[MARMAM] new article on humpback whales

marcos.rossi at baleiajubarte.com.br marcos.rossi at baleiajubarte.com.br
Mon Mar 24 13:47:34 PDT 2008

Dear Marmamers,

I´d like to inform you about a recent published article about the occurrence and distribution of humpback whales in Brazil. Please, feel free to request pdf copies from the authors at the address below.

Rossi-Santos, M. R., Neto, E. S., Baracho, C. G., Cipolotti, S. R., Marcovaldi, E., and Engel, M. H. 2008. Occurrence and distribution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) on the north coast of the State of Bahia, Brazil, 2000-2006. - ICES Journal of Marine Science, 65.

The Abrolhos Bank off Brazil is considered the main breeding ground for the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Southwest Atlantic. However, owing to an increase in the occurrence of the species along the north coast of the State of Bahia, it has been suggested that the species is reoccupying that region, which was probably utilized by the whales before commercial whaling. Information is presented on the occurrence and distribution of humpback whales along the north coast of the State of Bahia, with a comparative overview, for the period 2000-2006. Daily research cruises were conducted from July to October, departing from Praia do Forte (138400S 388100W) and lasting 9 h. Data on sampling and sighting effort, and geographical position and composition of groups of humpback whales, were collected on standardized field sheets. In all, 230 surveys were performed, covering some 9740 nautical miles in 1645 h of sampling effort, during which 1626 humpback whales were sighted, including 118 calves.Humpback whales were sighted throughout the study area. Solitary individuals and pairs were the most frequent group composition, 26% and 37% of the observed groups (n = 723), respectively. Depth of water varied from 15 to 1657 m (mean = 62.4; s.d. = 99). The sightings values were grouped into depth classes to ascertain the highest frequencies (30%) for the two classes, i.e. between 35.1 and 55 m of water. There was an increase in the encounter rates of humpback whales on the north coast of the State of Bahia between 2000 and 2006, identifying a difference in SPUE [sightings per unit (h) of effort] among years (Kruskal-Wallis H = 30.155, d.f. = 6, p , 0.05). The results support the hypothesis that humpback whales are reoccupying former breeding areas along the Brazilian coast.

Keywords: Brazil, distribution, humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, State of Bahia.

Best whishes!

Marcos Rossi-Santos
Research Biologist
marcos.rossi at baleiajubarte.com.br

Instituto Baleia Jubarte
Av do Farol, s/n, CP 92, Praia do Forte
Mata de São João, Bahia, Brasil
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