[MARMAM] Franklin et al 2011: Seasonal changes in pod characteristics of eastern Australian humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), Hervey Bay 1992–2005

Wally Franklin wally at oceania.org.au
Wed Jul 20 22:51:28 PDT 2011

Hi Marmammers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of a paper on Humpback whales in Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia in the current issue of Marine Mammal Science.
Its available online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00430.x/full

A pdf copy is available by email from:  trish.wally at oceania.org.au

Franklin, T., Franklin, W., Brooks, L., Harrison, P., Baverstock, P. and Clapham, P. (2011),  Seasonal changes in pod characteristics of eastern Australian humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), Hervey Bay 1992–2005. Marine Mammal Science, 27: E134–E152. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00430.x

We investigated the characteristics and composition of 4,506 humpback whale
pods observed in Hervey Bay between 1992 and 2005.We use these data to analyze
and model the variability of pod size and composition, and to assess the importance
of Hervey Bay for particular classes of humpback whales. Pods ranged in size from
one to nine individuals. Pairs were the most frequent pod type (1,344, 29.8%),
followed by mother-calf alone (1,249, 27.7%), trios (759, 16.8%), singletons (717,
15.9%), and 4+ whales (437, 9.7%). Of the 4,506 pods, calves were present in
40%, and 10.8% of all pods had one or more escorts present. Of the 1,804 pods
observed with calves present, 1,251 (69.4%) were mothers alone with their calves.
The size and composition of pods in the study area varied significantly as the season
progressed. Pods with calves present were rarely recorded early in the season but
dominated later in the season. A significant increase over years in larger groups may
be related to social and behavioral changes as the population expands. The data
indicate that Hervey Bay is important to immature males and females early in the
season, to mature males and females in mid-season, and to mother-calf pairs (either
alone or with escorts) in mid-to-late season.

Key words: humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, Hervey Bay,Australia, social
behavior, pod size, pod composition.


Trish and Wally Franklin
Trish & Wally Franklin
The Oceania Project
PO Box 646 Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia
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Email: trish.wally at oceania.org.au
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