[MARMAM] New Paper: Quantifying the energy stores of capital breeding humpback whales and income breeding sperm whales using historical whaling records.

Lyn Irvine irvineimages at bigpond.com
Wed Mar 15 02:09:40 PDT 2017

Dear colleagues,


On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce the publication of the
following article:


Irvine, Lyn G., Michele Thums, Christine E Hanson, Clive R McMahon, and Mark
A Hindell. 2017 Quantifying the energy stores of capital breeding humpback
whales and income breeding sperm whales using historical whaling records. R.
Soc. open sci. 4: 160290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160290


Cetacean energy stores are known to vary according to life history,
reproductive status and time of year; however, the opportunity to quantify
these relationships is rare. Using a unique set of historical whaling
records from Western Australia (1952-1963), we investigated energy stores of
large cetaceans with differing life histories, and quantified the
relationship between total body lipid and length for humpback whales
(Megaptera novaeangliae) (n=905) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
(n=1961). We found that total body lipid increased with body length in both
humpback and sperm whales, consistent with size-related energy stores. Male
humpback whales stored 2.49 kl (15.6 barrels) (31.9-74.9%) more lipid than
male sperm whales of equivalent length, to fuel their annual migration.
Relative lipid stores of sperm whales (males) were constant throughout the
year, while those of humpback whales varied with reproductive class and
sampling date. Pregnant female humpback whales had higher relative energy
stores than non-pregnant females and males (26.2% and 37.4%, respectively),
to fuel the energy demands of gestation and lactation. Those that reached
the sampling site later (en route to their breeding grounds) carried higher
lipid stores than those that arrived earlier, possibly reflecting individual
variation in residency times in the Antarctic feeding grounds. Importantly,
longer pregnant females had relatively larger energy stores than the shorter
pregnant females, indicating that the smaller individuals may experience
higher levels of energetic stress during the migration fast. The
relationships we developed between body lipid and length can be used to
inform bioenergetics and ecosystem models when such detailed information is
not available.


A pdf may be obtained from the following link:



Warm regards,



Lyn Irvine

PhD Candidate 

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

University of Tasmania



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