[MARMAM] New publication on the abundance of WSA humpback whales

Guilherme Augusto Bortolotto bortolotto.ga at gmail.com
Thu Oct 13 11:22:38 PDT 2016

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that my co-authors and I would like to share our
most recent publication in PLOS ONE:

Bortolotto GA, Danilewicz D, Andriolo A, Secchi ER, Zerbini AN (2016) *Whale,
whale, e**verywhere: Increasing abundance of western South Atlantic
humpback whales (Megaptera **novaeangliae) in their wintering grounds*.
PLoS ONE 11(10): e0164596. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164596

Abstract: The western South Atlantic (WSA) humpback whale population
inhabits the coast of Brazil during the breeding and calving season in
winter and spring. This population was depleted to near extinction by
whaling in the mid-twentieth century. Despite recent signs of recovery,
increasing coastal and offshore development pose potential threats to these
animals. Therefore, continuous monitoring is needed to assess population
status and support conservation strategies. The aim of this work was to
present ship-based line-transect estimates of abundance for humpback whales
in their WSA breeding ground and to investigate potential changes in
population size. Two cruises surveyed the coast of Brazil during
August-September in 2008 and 2012. The area surveyed in 2008 corresponded
to the currently recognized population breeding area; effort in 2012 was
limited due to unfavorable weather conditions. WSA humpback whale
population size in 2008 was estimated at 16,410 (CV = 0.228, 95% CI =
10,563–25,495) animals. In order to compare abundance between 2008 and
2012, estimates for the area between Salvador and Cabo Frio, which were
consistently covered in the two years, were computed at 15,332 (CV = 0.243,
95% CI = 9,595–24,500) and 19,429 (CV = 0.101, 95% CI = 15,958–23,654)
whales, respectively. The difference in the two estimates represents an
increase of 26.7% in whale numbers in a 4-year period. The estimated
abundance for 2008 is considered the most robust for the WSA humpback whale
population because the ship survey conducted in that year minimized bias
from various sources. Results presented here indicate that in 2008, the WSA
humpback whale population was at least around 60% of its estimated
pre-modern whaling abundance and that it may recover to its
pre-exploitation size sooner than previously estimated.

Full text and PDF files can be downloaded here

or here

Alternatively, please send PDF requests to bortolotto.vet at gmail.com.

All the best,
Gui Bortolotto


From* *The Rime of the Ancient Mariner*,1834 poem by Samuel Taylor

"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink."

*Also from *Rime of the Ancient Mariner,* 1984 song By Iron Maiden

*Guilherme A. Bortolotto | *PhD Student

SMRU • CREEM • School of Biology
University of St Andrews

Mobile UK: (44) 0 7884 398394

R3 Animal Association (http://en.r3animal.org/)
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