[MARMAM] fin whales in the Ligurian Sea

Simone Panigada simo.pani at inwind.it
Mon Jan 16 00:40:19 PST 2006


Dear Colleagues,

the following paper has recently been published on the Journal of 
Cetacean Research and Management:

SIMONE PANIGADA, GIUSEPPE NOTARBARTOLO DI SCIARA, MARGHERITA 
ZANARDELLI PANIGADA, SABINA AIROLDI,
J. FABRIZIO BORSANI AND MADDALENA JAHODA

Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) summering in the Ligurian Sea: 
distribution, encounter rate, mean group size and relation to
physiographic variables

ABSTRACT - This paper investigates the distribution of Mediterranean 
fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) between 1990-99 in the recently-established
Pelagos Sanctuary for the Conservation of Mediterranean Marine 
Mammals. During the study period, 870 days were spent at sea, surveying
a total of 73,046km, totalling 540 sightings of fin whales. Mean 
yearly whale encounter rates showed no significant differences in the first
five years, but then steadily decreased between 1995-99. The highest 
encounter rates and largest mean aggregation size (mean=2.12;
SD=1.32; SE=1.15) were in summer 1995 and the mean aggregation size 
throughout the study period was 1.75 (mode=1; SD=1.11;
SE=0.05). Differences in mean aggregation size were significant 
between years, but not months. This is likely to be related to prey
availability and to patchiness of plankton distribution. Generalised 
Linear Models were used to relate fin whale distribution to physiographic
variables (mean, range and standard deviation of depth and slope, and 
distance from the nearest coast). Water depth was the most significant
variable in describing fin whale distribution, with more than 90% of 
sightings occurring in waters deeper than 2,000m. This study
demonstrates the deep water preference of fin whales in this area, 
emphasises the crucial role that this part of the western Ligurian Sea plays
in the ecology of Mediterranean fin whales and provides 
recommendations for conservation and management measures in the area.

A pdf file (581 Kb) can be downloaded at the following link: 
http://www.tethys.org/download/papers_pdf/Panigada_etal_2005.pdf

Best regards,

Simone Panigada

___________________________
Simone Panigada, Ph.D.
Vice-President

Tethys Research Institute
Viale G.B. Gadio,2
I-20121 Milan, Italy
e-mail: panigada at inwind.it

http://www.tethys.org
e-mail: tethys at tethys.org 
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