Double, Michael C

    2014-03-01

    Previous underwater recordings made in New Zealand have identified a complex sequence of low frequency sounds that have been attributed to blue whales based on similarity to blue whale songs in other areas. Recordings of sounds with these characteristics were made opportunistically during the Southern Ocean Research Partnership's recent Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage. Detections of these sounds occurred all around the South Island of New Zealand during the voyage transits from Nelson, New Zealand to the Antarctic and return. By following acoustic bearings from directional sonobuoys, blue whales were visually detected and confirmed as the source of these sounds. These recordings, together with the historical recordings made northeast of New Zealand, indicate song types that persist over several decades and are indicative of the year-round presence of a population of blue whales that inhabits the waters around New Zealand. Measurements of the four-part vocalizations reveal that blue whale song in this region has changed slowly, but consistently over the past 50 years. The most intense units of these calls were detected as far south as 53°S, which represents a considerable range extension compared to the limited prior data on the spatial distribution of this population.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Fais

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  17. Male sperm whale acoustic behavior observed from multipaths at a single hydrophone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laplanche, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Lopatka, Maciej; Motsch, Jean-François

    2005-10-01

    Sperm whales generate transient sounds (clicks) when foraging. These clicks have been described as echolocation sounds, a result of having measured the source level and the directionality of these signals and having extrapolated results from biosonar tests made on some small odontocetes. The authors propose a passive acoustic technique requiring only one hydrophone to investigate the acoustic behavior of free-ranging sperm whales. They estimate whale pitch angles from the multipath distribution of click energy. They emphasize the close bond between the sperm whale's physical and acoustic activity, leading to the hypothesis that sperm whales might, like some small odontocetes, control click level and rhythm. An echolocation model estimating the range of the sperm whale's targets from the interclick interval is computed and tested during different stages of the whale's dive. Such a hypothesis on the echolocation process would indicate that sperm whales echolocate their prey layer when initiating their dives and follow a methodic technique when foraging.

  18. 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...

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

    Data.gov (United States)

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

  20. 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...

  1. 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...

  2. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Visser, Fleur; Curé, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Lam, Frans-Peter A; Tyack, Peter L; Miller, Patrick 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...

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

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    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

    .... 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Development of Novel Noninvasive Methods of Stress Assessment in Baleen Whales

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-09-30

    ing devices , and successfully performed blow collection at sea from live whales. Blow hormone content, when corrected with a suitable internal...Atlantic right whales (NARW); (2) methodological testing and validation of blow-collecting sampler devices ("sampler testing experiment") to compare...for whale respiratory vapor samples. Conservation Physiology, doi 1 0.1093 /conphys/cow024. Hamilton PK, Knowlton AR, Marx MK. 2007. Right whales tell

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    physiology , and the revised approach is called PCOD (Population Consequences Of Disturbance). In North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis...Bayesian Model to assess right whale biology, 2) assess the relationship between health indicators and reproduction and mortality in right whales, and 3...assess the effects of fishing gear entanglements and sub-lethal vessel strikes on reproduction and mortality in right whales. The objective for FY

  11. Atypical calling by a blue whale in the Gulf of Alaska (L)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stafford, Kathleen M.; Moore, Sue E.

    2005-05-01

    Worldwide, calls from blue whales share the characteristics of being long (>20 s), low-frequency (blue whales recorded in different ocean basins are distinct from one another, leading to the suggestion that populations and/or subspecies may be identified based on call characteristics. An example of anomalous calling behavior by a blue whale in the Gulf of Alaska is reported that may complicate this approach, and that suggests that blue whales can mimic each other's calls. .

  12. 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

  13. Sperm whale behaviour indicates the use of echolocation click buzzes "creaks" in prey capture.

    OpenAIRE

    Miller, Patrick J. O.; Johnson, Mark P.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2004-01-01

    During foraging dives, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) produce long series of regular clicks at 0.5-2 s intervals interspersed with rapid-click buzzes called "creaks". Sound, depth and orientation recording Dtags were attached to 23 whales in the Ligurian Sea and Gulf of Mexico to test whether the behaviour of diving sperm whales supports the hypothesis that creaks are produced during prey capture. Sperm whales spent most of their bottom time within one or two depth bands, apparently fe...

  14. 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...a growing concern especially for several species including blue and right whales that appear to be particularly susceptible. Initial research

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 78 FR 42653 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Atlantic Large Whale Take...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-07-16

    ... discussed using the model to identify areas of high co-occurrence of right whales and humpback whales..., management approach, monitoring plan, and enforcement plan. To solicit additional stakeholder involvement, on...? Although the model successfully identifies the highest areas of large whale and commercial fishing gear co...

