[MARMAM] Cetacean sightings and strandings in Cornwall

Godley, Brendan B.J.Godley at exeter.ac.uk
Tue Jul 26 07:28:39 PDT 2011

Dear All

We have recently had a paper accepted for JMBA on our local cetaceans. Unfortunately, the publisher, not the journal, fouled up after the proofs stage and put the wrong figures in. Although they will publish an erratum, the paper will never exist in its correct form, despite the miracle of online publishing.

To help remedy this, we have prepared our own version which can be obtained from the lead author Stephen Pikesley (cc; S.K.Pikesley at exeter.ac.uk<mailto:S.K.Pikesley at exeter.ac.uk>)

Details follow.



Stephen K. Pikesley, Mathew J. Witt, Tom Hardy, Jan Loveridge, Jeff Loveridge, Ruth Williams, Brendan J. Godley  (2011) Cetacean sightings and strandings: evidence for spatial and temporal trends? Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK. Published online: 09 June 2011. DOI:10.1017/S0025315411000464

Cetacean species and their habitats are under threat and effective marine management mitigation strategies require knowledge and understanding of cetacean ecology. This requires data that are challenging and expensive to obtain; incidental sightings/strandings data are potential underused resources. In this study, incidental cetacean sightings (n = 6631) and strandings (n = 1856) in coastal waters of Cornwall, southwest Britain (1991 to 2008) were analysed for evidence of spatial and temporal patterns or trends. Eighteen species were recorded sighted and/or stranded; key species were identified as bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) and minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). There were significant decreases in bottlenose dolphin sightings and pod size but an increase in harbour porpoise and minke whale sightings. Cetacean strandings showed a recent decrease over time although there was a significant positive trend in harbour porpoise strandings that correlated with sightings. Incidence of sightings and strandings were both greater on the south coast than the north coast. When Marine Tour Operator (MTO) data were analysed, distinct species-specific inshore and offshore habitat use was evident. With rigorous interrogation and editing, significant patterns and trends were gained from incidentally collected data, highlighting the importance of public engagement with such recording schemes and the potential of these underused resources.

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Dr. Brendan J. Godley
Associate Professor in Conservation Biology
Centre for Ecology & Conservation
University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus
TR10 9EZ, UK
Tel: +44 1326 371 861
Editor-in-Chief, Endangered Species Research

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