Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events

Evans, K., Thresher, R., Warneke, R., Bradshaw, C., Pook, M., Thiele, Deborah and Hindell, M. 2005, Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events, Biology letters, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 147-150.

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Title Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events
Author(s) Evans, K.
Thresher, R.
Warneke, R.
Bradshaw, C.
Pook, M.
Thiele, Deborah
Hindell, M.
Journal name Biology letters
Volume number 1
Issue number 2
Start page 147
End page 150
Publisher Royal Society
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2005-06
ISSN 1744-9561
Keyword(s) cetacean strandings
southeast Australia
meridional winds
zonal winds
sea-surface temperature
Summary Cetacean strandings elicit much community and scientific interest, but few quantitative analyses have successfully identified environmental correlates to these phenomena. Data spanning 1920–2002, involving a total of 639 stranding events and 39 taxa groups from southeast Australia, were found to demonstrate a clear 11–13- year periodicity in the number of events through time. These data positively correlated with the regional persistence of both zonal (westerly) and meridional (southerly) winds, reflecting general long-term and large-scale shifts in sea-level pressure gradients. Periods of persistent zonal and meridional winds result in colder and presumably nutrient-rich waters being driven closer to southern Australia, resulting in increased biological activity in the water column during the spring months. These observations suggest that large-scale climatic events provide a powerful distal influence on the propensity for whales to strand in this region. These patterns provide a powerful quantitative framework for testing hypotheses regarding environmental links to strandings and provide managers with a potential predictive tool to prepare for years of peak stranding activity.
Language eng
Field of Research 060899 Zoology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, The Royal Society
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