  17. 78 FR 34347 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-06-07

    ... Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and... Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica). ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Recovery Plan are... recovery. The Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) has been listed as ``endangered'' under the...

  18. 77 FR 6065 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-02-07

    ... Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Survey AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ([email protected] . SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract The population of Cook Inlet beluga whales found...). The public benefits associated with the results of protection actions on the Cook Inlet beluga whale...

  19. 78 FR 4835 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the North Pacific Right Whale

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-23

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

  20. 50 CFR 226.215 - Critical habitat for the North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica). 226.215 Section 226.215 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE... DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.215 Critical habitat for the North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica). (a) Primary Constituent Elements. The primary constituent elements of the North Pacific right whale...

  1. 50 CFR 226.206 - Critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

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

  2. 77 FR 71259 - Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; False Killer Whale Take...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-29

    ... Operations; False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National... final False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan (FKWTRP), and regulatory measures and non-regulatory measures and recommendations to reduce mortalities and serious injuries of false killer whales in Hawaii...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-05-09

    ... the following vacant seats on the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory.... SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was... groups that help to focus efforts and attention on the humpback whale and its habitat around the main...

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 77 FR 16538 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review for the North Atlantic Right Whale...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-03-21

    ...; Initiation of 5-Year Review for the North Atlantic Right Whale and the North Pacific Right Whale AGENCY... review of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena... scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we are requesting submission...

  11. 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,

  12. 76 FR 20870 - Protective Regulations for Killer Whales in the Northwest Region Under the Endangered Species Act...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-04-14

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    the deployment techniques for two tag designs on bowhead whales , blue whales and/or humpback whales in West Greenland and Iceland. • To evaluate the... blue and humpback whales . APPROACH Diving ocean predators can act as “real-time autonomous sampling platforms” in remote or ice covered waters...in Disko Bay. • June-July 2016: Deployment of tags on blue and humpback whales in Iceland. 4 • April-August 2016: Collection of data via

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Combining passive acoustics and imaging sonar techniques to study sperm whales' foraging strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giorli, Giacomo; Au, Whitlow W L

    2017-09-01

    Sperm whales forage in the deep ocean, hunting for squid. An innovative approach for the study of sperm whale foraging behavior and habitat selection is reported in this letter. A DIDSON imaging sonar mounted on a profiler with a conductivity, temperature, and depth sensor was used to count and measure potential prey in the deep ocean during sperm whales' acoustical foraging encounters in Hawaii. Preliminary results show how this technique can be applied to the study of deep diving whale foraging and habitat selection. Sperm whales foraged where the density of prey decreased with depth and where the size of prey increased with depth.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

    make it possible to over longer-time and wider-spatial aspects of behavioral responses using multi-scale observations. The proposed killer whale and...sounds. Visual tracking was strong until the killer whale playback when the animals were not sighted after an apparently strong behavioral response to...studies have reported behavioral responses of a small number of beaked whales to experimentally-presented sonar signals (Tyack et al., 2011

  3. Gastrointestinal leiomyosarcoma in a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leone, Angelique; Dark, Michael; Kondo, Hirotaka; Rotstein, David S; Kiupel, Matti; Walsh, Michael T; Erlacher-Reid, Claire; Gordon, Nadia; Conway, Julia A

    2013-09-01

    An adult male pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) was stranded within a tidal pool on Fernandina Beach on the north Florida Atlantic coast (USA) and expired soon after discovery. Necropsy findings included a small intestinal mass markedly expanding the intestinal wall and partially obstructing the lumen. This finding likely led to the malnutrition and ultimately the stranding of this whale. The differential diagnoses for the mass based on gross evaluation included a duodenal adenocarcinoma, leiomyoma/sarcoma, gastrointestinal stroma tumor, and benign/malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, previously referred to as neurofibromas or schwannomas. The mass was presumptively diagnosed as a leiomyosarcoma via routine histopathology and confirmed by immunoreactivity for desmin and smooth actin (SMA). KIT, a gene name for CD 117, was negative, excluding a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Leiomyosarcomas have been reported within numerous wild and domestic species, although this is the first reported case of any neoplasm in a pygmy sperm whale (K. breviceps).

