[MARMAM] Abstracts - Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 11(1), 2010

Dagmar Fertl dagmar_fertl at hotmail.com
Tue May 18 21:29:19 PDT 2010

Dear Marmam and ECS-mailbase subscribers,
Apologies to those of you who will receive duplicate emails due to cross-posting.  The following are abstracts from the most recent issue (Volume 11, issue 1, 2010) of the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) publishes The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management thrice yearly (Spring, Autumn, and Winter), with at least one supplement that will contain the full report of the IWC Scientific Committee. The following is posted on behalf of the IWC and the journal editor.
Further information can be found at: http://www.iwcoffice.org/publications/JCRM.htm. A guide for authors is included in the first volume of each issue and on the IWC website: http://www.iwcoffice.org/publications/authorsguide.htm. 
Contact information is provided for the corresponding author for each article. Please do not contact the listserve editors or me for pdfs or copies of the articles. Thank you for your continued interest in the journal and abstract postings.
With regards,
Dagmar Fertl
Williams, R.*, and O'Hara, P. 2010. Modelling ship strike risk to fin, humpback and killer whales in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):1-8.
*Contact email: r.williams at fisheries.ubc.ca

Many cetacean species are susceptible to mortality or serious injury from vessel collisions. Spatially explicit assessments of risk per whale can help identify potential problem areas to guide appropriate mitigation measures. Canada’s Pacific waters host high cetacean densities and intense maritime traffic, and the issue of vessel collisions has taken on a high priority in British Columbia (BC) recently due to several major industrial development applications. Spatially-explicit statistical modelling and Geographic Information System (GIS) visualisation techniques identified areas of overlap between shipping activity and waters used by humpback, fin and killer whales. Areas of highest risk were far removed from areas with highest concentrations of people, suggesting that many beach-cast carcasses could go undetected. With few exceptions, high-risk areas were found in geographic bottlenecks, such as narrow straits and passageways. Port expansion and a proposed pipeline for carrying oil from Alberta to BC’s north coast (with associated oil tanker traffic) would increase ship strike risk for all three species. The risk assessments illustrate where ship strikes are most likely to occur, but cannot estimate how many strikes occur. Propeller wounds on live killer whales are common in the region, and fatal collisions have been reported in BC for all three species. Procedures were used to estimate potential mortality limits in accordance with a wide range of quantitative management objectives from jurisdictions around the world. While the extent of under-reporting of ship strikes has not been evaluated, the few known cases of collisions involving fin whales suggest that mortality due to ship strike for this species may already be approaching or even exceeding mortality limits under the most risk-averse management objectives. It is hoped that risk maps may inform environmental impact assessments of marine traffic because it will be easier to plan new shipping lanes so that they avoid high-density areas for whales than it will be to move the lanes after they become entrenched.
Givens, G.H.*, Hoeting, J.A., and L. Beri, L. 2010. Factors that influence aerial line transect detection of Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas bowhead whales. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):9-16.
* Contact email: geof at lamar.colostate.edu
This paper presents a rich, complex dataset including 25 years of aerial line transect surveys for bowhead whales in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, for which a distance detection function was estimated. The analysis was limited to the autumn migratory period and to the portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas occupied by bowhead whales during this period. The primary purpose of the work was to improve the understanding of what factors significantly affect detection. Comprehensive model selection efforts based on the AIC identified useful predictors. Results showed that Beaufort Sea state, ocean depth, inter-sighting waiting distance and year were among the factors affecting detections. For example, increased depth and long wait distances between sightings were both associated with narrower effective strip widths. Some of the results can be interpreted as evidence for a relationship between detection probabilities and whale behaviour. The complexity of the overall dataset required substantial data organisation and offered many alternative analysis approaches, but the results were fairly consistent across such choices. Notwithstanding successful estimation of the detection function, the data present substantial challenges to standard abundance estimation using line transect methods.
Sadykova, O.*, and T. Schweder. 2010. Migration ranks for bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) at Barrow in spring. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):17-21.
*Contact email: dinara.sadykova at bio.uio.no
 In a series of aerial photographic surveys of bowhead whales migrating past Barrow in Alaska in the spring, 40 individuals were captured in more than one year. To study individual-specific persistency in migratory pattern, the relative ranks of the captures of these whales among all captures that year were analysed. Controlling for body length and the presence of calves, the correlation of relative ranks in individuals captured multiple times was found not to be significantly different from zero (p-value=0.78).
