[MARMAM] Fin whale movements in the Gulf of California from satellite telemetry -- new paper and data publication

Daniel Palacios daniel.palacios at oregonstate.edu
Thu Jan 10 11:02:23 PST 2019

MARMAM community:

We are pleased to announce the open-access publication of our paper:

Jiménez-López ME, Palacios DM, Jaramillo A, Urbán R J, Mate BR (2019) Fin
whale movements in the Gulf of California, Mexico, from satellite
telemetry. PLoS ONE 14(1):e0209324. DOI:

Fin whales (*Balaenoptera physalus*) have a global distribution, but the
population inhabiting the Gulf of California (GoC) is thought to be
geographically and genetically isolated. However, their distribution and
movements are poorly known. The goal of this study was to describe fin
whale movements for the first time from 11 Argos satellite tags deployed in
the southwest GoC in March 2001. A Bayesian Switching State-Space Model was
applied to obtain improved locations and to characterize movement behavior
as either “area-restricted searching” (indicative of patch residence, ARS)
or “transiting” (indicative of moving between patches). Model performance
was assessed with convergence diagnostics and by examining the distribution
of the deviance and the behavioral parameters from Markov Chain Monte Carlo
models. ARS was the predominant mode behavior 83% of the time during both
the cool (December-May) and warm seasons (June-November), with slower
travel speeds (mean= 0.84 km/h) than during transiting mode (mean= 3.38
km/h). We suggest ARS mode indicates either foraging activities (year
around) or reproductive activities during the winter (cool season). We
tagged during the cool season, when the whales were located in the
Loreto-La Paz Corridor in the southwestern GoC, close to the shoreline. As
the season progressed, individuals moved northward to the Midriff Islands
and the upper gulf for the warm season, much farther from shore. One tag
lasted long enough to document a whale’s return to Loreto the following
cool season. One whale that was originally of undetermined sex, was tagged
in the Bay of La Paz and was photographed 10 years later with a calf in the
nearby San Jose Channel, suggesting seasonal site fidelity. The tagged
whales moved along the western GoC to the upper gulf seasonally and did not
transit to the eastern GoC south of the Midriff Islands. No tagged whales
left the GoC, providing supporting evidence that these fin whales are a
resident population.

The underlying data have also been published as a "Movebank Repository"
under a Creative Commons Zero license as:

Mate BR, Palacios DM, Follett TM (2019) Data from: Fin whale movements in
the Gulf of California, Mexico, from satellite telemetry. Movebank Data
Repository. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5441/001/1.65h5s5p2

Finally, a press release accompanying the article has also been prepared:

Daniel M. Palacios, Ph.D.
Endowed Assistant Professor in Whale Habitats
Whale Telemetry Group
Marine Mammal Institute and Dept. of Fisheries & Wildlife
Oregon State University
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365, USA

Office: HMSC 227 West Wing
Phone: 541-990-2750
Fax: 541-867-0128
Email: daniel.palacios at oregonstate.edu
MMI Profile <https://mmi.oregonstate.edu/people/daniel-m-palacios> | Google
Scholar <https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=6Derh7cAAAAJ&hl=en> |
ResearchGate <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Daniel_Palacios3>
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