  4. Not whale-fall specialists, Osedax worms also consume fishbones.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rouse, Greg W; Goffredi, Shana K; Johnson, Shannon B; Vrijenhoek, Robert C

    2011-10-23

    Marine annelid worms of the genus Osedax exploit sunken vertebrate bones for food. To date, the named species occur on whale or other mammalian bones, and it is argued that Osedax is a whale-fall specialist. To assess whether extant Osedax species could obtain nutrition from non-mammalian resources, we deployed teleost bones and calcified shark cartilage at approximately 1000 m depth for five months. Although the evidence from shark cartilage was inconclusive, the teleost bones hosted three species of Osedax, each of which also lives off whalebones. This suggests that rather than being a whale-fall specialist, Osedax has exploited and continues to exploit a variety of food sources. The ability of Osedax to colonize and to grow on fishbone lends credibility to a hypothesis that it might have split from its siboglinid relatives to assume the bone-eating lifestyle during the Cretaceous, well before the origin of marine mammals.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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...... effort. A total of 670 groups of humpback whales was encountered leading to the identification of 348 individual animals. Three areas of concentration were identified: an area off Nuuk; an area at c. 63degrees30'N; and an area off Frederikshab. Sequential Petersen capture-recapture estimates of abundance.......070). These calculations lead us to conclude that between 1988 and 1993 there were 360 humpbacks (CV = 0.07) in the West Greenland feeding aggregation. Using the Cormack-Jolly-Seber model framework non-calf survival rate was estimated at 0.957 (SE = 0.028). Our data have low power (P

  8. 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.

  9. Pleistocene survival of an archaic dwarf baleen whale (Mysticeti: Cetotheriidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boessenecker, Robert W.

    2013-04-01

    Pliocene baleen whale assemblages are characterized by a mix of early records of extant mysticetes, extinct genera within modern families, and late surviving members of the extinct family Cetotheriidae. Although Pleistocene baleen whales are poorly known, thus far they include only fossils of extant genera, indicating Late Pliocene extinctions of numerous mysticetes alongside other marine mammals. Here a new fossil of the Late Neogene cetotheriid mysticete Herpetocetus is reported from the Lower to Middle Pleistocene Falor Formation of Northern California. This find demonstrates that at least one archaic mysticete survived well into the Quaternary Period, indicating a recent loss of a unique niche and a more complex pattern of Plio-Pleistocene faunal overturn for marine mammals than has been previously acknowledged. This discovery also lends indirect support to the hypothesis that the pygmy right whale ( Caperea marginata) is an extant cetotheriid, as it documents another cetotheriid nearly surviving to modern times.

  10. Pleistocene survival of an archaic dwarf baleen whale (Mysticeti: Cetotheriidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boessenecker, Robert W

    2013-04-01

    Pliocene baleen whale assemblages are characterized by a mix of early records of extant mysticetes, extinct genera within modern families, and late surviving members of the extinct family Cetotheriidae. Although Pleistocene baleen whales are poorly known, thus far they include only fossils of extant genera, indicating Late Pliocene extinctions of numerous mysticetes alongside other marine mammals. Here a new fossil of the Late Neogene cetotheriid mysticete Herpetocetus is reported from the Lower to Middle Pleistocene Falor Formation of Northern California. This find demonstrates that at least one archaic mysticete survived well into the Quaternary Period, indicating a recent loss of a unique niche and a more complex pattern of Plio-Pleistocene faunal overturn for marine mammals than has been previously acknowledged. This discovery also lends indirect support to the hypothesis that the pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) is an extant cetotheriid, as it documents another cetotheriid nearly surviving to modern times.

  11. 78 FR 30872 - Marine Mammals; File Nos. 14451, 14353, and 13846

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-05-23

    .... Researchers target numerous cetacean species including endangered blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (B. physalus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sei whales (B. borealis), and sperm... 04609; and Jim Darling, Ph.D., Whale Trust, P.O. Box 384, Tofino, BC V0R2Z0, Canada, for Scientific...

  12. Cultural turnover among Galápagos sperm whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cantor, Mauricio; Whitehead, Hal; Gero, Shane; Rendell, Luke