Quieroz Da-Silva, C.*, and Domingues Tieurcio, J. 2010. Empirical Bayes estimation of the size of a closed population using photo-identification data. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):23-29.
*contact email: cibeleqs at unb.br
Photo-ID data are broadly used for estimating animal abundance using capture-recapture models. Animals that do not possess either natural or acquired marks sufficient to allow re-identification are called unmarked, and when a substantial part of the population is composed of such individuals, the classical models described in the literature do not apply. In this paper an Empirical Bayes capture-recapture analysis for dealing with the estimation of the capture probabilities and the estimation of abundance N for populations that include unmarked individuals is presented. Using a Gibbs sampling approach, Monte Carlo estimates for the posterior distribution of N were obtained. The Empirical Bayes approach was found to improve precision in the estimation of N compared to the results obtained using other Bayesian methods. Additionally, when the population Included a very large number of unmarked individuals, Inferences for N obtained using the Empirical Bayes approach were definitely superior to those obtained using any of the vague beta priors tested. The methodology was applied to bowhead whale data for the 1985 and 1986 photo-ID surveys.
Laran, S., Joiris, C., Gannier, A., and Kenney, R.D. 2010. Seasonal estimates of densities and predation rates of cetaceans in the Ligurian Sea, northwestern Mediterranean Sea: an initial examination. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):31-40.
*contact email: sofy8 at yahoo.com
The Ligurian Sea is one of the most attractive areas for cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea, and is now included in a Marine Protected Area, the Pelagos Sanctuary. Despite a lower species diversity than in other parts of the world, because of their abundance, cetaceans are thought to represent significant consumers in this ecosystem. Surveys were conducted within the Pelagos Sanctuary from 2001 to 2004. Densities of five species: striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba); fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus); sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus); long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas); and Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), were estimated and converted to biomass. Total biomass density of cetaceans in the Ligurian Sea was estimated as 93kg km-2 (CV=28%) in winter (October to March) and 509kg km-2 (CV=16%) in summer (April to September). Daily predation rates by cetaceans were estimated as 2.9kg km-2 d-1 in winter, increasing to 10.4kg km-2 d-1 in summer, corresponding to a total annual ingestion of 2.4t km-2 y-1. The annual primary production required for cetaceans was estimated to be 12.6gC m-2 y-1, corresponding to 6-15% of the net primary production known for this area. Estimated cetacean predation on fish was similar to reported fisheries landings, nevertheless, management of artisanal fisheries and accurate quantification of the resources they exploit will be necessary for the responsible management of fisheries in this Mediterranean Marine Protected Area.
Poncelet, E., Barbraud, C., and Guinet, C. 2010. Population dynamics of killer whales in the Crozet Archipelago, southern Indian Ocean: A mark-recapture study from 1997 to 2002. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):41-48.
*contact email: guinet at cebc.cnrs.fr
Population size and annual survival probabilities for the killer whales (Orcinus orca) inhabiting the inshore waters of Possession Island, Crozet Archipelago, southern lndian Ocean, were estimated through mark-recapture modelling. Capture histories were generated from a set of photographs taken under a photo-identification protocol and a set of photographs taken opportunistically, between 1964 and 2002. Photographs were selected according to their intrinsic quality and the degree of natural marking of individuals. Under those conditions, only well-marked individuals were considered as 'marked' from a capture-recapture perspective. The purpose of this double selection was to minimise identification errors and reduce the heterogeneity of capture probabilities. Abundance estimates were derived from the M'h sequential model for closed populations and adjusted for the proportion of well-marked individuals in the study population and for the number of photo-identified individuals. Under this framework, estimates of 98 (95% CI 70-156) individuals in 1988-89, and 37 (95% CI 32-62) individuals in 1998-2000 are proposed. After a weighted model averaging, the Cormack-Jolly-Seber models with the strongest support from the data produced low survival probability estimates, decreasing from 0.935 (95% CI 0.817-0.979) to 0.895 (95% CI 0.746-0.961) for males, and from 0.942 (95% CI 0.844-0.980) to 0.901 (95% CI 0.742-0.966) for females over the period 1977-2002. A Jolly-Seber model was used as a 'second opinion' model. It confirmed the worrying status of the population with a constant survival probability estimated at 0.89 (95% CI 0.84-0.93) and a constant rate of increase (applying to the well-marked fraction of the population) estimated at 0.94 (95% CI 0.90-0.99) for the period 1987-2000. This rate of increase is consistent with the abundance estimates presented here. Possible violations of the underlying model assumptions were investigated and it was concluded that the abundance estimates for the period 1988-89 and the CJS survival estimates should be the most reliable results. It is feared that the killer whales around Possession Island are in sharp decline, as may be true for the whole Crozet Archipelago. The effect of low prey stocks and lethal interactions with fisheries as the most likely causes of this decline are discussed.
