[MARMAM] Melon-headed whale paper published

Phoebe Woodworth Phoebe.Woodworth at noaa.gov
Tue Jul 12 17:31:50 PDT 2011

A paper was published online today in the journal Marine Mammal Science documenting the use of offshore eddies by melon-headed whales.  Satellite telemetry data retrieved from 10 melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands were examined in relation to ocean currents and mesoscale features obtained from the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model Hawai‘i regional model.  Statistical analysis showed that the majority of these whales that moved away from coastal Hawaiian waters moved into the convergence areas associated with both cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies, presumably for foraging purposes.  A non-eddy-associated habitat southwest of the Hawaiian island of Ni‘ihau was also identified.  This study provides a first look at melon-headed whales’ offshore habitat use and provides insight into possible pelagic foraging habitats for other cetaceans as well.


This project was a collaborative study between researchers from Cascadia Research Collective, NOAA Fisheries Service, the Wild Whale Research Foundation, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and is part of a long-term study of the toothed whales and dolphins around the main Hawaiian Islands.


A copy of the paper can be downloaded at www.cascadiaresearch.org or from the journal’s web site at  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1748-7692/earlyview


The authors of the paper are Phoebe Woodworth, Brad Hanson and Jeff Polovina from NOAA Fisheries Service, Greg Schorr, Robin Baird and Daniel Webster from Cascadia Research Collective, Dan McSweeney from the Wild Whale Research Foundation and Russ Andrews from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska SeaLife Center.


The citation is: Woodworth, P.A., G.S. Schorr, R.W. Baird, D.L. Webster, D.J. McSweeney, M.B. Hanson, R.D. Andrews and J.J. Polovina. 2011. Eddies as offshore foraging grounds for melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra). Marine Mammal Science doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2011.00509.x.


For more information on melon-headed whales in Hawaii see www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii/melonheadedwhale.htm


For information on the study contact Phoebe Woodworth at phoebe.woodworth at noaa.gov or Robin Baird at rwbaird at cascadiaresearch.org

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