    2016-10-01

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

  13. Collisions between Whales and Fast Ferries around Korean Waters

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyung-Jun Song

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Although there is heavy maritime traffic around Korean waters, collisions between whales and fast ferries around Korean waters are nearly unknown. A ship strike that was associated with a minke whale occurred near the southeastern part of Tsushima Island along the sailing route of the fast ferry between Korea and Japan on December 16, 2004. It was associated with a fast ferry that runs at a speed of approximately 46.1 kn (83 km/h between Korea and Japan. This individual was certainly seriously injured or killed by this ship strike because large amounts of skin of this individual were attached to the surface of the fast ferry, and also large amounts of blood of this individual spread out in that area. However, fortunately, serious damage did not occur to the mariners and passengers of the ferry, although many passengers were knocked down to the floor of the fast ferry when the fast ferry collided with the minke whale. In addition, a total of 4 records of possible collisions between whales and fast ferries have occurred on the fast ferry route between Korea and Japan between 2004 and 2007. This study is the first formal report on collisions between whales and fast ferries around Korean waters. Although the effect of ship strikes on the survival of cetaceans distributed around Korean waters is not very high at present compared with that of other threats, such as entanglement in fishing gear, ship strikes can pose a significant potential threat to endangered cetaceans such as western gray whales. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare prevention measures for ship strikes for the conservation of cetaceans around Korean waters in the future.

  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. A multi-hypothesis tracker for clicking whales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baggenstoss, Paul M

    2015-05-01

    This paper describes a tracker specially designed to track clicking beaked whales using widely spaced bottom-mounted hydrophones, although it can be adapted to different species and sensors. The input to the tracker is a sequence of static localization solutions obtained using time difference of arrival information at widely spaced hydrophones. To effectively handle input localizations with high ambiguity, the tracker is based on multi-hypothesis tracker concepts, so it considers all potential association hypotheses and keeps a large number of potential tracks in memory. The method is demonstrated on actual data and shown to successfully track multiple beaked whales at depth.

  16. Spyhoppers and Stargazers: Can Whales See the Stars?

    CERN Document Server

    West, Michael J

    2013-01-01

    In Moby Dick, Herman Melville wondered how - or what - whales see with eyes on opposite sides of their heads. "It is plain that he can never see an object which is exactly ahead... Is his brain so much more comprehensive, combining and subtle than man's that he can at the same moment of time attentively examine two distinct prospects, one on one side of him, and the other in an exactly opposite direction?" he asked. It's a good question. But if Melville were alive today he might have pondered something perhaps even more intriguing: Can whales see the stars?

  17. 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.

  18. Measuring sperm whales from their clicks: stability of interpulse intervals and validation that they indicate whale length.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rhinelander, Marcus Q; Dawson, Stephen M

    2004-04-01

    Multiple pulses can often be distinguished in the clicks of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397-417] proposed that this results from reflections within the head, and thus that interpulse interval (IPI) is an indicator of head length, and by extrapolation, total length. For this idea to hold, IPIs must be stable within individuals, but differ systematically among individuals of different size. IPI stability was examined in photographically identified individuals recorded repeatedly over different dives, days, and years. IPI variation among dives in a single day and days in a single year was statistically significant, although small in magnitude (it would change total length estimates by whales (12.3 to 15.3 m). These discrepancies probably arise from the paucity of large (12-16 m) whales in data used in published regressions. A new regression is offered for this size range.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Functional properties of myoglobins from five whale species with different diving capacities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Helbo, Signe; Fago, Angela

    2012-10-01

    Whales show an exceptionally wide range of diving capabilities and many express high amounts of the O(2) carrier protein myoglobin (Mb) in their muscle tissues, which increases their aerobic diving capacity. Although previous studies have mainly focused on the muscle Mb concentration and O(2) carrying capacity as markers of diving behavior in whales, it still remains unexplored whether whale Mbs differ in their O(2) affinities and nitrite reductase and peroxidase enzymatic activities, all functions that could contribute to differences in diving capacities. In this study, we have measured the functional properties of purified Mbs from five toothed whales and two baleen whales and have examined their correlation with average dive duration. Results showed that some variation in functional properties exists among whale Mbs, with toothed whale Mbs having higher O(2) affinities and nitrite reductase activities (similar to those of horse Mb) compared with baleen whale Mbs. However, these differences did not correlate with average dive duration. Instead, a significant correlation was found between whale Mb concentration and average duration and depth of dives, and between O(2) affinity and nitrite reductase activity when including horse Mb. Despite the fact that the functional properties showed little species-specific differences in vitro, they may still contribute to enhancing diving capacity as a result of the increased muscle Mb concentration found in extreme divers. In conclusion, Mb concentration rather than specific functional reactivities may support whale diving performance.

