[MARMAM] New publication on cetaceans & basking sharks in UK waters

ruth leeney ruleeney at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Nov 16 08:12:43 PST 2011

Dear MARMAMers,

The following paper has recently been published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK:

Ruth H. Leeney, Matthew J. Witt, Annette C. Broderick, John Buchanan, Daniel S. Jarvis, Peter B. Richardson & Brendan J. Godley (2011) 

Marine megavertebrates of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: relative abundance anddistribution

We document patterns of distribution and relative abundance of marine megavertebrate fauna around Cornwall and the Isles
of Scilly from a combination of aerial and boat-based surveying. Between January 2006 and November 2007, 20 aerial surveys
were undertaken, comprising over 40 hours of on-effort flying time. In April to October of these years, 27 effort-corrected ferry
surveys were also conducted from a passenger ferry travelling between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Opportunistic sightings
were also logged by the crew members of the ferry and another vessel travelling regularly along the same route on 155 days.
Ten megavertebrate species were sighted: basking sharks Cetorhinus maximus,sunfish Mola mola, common dolphins
Delphinus delphis, harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena, grey seals Halichoerus grypus,Risso’s dolphins Grampus
griseus, bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus, minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata, long-finned pilot whales
Globicephala melasand killer whale Orcinus orca. During aerial surveys, 206 sighting events of seven species were made,
compared with 145 sighting events of eight species during ferry surveys and 293 sighting events of 10 species from opportunistic
ship-board data collection efforts. Seasonal and spatial patterns in species occurrence were evident. Basking sharks were the
most commonly-sighted species in the region and were relatively abundant throughout the estimated 5 km-wide strip of
coastal waters covered by the aerial surveys, during spring and summer. Ferry surveys and opportunistic vessel-based sightings
data confirmed that the distribution of surface-feeding aggregations of this species was largely around the coasts. Despite the
limited scope of this study, it has provided valuable baseline data, and possible insights into the marine biodiversity of the region.

For pdfs of the main paper and Supplementary figures, please contact Ruth Leeney at ruleeney at yahoo.co.uk 

- - -
Ruth H. Leeney

Recherche et Conservation des Cétacés de Sénégal

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