[MARMAM] Recent publication: humpback whale in Sao Tome and Principe

Inês Carvalho ines_c_carvalho at netcabo.pt
Fri Jul 1 14:25:04 PDT 2011

Dear colleagues,
The following paper has recently been published in African Journal of
Marine Science:
Carvalho I, Brito C, dos Santos ME, Rosenbaum HC. (2011). Waters of São
Tomé: a calving ground for West African humpback whales? African Journal
of Marine Science, 33(1): 91-97.doi: 10.2989/1814232X.2011.572353
In the Southern Hemisphere, humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae feed in
Antarctic waters during the austral summer and migrate to their breeding
grounds in subtropical and tropical waters during the winter. Historical
whaling records suggest that the Archipelago of São Tomé and Príncipe,
located in the Gulf of Guinea, serves as a possible breeding ground. In
order to investigate the temporal occurrence and group composition of
humpback whales around São Tomé Island, annual surveys were conducted
during the breeding season between 2002 and 2006. A total of 186
boat-based surveys took place during this period. Data collected during
each sighting included geographical positions, group size, group
composition and behavioural classifications. Of the 66 groups encountered,
mother-calf pairs made up a large proportion (65.15%), followed by
solitary individuals (15.15%). Mother-calf pairs were seen in the region
into November and resights of identified animals indicate periods of
occupancy that extended over three weeks. Few behaviours typically
associated with mating activity were observed. Given the high percentage
of mother-calf pairs, sometimes with very young calves, and the low
frequency of mating activity, the waters of São Tomé may primarily serve
as a calving and nursing or resting area for humpback whales.
The article can be obtained from the journal website:
or by contacting: icarvalho at amnh.org
Best regards,
Inês Carvalho, PhD student
Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192 USA
Associação para as Ciências do Mar
Edifício ICAT, Campus da FCUL,
Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal


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