[MARMAM] International Whaling Commission: Large-scale Whalewatching Experiment (LaWE): second call for participation

Valeria Senigaglia valeria.senigaglia at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 05:29:56 PDT 2011

Following on the first call, we would like to advertise that our call for
collaboration is still open. Details below.****

** **

We are seeking collaborations with researchers working on the behavioural
ecology of cetaceans around the world. The long term goal of the
collaborations is to develop research to determine sustainable levels of
whalewatching. For the past 25 years, a large number of studies have
investigated the effects of whalewatching on cetaceans and their potential
impacts. From this body of work there is a consensus emerging that the
fitness of individual Odontocetes repeatedly exposed to whalewatching vessel
traffic can be compromised and that this can lead to population level
effects (IWC 2006). There is currently no consensus on mysticetes. The IWC
Scientific Committee has strongly encouraged the development of research,
particularly on large whales, to determine sustainable levels of

To this end we are developing a large-scale research programme (Large-scale
Whale-watching Experiment LaWE) with the goal of providing scientific advice
to determine sustainable levels of whalewatching. This IWC initiative has
been developed to assess how whalewatching exposure can interact with the
life history strategies of the targeted individuals and the ecological
conditions of their habitat to lead to population-level consequences. We
have developed a research programme proposal with seven clear objectives.
The text of the proposal is available at
http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/whalewatching.htm. We are hoping to be
able to initiate the project in the year to come, starting with a power
analysis to define the number of sites that will be required for

To this end, we are opening a call to researchers who have conducted
behavioural studies (not necessarily whale-watch impact research) on
cetaceans (odontocete and mysticete) in the past or are currently doing so.
We have carried out previous attempts to meta-analyse data from preexisting
whalewatching impact assessment studies to compare effect size across
different sites. However, this analysis came to an impasse due to
disparities in methodology and the statistics reported. Such meta-analyses
will help focus sampling strategies and work towards several of the
objectives of LaWE. We are therefore interested in collating raw data on key
parameters identified for the LaWE project to carry out such metaanalyses
(as well as power analyses) for one of the aims of the LaWE (Understand the
mechanism involved in the causal relationship between whalewatching exposure
and the survival and vital rates of exposed individuals). We have identified
interest in the following variables:****

Activity budgets (based on focal follow sampling)****

Movement patterns (based both from land-based sampling techniques and animal

Habitat use (both from photo-identification and the sampling of the movement
of individuals)****

This is the second call to gauge interest in entering in such coordinated
collaborative effort. If you possess such data, that could be used for the
power analyses described in the research proposal, with information on
quality control and quality assurance during sampling (e.g., formalised
sampling protocols, consistent and regular calibration of sampling
procedures), and are interested in participating to this collaborative
effort, please contact us by emailing David Lusseau (d.lusseau at abdn.ac.uk)
or Valeria Senigaglia (valeria.senigaglia at gmail.com). We will then discuss
the possible mechanisms to develop this collaboration, ensuring the respect
of data ownership, which will be coordinated from within the IWC.****

** **

Best wishes,****

** **

Valeria Senigaglia****

on behalf of the LaWE Steering Group
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