[MARMAM] new paper on seasonal migrations of minke whales based on PAM

Denise Risch denise.risch at gmail.com
Mon Nov 24 06:42:24 PST 2014

Dear All,
We are happy to announce that the following paper is now available from the
Journal of Movement Ecology:

Denise Risch, Manuel Castellote, Christopher W Clark, Genevieve E Davis,
Peter J Dugan, Lynne EW Hodge, Anurag Kumar, Klaus Lucke, David K
Mellinger, Sharon L Nieukirk, Marian Popescu, Christian Ramp, Andrew J
Read, Aaron N Rice, Monica A Silva, Ursula Siebert, Kate Stafford, Sofie M
Van Parijs (2014): Seasonal migrations of North Atlantic minke whales:
Novel insights from large-scale passive acoustic monitoring networks

Little is known about migration patterns and seasonal distribution away
from coastal summer feeding habitats of many pelagic baleen whales.
Recently, large-scale passive acoustic monitoring networks have become
available to explore migration patterns and identify critical habitats of
these species. North Atlantic minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
perform seasonal migrations between high latitude summer feeding and low
latitude winter breeding grounds. While the distribution and abundance of
the species has been studied across their summer range, data on migration
and winter habitat are virtually missing. Acoustic recordings, from 16
different sites from across the North Atlantic, were analyzed to examine
the seasonal and geographic variation in minke whale pulse train
occurrence, infer information about migration routes and timing, and to
identify possible winter habitats.
Acoustic detections show that minke whales leave their winter grounds south
of 30? N from March through early April. On their southward migration in
autumn, minke whales leave waters north of 40? N from mid-October through
early November. In the western North Atlantic spring migrants appear to
track the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream along the continental shelf,
while whales travel farther offshore in autumn. Abundant detections were
found off the southeastern US and the Caribbean during winter. Minke whale
pulse trains showed evidence of geographic variation, with longer pulse
trains recorded south of 40? N. Very few pulse trains were recorded during
summer in any of the datasets.
This study highlights the feasibility of using acoustic monitoring networks
to explore migration patterns of pelagic marine mammals. Results confirm
the presence of minke whales off the southeastern US and the Caribbean
during winter months. The absence of pulse train detections during summer
suggests either that minke whales switch their vocal behaviour at this time
of year, are absent from available recording sites or that variation in
signal structure influenced automated detection. Alternatively, if pulse
trains are produced in a reproductive context by males, these data may
indicate their absence from the selected recording sites. Evidence of
geographic variation in pulse train duration suggests different behavioural
functions or use of these calls at different latitudes.

The paper is open-access and can either be downloaded here:
or just email for a copy (denise.risch at sams.ac.uk)
All the best, Denise
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