  2. Transfer of /sup 60/Co from midwater squid to sperm whales

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Umezu, Takeshi; Minamisako, Yoko; Ebihara, Hiroshi; Watanabe, Hiroshi

    1984-10-01

    Sperm whales are notable squid-eaters. They feed mainly on medium to large-sized cephalopods at midwater levels and defecate near the surface. This suggests the existence of an upward transport of /sup 60/Co by sperm whales from the mesopelagic zone (150-1,200m). To elucidate this squid-whale route for this artificial radionuclide, /sup 60/Co content was determined in squid and in predator whales captured by commercial whaling. In the Cephalopoda livers /sup 60/Co levels of 30-500 mBq kg/sup 1/ wet were found and in the viscera of Odontoceti (toothed whales) 15-40 mBq kg/sup 1/ wet. About 0.3% of /sup 60/Co ingested was estimated to be retained in a 23-year-old male sperm whale. In the livers of Bryde's whales, /sup 60/Co levels of 40-80 mBq kg/sup 1/ wet were detected, but not in euphausiids and sardines, their possible prey. The level of Co in sperm whales was nearly the same as in Bryde's whales. Specific radioactivity /sup 60/Co//sup 59/Co in mBq ..mu..g/sup 1/ was several times higher in sperm whale (1.1-1.6) than in cephalopods (0.19-0.77). Eating prey with a high content of /sup 60/Co in the 1960's may have contributed to the present body burden in sperm whales with a long-life span. However, the origin of /sup 60/Co in Bryde's whales is unknown. (author).

  3. 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...

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

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

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

    1998-12-01

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

  5. 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.

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

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    2015-04-27

    Apr 27, 2015 ... Al Robaae K 1974 Tursiops aduncus bottle nosed dolphin: a new record for Arab Gulf; with notes on Cetacea of the region. Bull. Basrah Nat. Hist. Mus. 1 7–16. Au W, Darling J and Andrews K 2001a High frequency harmonics and source level of humpback whale songs. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 110 2770.

  7. Comparison of St. Lawrence blue whale vocalizations with field observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berchok, Catherine; Bradley, David; Gabrielson, Thomas; Sears, Richard

    2003-04-01

    During four field seasons from 1998-2001, vocalizations were recorded in the presence of St. Lawrence blue whales using a single omni-directional hydrophone. Both long duration infrasonic calls (~18 Hz, 5-20 s) as well as short duration higher frequency calls (85-25 Hz, ~2 s) were detected and compared with field observations. Two trends were noted. First, the long infrasonic call series were concentrated primarily in the deep (300 m) channel. These call series appear to compare well with blue whale vocalizations recorded by others in the deep open ocean. Second, the shorter audible calls were more evenly distributed over bathymetry and seem to be a form of short distance communication with at least one case occurring during an agonistic interaction. A comparison of these calls with biological parameters such as density of whales in the area, percentages of paired versus single whales, and numbers of males versus females will also be discussed. [Project supported by ARL/PSU, NSF, and the American Museum of Natural History.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-09-30

    contribute to the sound reception process by producing differences in the vibrational characteristics of these components. Two finite element models...A. (2011). "The Comparative Osteology of the Petrotympanic Complex (Ear Region) of Extant Baleen Whales ( Cetacea : Mysticeti)," in PLoS ONE

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    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.

  15. Intra- and inter-species differences in persistent organic contaminants in the blubber of blue whales and humpback whales from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Metcalfe, Chris; Koenig, Brenda; Metcalfe, Tracy; Paterson, Gordon; Sears, Richard

    2004-05-01

    Biopsy samples of blubber from adult male and female blue whales, and from female and young-of-the-year humpback whales were collected during the summers of 1992-1999 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. In blue whales, concentrations of 25 PCB congeners, DDT and metabolites and several other organochlorine compounds were present at higher concentrations in the blubber of males relative to females; reflecting maternal transfer of these persistent contaminants from females into young. Sex-related differences in concentrations were not observed with less persistent contaminants, such as HCHs. In humpback whale samples, there were no significant differences in the concentrations of PCBs and organochlorine compounds in the blubber of females and calves. These data indicate that calves quickly bioaccumulate contaminants by transplacental and lactational routes to concentrations that are in equilibrium with females. In comparisons between contaminant concentrations and patterns in the blubber of female blue and humpback whales, there were no significant differences in concentrations, but the proportions of some PCB congeners, HCH isomers, and DDT and its metabolites were different in the two baleen whale species. These may reflect differences in the diet of the two species, since fish comprise a large part of the diet of humpback whales and blue whales feed exclusively on euphausiid crustaceans (i.e. krill).

