[MARMAM] Status of northern bottlenose whale

hwhitehe at Dal.Ca hwhitehe at Dal.Ca
Wed Nov 7 09:17:10 PST 2012

We have just published a paper entitled "Uncertain status of the northern 
bottlenose whale Hyperoodon ampullatus: population fragmentation, legacy 
of whaling and current threats".  It is available on Open Access at: 


The abstract is below.

Hal Whitehead (hwhitehe at dal.ca) and Sascha Hooker.

Whitehead, H. and S.K. Hooker. 2012. Uncertain status of the northern 
bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus): population fragmentation, 
legacy of whaling, and current threats. Endangered Species Research 19: 

ABSTRACT: The northern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon ampullatus is the 
best-known beaked whale species, but its conservation status remains very 
uncertain. A medium-sized cetacean that lives in the deeper waters of the 
northern North Atlantic, it is remarkable for its deep dives and 
inquisitiveness towards ships. There seem to have been of the order of 
100000 whales prior to 40 yr of intense whaling beginning in the 1880s, and 
this population was undoubtedly heavily reduced by 1920. The effects of a 
second phase of whaling between 1937 and 1973 are contentious, and 
current abundance estimates are patchy. There are suggestions of 
metapopulation structure (even at the scale of 50 km) in the western Atlantic 
among populations that do not appear to migrate. In the eastern Atlantic, 
data on population structure and migrations are few and confusing. Whales 
are incidentally caught in fishing gear and interact with fisheries off 
Labrador, Canada. They may also be affected by underwater noise. 
However, the population consequences of these and other anthropogenic 
stressors, particularly within this unknown metapopulation structure, are very 
uncertain. In some respects, such as the paucity of sightings on major 
whaling grounds off mainland Norway and Labrador, the picture that we 
have is disturbing. Analyses of genes, contaminants and vocalizations, as 
well as photoidentification and satellite tag data, can inform about population 
structure, migrations, life history parameters, current population sizes, and 


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