[MARMAM] New publication: Low latitude habitat use patterns of a recovering population of humpback whales

Maria Isabel Gonçalves misabelcgoncalves at gmail.com
Tue Apr 24 11:43:01 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recent publication in Journal
of the Marine Biological Association of the UK:

Gonçalves, M.I.C., Sousa-Lima, R.S., Teixeira, N.N., Morete, M.E.,
Carvalho, G.H., Ferreira, H.M., Baumgarten, J.E. 2018. Low latitude habitat
use patterns of a recovering population of humpback whales. Journal of the
Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 1-10. DOI


The coast of Brazil is an important low latitude nursery ground for
humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*). The number of humpback whales
in this region has increased and its population is reoccupying areas where
it has been depleted during the whaling period. The goal of this study was
to conduct land-based observations during 2014 and 2015 to characterize
​ ​
of habitat use and relative abundance of humpback whales that migrate to
one of these reoccupation areas: Serra Grande, Bahia state. The observed
mean group size was 2.12 + 0.96 individuals and did not vary through the
reproductive season nor between years. Dyads (32.9%) and singletons (26.7%)
were more frequently observed, and groups with calves represented 21.2% of
the sightings. The mean number of whales counted per hour increased from
2014 (3.44 + 3.35) to 2015 (5.12 + 4.18). Habitat use varied during the
season; whales used shallower waters closer to shore as the season
progressed. The spatial distribution of groups with calves was dependent on
the presence and number of escorts. Spatial segregation of groups with
calves closer to shore is a key factor in understanding the overall
distribution of whales in the area, suggesting
that social strategies are affected by environmental factors, as seen in
other wintering grounds. Small-scale studies from landbased stations, in
areas such as this where there is no previous knowledge about the species,
are cost effective. They provide information about the overall behavioural
and spatial patterns while anthropogenic activity is still low, allowing
habitat protection and management decisions before implementation and
increase of human activities.

It can be found online at

Or please feel free to contact me for a PDF:  misabelcgoncalves at gmail.com

Best regards,

Maria Isabel C. Gonçalves
Bióloga marinha / *Marine biologist*
Mestre em Ciências do Mar - Recursos Marinhos / *Master's Degree in Marine
Sciences – Marine Resources*
Doutora em Ecologia e Conservação da Biodiversidade / *PhD in **Ecology and
Biodiversity **Conservation*
LaB - Laboratório de Bioacústica / *LaB - Laboratory of Bioacoustics*
Telefone / *Phone*: (+55) 73 991276590 / 998241751
Skype: isinhas_goncalves
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