  16. 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

  17. Stable isotope and trace element status of subsistence-hunted bowhead and beluga whales in Alaska and gray whales in Chukotka

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dehn, Larissa-A. [Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000 (United States)]. E-mail: ftld@uaf.edu; Follmann, Erich H. [Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000 (United States); Rosa, Cheryl [Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000 (United States); Duffy, Lawrence K. [Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000 (United States); Thomas, Dana L. [Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6660 (United States); Bratton, Gerald R. [Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843 (United States); Taylor, Robert J. [Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A and M University, College Station, TX 77843 (United States); O' Hara, Todd M. [Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000 (United States); Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough, Barrow, AK 99725 (United States)

    2006-03-15

    Tissues of bowhead, beluga, and gray whales were analyzed for Ag, Cd, Cu, Se, Zn, THg and MeHg (belugas only). {delta}{sup 15}N and {delta}{sup 13}C in muscle were used to estimate trophic position and feeding habitat, respectively. Trace element concentrations in tissues were significantly different among whale species. Hepatic Ag was higher in belugas than bowheads and gray whales. Gray whales had lower Cd concentrations in liver and kidney than bowhead and belugas and a sigmoid correlation of Cd with length was noted for all whales. Renal and hepatic Se and THg were higher in belugas than in baleen whales. The hepatic molar ratio of Se:THg exceeded 1:1 in all species and was negatively correlated to body length. Hepatic and renal Zn in subsistence-harvested gray whales was lower than concentrations for stranded whales. Se:THg molar ratios and tissue concentrations of Zn may show promise as potential indicators of immune status and animal health.

  18. 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 (sharks, mature individuals, and females in this region is lacking, but necessary to inform conservation initiatives for this globally threatened species. PMID:25870776

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Whales originated from aquatic artiodactyls in the Eocene epoch of India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thewissen, J G M; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Clementz, Mark T; Bajpai, Sunil; Tiwari, B N

    2007-12-20

    Although the first ten million years of whale evolution are documented by a remarkable series of fossil skeletons, the link to the ancestor of cetaceans has been missing. It was known that whales are related to even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls), but until now no artiodactyls were morphologically close to early whales. Here we show that the Eocene south Asian raoellid artiodactyls are the sister group to whales. The raoellid Indohyus is similar to whales, and unlike other artiodactyls, in the structure of its ears and premolars, in the density of its limb bones and in the stable-oxygen-isotope composition of its teeth. We also show that a major dietary change occurred during the transition from artiodactyls to whales and that raoellids were aquatic waders. This indicates that aquatic life in this lineage occurred before the origin of the order Cetacea.

  4. Model-based passive acoustic tracking of sperm whale foraging behavior in the Gulf of Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tiemann, Christopher; Thode, Aaron; Straley, Jan; Folkert, Kendall; O'Connell, Victoria

    2005-09-01

    In 2004, the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) introduced the use of passive acoustics to help monitor the behavior of sperm whales depredating longline fishing operations. Acoustic data from autonomous recorders mounted on longlines provide the opportunity to demonstrate a tracking algorithm based on acoustic propagation modeling while providing insight into whales' foraging behavior. With knowledge of azimuthally dependent bathymetry, a 3D track of whale motion can be obtained using data from just one hydrophone by exploiting multipath arrival information from recorded sperm whale clicks. The evolution of multipath arrival patterns is matched to range-, depth-, and azimuth-dependent modeled arrival patterns to generate an estimate of whale motion. This technique does not require acoustic ray identification (i.e., direct path, surface reflected, etc.) while still utilizing individual ray arrival information, and it can also account for all waveguide propagation physics such as interaction with range-dependent bathymetry and ray refraction.

  5. Belukha whale (delphinapterus leucas) responses to industrial noise in Nushagak Bay, Alaska: 1983

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stewart, B.S.; Awbrey, F.T.; Evans, W.E.

    1983-01-01

    Between 15 June and 14 July 1983 the authors conducted playback experiments with belukha whales in the Snake River, Alaska, using sounds recorded near an operating oil-drilling rig. The objectives of these experiments were to quantify behavioral responses of belukha whales to oil drilling noise in an area where foreign acoustic stimuli were absent, and to test the hypothesis that beluhka whales would not approach a source of loud sound.

