[MARMAM] New paper Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) in the Mediterranean Sea

scheinin scheinin at 013.net
Sun Apr 24 03:18:18 PDT 2011

Dear list members

Apologies for cross-posting , the paper below has just become available
online on Marine Biodiversity Records:

Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) in the Mediterranean Sea: anomalous event
or early sign of climate-driven distribution change?

Aviad P. Scheinin1, Dan Kerem1, Colin D. Macleod2, Manel Gazo3,4, Carla A.
Chicote3 and Manuel Castellote5 

1Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center (IMMRAC), The Leon
Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies and

Department for Maritime Civilizations, The University of Haifa, Mount
Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel, 2IBES, University of Aberdeen,

Aberdeen, UK, 3SUBMON-Conservation, study and awareness of the marine
environment, Rabassa, 49-51. 08024 Barcelona, Spain,

4Department of Animal Biology, University of Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028
Barcelona, Spain, 5National Marine Mammal

Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Sand Point Way NE,
Seattle, WA 98115 USA


On 8 May 2010, a gray whale was sighted off the Israeli Mediterranean shore
and twenty-two days later, the same individual

was sighted in Spanish Mediterranean waters. Since gray whales were last
recorded in the North Atlantic in the 1700s, these

sightings prompted much speculation about this whale's population origin.
Here, we consider three hypotheses for the origin of

this individual: (1) it represents a vagrant individual from the larger
extant population of gray whales found in the eastern

North Pacific; (2) it represents a vagrant individual from the smaller
extant population found in the western North Pacific; or

(3) it represents an individual from the previously thought extinct North
Atlantic population. We believe that the first is the

most likely, based on current population sizes, on known summer
distributions, on the extent of cetacean monitoring in the

North Atlantic and on the results of a performed route analysis. While it is
difficult to draw conclusions from such singular

events, the occurrence of this individual in the Mediterranean coincides
with a shrinking of Arctic Sea ice due to climate

change and suggests that climate change may allow gray whales to re-colonize
the North Atlantic as ice and temperature

barriers to mixing between northern North Atlantic and North Pacific biomes
are reduced. Such mixing, if it were to

become widespread, would have implications for many aspects of the marine
conservation and ecology of these two regions.

Keywords: global warming, climate change, migration, vagrancy, sea ice,
ecosystem sentinels

The article can be downloaded from Marine Biodiversity Records (Marine
Biological Association of the United Kingdom):



Otherwise please contact me for a copy: scheinin at 013.net.il.


For those of you missing the ECS video night in Cadiz here is the Gray whale
short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9IY58s9uGg


Happy Passover 





Aviad Scheinin, Ph.D
 <mailto:scheinin at research.haifa.ac.il> scheinin at 013.net.il

 <http://immrac.org/> http://immrac.org/

Chairman, IMMRAC - Israel Marine Mammal Research & Assistance center

ECS (European Cetacean Society) council member

Home address: Tirat Shalom, P.B. 1356, Nes-Ziona 74052, Israel
Tel 972-8-9406584 Mobile 052-3571193 


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