[MARMAM] NEW PUBLICATION: First insights into the oceanographic characteristics of a blue whale feeding ground in northern Patagonia, Chile

Susannah Buchan sjbuchan at gmail.com
Fri Jul 29 14:17:22 PDT 2016

Dear MARMAMers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of our paper:

"First insights into the oceanographic characteristics of a blue whale
feeding ground in northern Patagonia, Chile"
by Susannah J. Buchan and Renato A. Quiñones
in Marine Ecology Progress Series


ABSTRACT: Blue whales *Balaenoptera musculus* select highly productive
feeding habitats where dense and abundant euphausiid aggregations
dependably arise. This study seeks to understand the oceanographic
characteristics that provide suitable foraging conditions for endangered
blue whales in northern Chilean Patagonia (NCP). We present the first *in
situ* oceanographic data (temperature, salinity and oxygen profiles,
nutrients and chl *a*, mesozooplankton abundance, euphausiid species and
size structure) associated with sightings of foraging blue whales collected
during 3 austral summer campaigns and 1 winter campaign (2011 to 2013) at 2
feeding sites in the southeast Corcovado Gulf (~43°53’S, 73°19’W).
Satellite data (MODIS) were also examined. 92% of all animals (n = 51)
displayed foraging behavior, and sighting rates were higher in summer. The
mesozooplankton was dominated by the euphausiid *Euphausia vallentini*.
During summer 2012, significantly lower whale sightings coincided with
significantly lower euphausiid abundance, chl *a* and silicate and
observations of large localized salp blooms, compared to summer 2013. These
conditions could be explained by changes in the inflow of oceanic and
continental waters into the Corcovado Gulf leading up to summer 2012. A
generalized linear model revealed that sightings of foraging blue whales
during summer 2013 were significantly associated with a drop in chl *a,* most
likely reflecting a synoptic succession pattern (days to weeks) of
phytoplankton blooms-euphausiid aggregation-arrival of blue whales at a
feeding site. Spatial variation suggests the important role of bathymetry
in concentrating planktonic organisms. These findings are the first
insights into the oceanographic factors that influence feeding conditions
for endangered blue whales in Patagonia.

Requests for reprints can be sent to: sjbuchan at gmail.com or sbuchan at udec.cl.

Kind regards,

Susannah J. Buchan, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
COPAS Sur-Austral Program
Department of Oceanography
Universidad de Concepción
sbuchan at udec.cl
Mobile phone: +56 9 6646 8466
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