  6. Fin whale vocalizations observed with ocean bottom seismometers of cabled observatories off east Japan Pacific Ocean

    OpenAIRE

    岩瀬, 良一; IWASE, Ryoichi

    2015-01-01

    Fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived waveform data from both hydrophones and ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) of a cabled observatory off Kushiro-Tokachi in Hokkaido. A fin whale was localized on the basis of the incident orientation estimated with a single OBS and the time difference of multipath arrival of sound pressure data from a hydrophone. Furthermore, several fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived OBS waveform data from other cabled observatories off east Jap...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gowan, Timothy A; Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G

    2014-01-01

    The coastal waters off the southeastern United States (SEUS) are a primary wintering ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), used by calving females along with other adult and juvenile whales. Management actions implemented in this area for the recovery of the right whale population rely on accurate habitat characterization and the ability to predict whale distribution over time. We developed a temporally dynamic habitat model to predict wintering right whale distribution in the SEUS using a generalized additive model framework and aerial survey data from 2003/2004 through 2012/2013. We built upon previous habitat models for right whales in the SEUS and include data from new aerial surveys that extend the spatial coverage of the analysis, particularly in the northern portion of this wintering ground. We summarized whale sightings, survey effort corrected for probability of whale detection, and environmental data at a semimonthly resolution. Consistent with previous studies, sea surface temperature (SST), water depth, and survey year were significant predictors of right whale relative abundance. Additionally, distance to shore, distance to the 22°C SST isotherm, and an interaction between time of year and latitude (to account for the latitudinal migration of whales) were also selected in the analysis presented here. Predictions from the model revealed that the location of preferred habitat differs within and between years in correspondence with variation in environmental conditions. Although cow-calf pairs were rarely sighted in the company of other whales, there was minimal evidence that the preferred habitat of cow-calf pairs was different than that of whale groups without calves at the scale of this study. The results of this updated habitat model can be used to inform management decisions for a migratory species in a dynamic oceanic environment.

  8. Behavioral Context of Blue and Fin Whale Calling for Density Estimation

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Behavioral Context of Blue and Fin Whale Calling for...in which we will determine the context-appropriate call production rates for blue and fin whales in the Southern California Bight, with the end...goal of facilitating density estimation from passive acoustic data. OBJECTIVES Before a reliable estimate of blue and fin whale call production

  9. Acoustic Behavior of North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) Mother-Calf Pairs

    Science.gov (United States)

    2015-09-30

    1 DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. Acoustic Behavior of North Atlantic Right Whale ...LONG-TERM GOALS The long-term goal of this project is to quantify the behavior of mother-calf pairs from the North Atlantic right whale ...The primary objectives of this project are to: 1) determine the visual detectability of right whale mother-calf pairs from surface observations

  10. Baleen Whale Responses to a High-Frequency Active Pinger: Implications for Upper Frequency Hearing Limits

    Science.gov (United States)

    2016-09-01

    P. E. Nachtigall, M. Breese, and A. Y. Supin. 2005. “ Behavioral and Auditory Evoked Potential Audiograms of a False Killer Whale (Pseudorca... behavior continued as normal. None of the blue whales demonstrated any behavioral response, and continued their normal surface behavior , dive...this time and the change in behavior was similar to what had been observed prior. Therefore, it is inconclusive whether the humpback whale

  11. 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...

  12. Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance of Blainville’s Beaked Whales at AUTEC

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-09-30

    N000141210213 http://www.bahamaswhales.org LONG-TERM GOALS Atypical strandings and behavioral responses of beaked whales have been associated...diving behavior of beaked whales and other odontocete cetacean species on the US Navy’s AUTEC range before, during and after sonar exercises in which...potential for recovery of west coast transient killer whales using coastal waters of British Columbia. Research document 2007/088 prepared for the

  13. Identifying key habitat and seasonal patterns of a critically endangered population of killer whales

    OpenAIRE

    Esteban, Ruth; Verborgh, Philippe; Gauffier, Pauline; Giménez, Joan; Afán, Isabel; García, Pedro; Murcia, José Luis; Magalhães, Sara; Andreu, Ezequiel; de Stephanis, Renaud

    2014-01-01

    Killer whales have been described in the Gulf of Cadiz, southern Spain, in spring and in the Strait of Gibraltar in summer. A total of 11,276 cetaceans sightings coming from different sources (dedicated research surveys, whale watching companies and opportunistic observations) were used to create two presence–‘pseudo-absence’ predictive generalized additive models (GAM), where presence data were defined as sightings of killer whales and ‘pseudo-absence’ data as sightings of other cetacean spe...

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

    OpenAIRE

    Guazzo, Regina A.; Helble, Tyler A.; D’Spain, Gerald L.; Weller, David W.; Wiggins, Sean M.; Hildebrand, John A.

    2017-01-01

    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 b...

  15. Inter-basin movements of Mediterranean sperm whales provide insight into their population structure and conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frantzis, A.; Airoldi, S.; Notarbartolo-di-Sciara, G.; Johnson, C.; Mazzariol, S.

