[MARMAM] New Publication on Humpback Whales Expansion into a New Habitat

Michael Belanger oersdo at gmail.com
Sun Apr 29 09:42:59 PDT 2018

Hi Everyone

We are pleased to announce the publication of our article dealing with
humpback whales and their expansion into new habitats on the east coast of

"Humpback Whale Expansion and Climate Change- Evidence of Foraging Into New
Habitats.". Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology (JMATE). Volume 9
no 1 2017.

ABSTRACT: Studies have shown that some cetacean species may immediately
benefit from climate change, however, most point to long term negative
impacts for many species. The Bay of Fundy is an important summer/fall
habitat for up to 12 cetacean species that depend on its rich biodiversity
for food and as a nursery for their young. St. Mary’s Bay (Nova Scotia,
Canada), located at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, is a long, narrow bay
that has seen little cetacean activity for decades. Interestingly, in the
Fall of 2016, 4 humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*) were seen
feeding in the bay on large schools of fish and performing aerial displays
which lasted for 3 weeks. Evidence points towards the local water
temperature being warmer than usual, and anecdotal evidence of increased
numbers of herring in the bay, as explanations for these unusual cetacean
activities. These events suggest undocumented signs of climate change and
regional cetacean expansion. These foraging changes may increase
interactions between cetaceans and humans both hunting for the same fish
stocks, which may result in more whale entanglement in fishing gear. As
climate change is increasing at an alarming pace, it is critical to
document new habitat use by cetaceans and how this may affect
human/cetacean interaction within smaller habitats such as St. Mary’s Bay.
Knowledge from local biologists, citizen scientists and fishers will help
clarify whether the effects of climate change on new habitats used by
cetaceans is beneficial and for how long. [JMATE 2017; 9(1):13-17]

A PDF version is available at:

​We would be pleased to answer any questions about our publication or if
you need a PDF copy of the article: Please send an email to:
nesimeaskin at yahoo.ca

​Dr Nesime Askin
Biologist in Residence
Oceanographic Environmental Research Society (OERS)
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