[MARMAM] New Publication: Social segregation of humpback whales

solene derville solene.derville at ird.fr
Mon Jan 22 13:57:45 PST 2018

Dear Marmam community,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article in the Journal of Mammalogy:

Solène Derville, Leigh G Torres, Claire Garrigue;*Social segregation of humpback whales in contrasted coastal and oceanic 
breeding habitats*,/Journal of Mammalogy/, , gyx185,https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx185

Abstract: Maternal habitat preferences of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are well documented from decades of coastal research but oceanic areas have received less attention. Whales breeding in New Caledonia occupy both ecosystems: a coastal reef complex (South Lagoon) and oceanic seamounts (Southern Seamounts). Generalized additive models were applied to 20 years of boat-based whale observations (n = 1,526) to describe habitat preferences and permissive home range estimations were used to explicitly model spatial segregation in relation to social context. Groups with calves (n = 206) preferred shallow coastal waters throughout the season in the South Lagoon, whereas no habitat segregation was observed between groups with (n = 74) and without calves (n = 140) in the Southern Seamounts. As a result, spatial overlap between groups with and without calves was more common in the Southern Seamounts than the South Lagoon. Despite a lack of social segregation around seamounts, mother-calf pairs were proportionally more frequent in the Southern Seamounts (27%) than in the South Lagoon (16%). Photographs of the calves’ dorsal flanks were analyzed to compare age and ecological markers across sites. Calves appeared older in the Southern Seamounts than in the South Lagoon but no difference in scarring or shark bites was found across sites, suggesting that calves experienced similar lifestyles and may move between offshore and coastal waters during the breeding season. This study highlights the flexible habitat-use patterns of breeding humpback whales and raises new questions about the environmental and social drivers of their presence in offshore breeding grounds.

The paper may be downloaded on https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jmammal/gyx185/4820410

Feel free to contact me directly for a PDF copy: solene.derville at ird.fr


Solène Derville
PhD student - Spatial Ecology
UMR Entropie - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Association Opération Cétacés
101 Promenade Roger Laroque, BPA5
98848 Noumea cedex, New Caledonia
Phone: +687 912299

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