    2011-04-01

    The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600-2100 km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation.

  16. Three-dimensional localization of sperm whales using a single hydrophone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tiemann, Christopher O; Thode, Aaron M; Straley, Janice; O'Connell, Victoria; Folkert, Kendall

    2006-10-01

    A three-dimensional localization method for tracking sperm whales with as few as one sensor is demonstrated. Based on ray-trace acoustic propagation modeling, the technique exploits multipath arrival information from recorded sperm whale clicks and can account for waveguide propagation physics like interaction with range-dependent bathymetry and ray refraction. It also does not require ray identification (i.e., direct, surface reflected) while utilizing individual ray arrival information, simplifying automation efforts. The algorithm compares the arrival pattern from a sperm whale click to range-, depth-, and azimuth-dependent modeled arrival patterns in order to estimate whale location. With sufficient knowledge of azimuthally dependent bathymetry, a three-dimensional track of whale motion can be obtained using data from a single hydrophone. Tracking is demonstrated using data from acoustic recorders attached to fishing anchor lines off southeast Alaska as part of efforts to study sperm whale depredation of fishing operations. Several tracks of whale activity using real data from one or two hydrophones have been created, and three are provided to demonstrate the method, including one simultaneous visual and acoustic localization of a sperm whale actively clicking while surfaced. The tracks also suggest that whales' foraging is shallower in the presence of a longline haul than without.

  17. Singing behavior of fin whales in the Davis Strait with implications for mating, migration and foraging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon, Malene; Stafford, Kathleen M; Beedholm, Kristian; Lee, Craig M; Madsen, Peter T

    2010-11-01

    Most baleen whales undertake migrations between low-latitude breeding grounds and high-latitude feeding grounds. Though little is known about the timing of their migration from the Arctic, fin whales are assumed to undertake a similar migratory pattern. To address questions about habitat use and migrations, the acoustic activity of fin whales in Davis Strait, between Greenland and Canada, was monitored continuously for two years using three bottom-moored acoustic recorders. The acoustic power in the fin whale call frequencies peaked in November-December, showing that fin whales are present in Davis Strait much later in the year than previously expected. The closely timed peaks in song activity and conception time imply that not all fin whales migrate south to mate, but rather start mating at high latitudes rather than or before migrating. Singing activity was strongly linked to daylight hours, suggesting that fin whales might feed during the few daylight hours of the late fall and early Arctic winter. A negative correlation between the advancing sea ice front and power in fin whale frequencies indicates that future changes in sea ice conditions from global warming might change the distribution and migratory patterns of fin whales near the poles.

  18. Fin whale vocalizations observed with ocean bottom seismometers of cabled observatories off east Japan Pacific Ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iwase, Ryoichi

    2015-07-01

    Fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived waveform data from both hydrophones and ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) of a cabled observatory off Kushiro-Tokachi in Hokkaido. A fin whale was localized on the basis of the incident orientation estimated with a single OBS and the time difference of multipath arrival of sound pressure data from a hydrophone. Furthermore, several fin whale vocalizations were found in the archived OBS waveform data from other cabled observatories off east Japan Pacific Ocean. These findings suggest that the cabled OBSs would be significant apparatuses for real-time monitoring of the presence of baleen whales around Japan.

  19. 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

  20. Using passive acoustics to model blue whale habitat off the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    Science.gov (United States)

    Širović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A.

    2011-07-01

    Habitat preferences of calling blue whales were investigated using data from two multidisciplinary oceanographic cruises conducted off the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) during the austral falls of 2001 and 2002. Data were collected on depth, temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a (Chl- a) concentration, krill biomass, zooplankton abundance, and blue whale call presence. In 2001, the study area was sea ice free, high Chl- a concentrations occurred over a small area, krill biomass and zooplankton abundance were high, and few blue whale calls were detected. In 2002 the sea ice covered the southern part of the survey area, Chl- a was high over a large area, krill and zooplankton were low, and there were more blue whale calls. Logistic regression analysis revealed blue whale calls were positively correlated with depth and SST, and negatively correlated with the mean zooplankton abundance from 101 to 300 m and the mean krill biomass in the top 100 m. The negative correlation between blue whale calls and zooplankton could occur if feeding animals do not produce calls. Our survey area did not cover the full range of blue whale habitat off the WAP, as blue whales probably follow the melting and freezing ice edge through this region. Passive acoustics can provide insight to mesoscale habitat use by blue whales in the Southern Ocean where visual sightings are rare, but the ability to localize on the calling animals would greatly improve the ability to model at a finer scale.