[MARMAM] New publication: Humpback whale migrations to Antarctic summer foraging grounds through the southwest Pacific Ocean [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Virginia Andrews-Goff Virginia.Andrews-Goff at aad.gov.au
Wed Aug 22 16:16:43 PDT 2018

Please find below information about our new Scientific Reports publication, Humpback whale migrations to Antarctic summer foraging grounds through the southwest Pacific Ocean?, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-30748-4.
Many thanks, Virginia

Andrews-Goff, V., Bestley, S., Gales, N. J., Laverick, S. M., Paton, D., Polanowski, A. M., Schmitt, N. T. and Double, M. C. 2018. Humpback whale migrations to Antarctic summer foraging grounds through the southwest Pacific Ocean. Scientific Reports 8(1): 12333.
                Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations typically undertake seasonal migrations, spending winters in low latitude breeding grounds and summers foraging in high latitude feeding grounds. Until recently, a broad scale understanding of whale movement has been derived from whaling records, Discovery marks, photo identification and genetic analyses. However, with advances in satellite tagging technology and concurrent development of analytical methodologies we can now detail finer scale humpback whale movement, infer behavioural context and examine how these animals interact with their physical environment. Here we describe the temporal and spatial characteristics of migration along the east Australian seaboard and into the Southern Ocean by 30 humpback whales satellite tagged over three consecutive austral summers. We characterise the putative Antarctic feeding grounds and identify supplemental foraging within temperate, migratory corridors. We demonstrate that Antarctic foraging habitat is associated with the marginal ice zone, with key predictors of inferred foraging behaviour including distance from the ice edge, ice melt rate and variability in ice concentration two months prior to arrival. We discuss the highly variable ice season within the putative foraging habitat and the implications that this and other environmental factors may have on the continued strong recovery of this humpback whale population.

Dr. Virginia Andrews-Goff
Marine Mammal Research and Support Officer
Australian Marine Mammal Centre
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Hwy, Kingston, TAS 7050
T: 03 6232 3122 | M: 0404 668 639


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