Seasonal variability in whale encounters in the Western Antarctic Peninsula

Thiele, Deborah, Chester, Edwin T., Moore, Sue E., Sirovic, Ana, Hildebrand, John A. and Friedlaendar, Ari S. 2004, Seasonal variability in whale encounters in the Western Antarctic Peninsula, Deep sea research part II : topical studies in oceanography, vol. 51, no. 17-19, pp. 2311-2325, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2004.07.007.

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Title Seasonal variability in whale encounters in the Western Antarctic Peninsula
Author(s) Thiele, Deborah
Chester, Edwin T.
Moore, Sue E.
Sirovic, Ana
Hildebrand, John A.
Friedlaendar, Ari S.
Journal name Deep sea research part II : topical studies in oceanography
Volume number 51
Issue number 17-19
Start page 2311
End page 2325
Publisher Elsevier Science
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2004-08
ISSN 0967-0645
Summary Cetacean sighting surveys were conducted as part of nine multidisciplinary research cruises over late summer, autumn and winter of 2 years (2001–2003) during the Southern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystems (SO GLOBEC) program. Sea-ice cover differed markedly between years, with apparent effects on cetacean distribution. No ice was present until late June in 2001, while the previous winter sea ice never fully retreated (>30% cover) during the 2002 or 2003 summer, thus increasing the proportion of thicker and more complex ice, including multi-year floes. Humpback (237 sightings; 537 individuals) and minke (103 sightings: 267 individuals) whales were the most commonly detected species. Data from seven comparable cruises were used to identify habitat for minke and humpback whales over five geographically distinct spatial divisions in the study area. In all years, both species were predominantly found in near coastal habitat, particularly in the fjords where complex habitat likely concentrated prey. In 2002 and 2003 the presence of sea ice provided additional feeding habitat, and the numbers of minkes (in winter) and humpbacks (late summer and autumn) in the area doubled compared with 2001. Humpbacks in particular were concentrated at the ice boundaries during late summer and autumn, while minke numbers increased in the winter that followed and occupied ice-covered areas along the entire shelf edge. Important resource sites for these species are mainly located in near-coastal areas and are used in all years, but when ice margins exist and intersect with resource sites they attract much larger numbers of animals due to the dynamics between sea ice and prey.

Notes Cover date Aug-Sept 2004
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.dsr2.2004.07.007
Field of Research 050209 Natural Resource Management
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, Elsevier Ltd.
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Ecology and Environment
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