Braulik, G. T.*, Ranjbar, S., Owfi, F., Aminrad, T., Dakhteh, S. M. H., Kamrani, E. and Mohsenizadeh, F. 2010. Marine mammal records from Iran. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):49-63.
*contact e-mail: GillBraulik at downstream.vg
Iran has 1,700km of coastline that borders the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea in the northwest Indian Ocean.  Apart from a handful of records, almost nothing is known about which marine mammal species occur in Iranian waters.  This review was conducted to fill this information gap.  A total of 127 marine mammal records of 14 species were compiled from Iranian coastal waters.  Ninety-nine were from the Persian Gulf, 26 from the Gulf of Oman and 2 were of unknown location.  Records of finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides) (25), Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis) (24) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) (22) were by far the most numerous, a probable reflection of their inshore distribution and local abundance. Other species recorded were long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis tropicalis), rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) and dugong (Dugong dugon).  Records of 26 Mysticetes were compiled, 10 of which were tentatively identified as Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni), 1 possible fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), 3 Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and the remainder were not identified to species.  The largest threat to small cetaceans in Iran is likely to be incidental capture in fishing gear.  Nine finless porpoises were recorded as bycatch and this and other coastal species may be declining due to unsustainable mortality rates.  Some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes pass through Iranian waters and ship strikes are likely to be the largest threat to Mysticetes in the area. ­­­­­
Minton, G.*, Cerchio, S., Collins, T., Ersts, P., Findlay, K.P., Pomilla C., Bennet, D., Meyer, M.A., Razafindrakoto, Y., Kotze, P.G.H., Oosthuizen, W.H., Leslie, M., Andrianarivelo N., Baldwin, R., Ponnampalam, L., and Rosenbaum, H.C.. 2010. A note on the comparison of humpback whale tail fluke catalogues from the Sultanate of Oman with Madagascar and the East African mainland. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):65-68.
*Contact e-mail: gianna.minton at gmaii.com
The photo-identification catalogue of humpback whale tail flukes from Oman was compared with those from Antongil Bay, Madagascar and study sites in South Africa and Mozambique collectively termed the 'East African Mainland'. No matches were found, supporting other lines of evidence that the humpback whales studied off the coast of Oman form part of a discrete Arabian Sea population, which adheres to a Northern Hemisphere breeding cycle, and has little or no ongoing exchange with the nearest neighbouring populations in the southern lndian Ocean. While the sample size from Oman is small, and low levels of ongoing exchange might not be detected in this type of catalogue comparison, the study nonetheless emphasises the need to pursue research and conservation efforts in the known and suspected range of the Endangered Arabian Sea humpback whale population.
O'Brien, J. M., S. D. Berrow, C. Ryan, D. McGrath, I. O'Connor, G. Pesante, G. Burrows, N. Massett, V. Klotzer, and P. Whooley. 2010. A note on long-distance matches of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) around the Irish coast using photo-identification. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):71-76.
*contact e-mail: joanne.obrien at gmit.ie
Images of 120 individual bottlenose dolphins from around the Irish coast were obtained from three photo-identification catalogues. Twenty three individuals were subsequently re-sighted, which is a re-sighting rate of 19%. The distance between re-sightings ranged from 130 to 650km and the duration from 26 to 760 days. Images were also compared to a catalogue of resident dolphins from the Shannon Estuary candidate Special Area of Conservation and from Wales but no matches were found. This short study provides strong evidence that bottlenose dolphins in Irish coastal waters are regularly undertaking large movements around the entire Irish coast and must be considered highly mobile and transient. These results have important implications for the conservation and management of this species.

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