[MARMAM] [Fwd: New publication: Whale distribution in relation to prey abundance and oceanographic processes in shelf waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula]

Ari Friedlaender asf7 at duke.edu
Wed Aug 16 08:00:09 PDT 2006


We are happy to announce the following article has been published in 
Marine Ecology Progress Series:


MEPS 317:297-310
*Friedlaender AS, Halpin PN, Qian SS, Lawson GL, Wiebe PH, Thiele D, 
Read AJ*

Whale distribution in relation to prey abundance and oceanographic 
processes in shelf waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula

ABSTRACT: The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is a biologically rich area supporting large standing
stocks of krill and top predators (including whales, seals and seabirds). Physical forcing greatly affects
productivity, recruitment, survival and distribution of krill in this area. In turn, such interactions
are likely to affect the distribution of baleen whales. The Southern Ocean GLOBEC research program
aims to explore the relationships and interactions between the environment, krill and predators
around Marguerite Bay (WAP) in autumn 2001 and 2002. Bathymetric and environmental variables including
acoustic backscattering as an indicator of prey abundance were used to model whale distribution
patterns. We used an iterative approach employing (1) classification and regression tree (CART)
models to identify oceanographic and ecological variables contributing to variability in humpback
Megaptera novaeangliae and minke Balaenoptera acutorstrata whale distribution, and (2) generalized
additive models (GAMs) to elucidate functional ecological relationships between these variables and
whale distribution. The CART models indicated that the cetacean distribution was tightly coupled with
zooplankton acoustic volume backscatter in the upper (25 to 100 m), and middle (100 to 300 m) portions
of the water column. Whale distribution was also related to distance from the ice edge and bathymetric
slope. The GAMs indicated a persistent, strong, positive relationship between increasing zooplankton
volume and whale relative abundance. Furthermore, there was a lower limit for averaged
acoustic volume backscatter of zooplankton below which the relationship between whales and prey
was not significant. The GAMs also supported an annual relationship between whale distribution,
distance from the ice edge and bathymetric slope, suggesting that these are important features for
aggregating prey. Our results demonstrate that during the 2 yr study, whales were consistently and
predictably associated with the distribution of zooplankton. Thus, humpback and minke whales may
be able to locate physical features and oceanographic processes that enhance prey aggregation.

PDFs can be found at: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v317/

Please contact if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Ari Friedlaender
asf7 at duke.edu

-- 
Ari S. Friedlaender, PhD
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab
Duke University Marine Laboratory
135 Pivers Island Road
Beaufort, NC 28516
(252) 504-7576




-- 
Ari S. Friedlaender, PhD
Post-Doctoral Research Associate
Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab
Duke University Marine Laboratory
135 Pivers Island Road
Beaufort, NC 28516
(252) 504-7576




More information about the MARMAM mailing list