[MARMAM] New Paper: Global distribution of fin whales in the post-whaling era (1980-2012)

Elizabeth Edwards - NOAA Federal elizabeth.edwards at noaa.gov
Thu Sep 24 08:32:27 PDT 2015

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following publication in Mammal Review:

Edwards EF, Hall C, Moore TJ, Sheredy C and Redfern JV (2015). Global
distribution of fin whales *B**alaenoptera physalus* in the post-whaling
era (1980–2012). Mammal Review
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 197–214.


   1. The global distribution of fin whales *B**alaenoptera physalus* is
   not fully understood. Existing maps can be divided into two conflicting
   categories: one showing a continuous global distribution and another
   showing an equatorial hiatus (gap in the global distribution) between
   approximately 20°N and 20°S. Questions also remain about the seasonal
   distribution of fin whales.
   2. To explore the suggested equatorial hiatus and seasonal distribution
   patterns, we synthesised information on fin whale distribution in the
   post-whaling era (1980–2012) from published literature, publicly available
   reports and studies conducted by various organisations. We created four
   seasonally stratified maps showing line-transect density estimates,
   line-transect survey effort, acoustic detections, and sightings.
   3. An equatorial hiatus in the global distribution of fin whales during
   the post-whaling era is supported by numerous line-transect surveys and by
   the rarity of equatorial acoustic detections and sightings, and
   corroborated by whaling era reports, morphological analyses, and genetic
   4. Our synthesis of post-whaling era data is consistent with results
   from other studies indicating that fin whales are more abundant at higher
   latitudes during warmer months and more abundant at lower latitudes
   (although these latitudes are still greater than 20°) during colder months.
   However, our synthesis and results from other studies also indicate that
   some fin whales in both hemispheres remain in higher latitudes (50°–60°
   north or south) during colder months and in lower latitudes (to
   approximately 20°–30° north or south) during warmer months, indicating that
   seasonal fin whale movements differ from the seasonal migrations of blue
   whales*B**alaenoptera musculus* and humpback whales *M**egaptera
   5. Our maps of global fin whale distribution provide a comprehensive
   picture of current knowledge and highlight important geographical and
   temporal data gaps. Surveys should be conducted within the identified data
   gaps in order to increase fine-scale spatial and temporal knowledge of
   distribution patterns, improve fin whale taxonomy, and identify areas of
   elevated fin whale densities that may require management of threats, such
   as ship strikes.

The article is located at:

If you are unable to download the article, please contact me for a pdf at:
elizabeth.edwards at noaa.gov.


Liz Edwards

*Elizabeth Edwards, Ph. D.*
Marine Mammal and Turtle Division
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
8901 La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037-1509
(858) 546-7099 (office)
Elizabeth.Edwards at noaa.gov
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