[MARMAM] Two new publications on the movement ecology of short-finned pilot whales

Filipe Alves filalves at rocketmail.com
Mon Mar 18 07:51:10 PDT 2019

Dear MARMAM community,
we are pleased to announce the publication of two new open-access papers on the movement ecology of short-finned pilot whales in the warm temperate waters of the NE Atlantic based on photo-id and effort-related sightings data, from a major collaboration study.The first, although published in 2018, was released only this week due to being included in the first volume of the new journal 'Scientia Insularum | Island Science' (selected as Feature Article), describes a round-trip movement of at least 2000km between Madeira and the Azores by a socially stable and resident pod (in fact it is the pod with more captures in Madeira, being regularly captured since 2003). These findings broaden our understanding on these animals’ home ranges and suggest caution when establishing residency status in delphinids.
The second, in the journal Diversity and Distributions, makes a more comprehensive approach (based on likelihood techniques) and uses a much larger dataset comprising several regions, to estimate residency times and transition probabilities, and takes the social analysis into account; which could be a good practice to be used for other scenarios and species.

Alves F, A Alessandrini, M Fernandez, KL Hartman, A Dinis. 2018. Home sweet home? Wide-ranging movements of socially stable resident delphinids (Globicephala macrorhynchus). Scientia Insularum 1: 37-49.

ABSTRACTMovement patterns of delphinid populations are generally known to occur within specificgeographical areas; with the exception of the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Additionally,knowledge of wide-ranging migrations in these animals are mainly attributed to individualrecords with limited information on their social structure, residency status or purpose ofmigration. Here, a comparison of photographic-identification catalogues of short-finnedpilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) from the two most isolated archipelagos of theNorth Atlantic (Madeira and Azores) shows that five well-marked adult animals have madea round-trip movement, of no less than 2000 km. These delphinids belong to the mainresident pod in Madeira, where they present long-term site fidelity and were photographedin the Azores during an apparent stop (of at least 10 days), most likely for breeding or feedingpurposes. The analysis of the association patterns of these individuals shows that theywere sighted together on multiple occasions during the entire study period, suggesting thatthey are members of a cohesive unit. These findings broaden our understanding on theseanimals’ home ranges and suggest caution when establishing residency status in delphinids.
Link for free download: https://www.ull.es/revistas/index.php/scientia-insularum/article/view/62/407

Alves F, A Alessandrini, A Servidio, AS Mendonça, KL Hartman, R Prieto, S Berrow, S Magalhães, L Steiner, R Santos, R Ferreira, JM Pérez, F Ritter, A Dinis, V Martín, M Silva, NA de Soto. 2019. Complex biogeographical patterns support an ecological connectivity network of a large marine predator in the north-east Atlantic. Diversity and Distributions 25: 269-284.

ABSTRACTAim: The knowledge of a species biogeographical patterns greatly enhances our understanding of geographical ecology, which can improve identifying key conservation needs. Yet, this knowledge is still scarce for many marine top predators. Here, we aim to analyse movement patterns and spatial structuring of a large predator, the short-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus, over a wide geographical area.Location: North-east Atlantic, in Macaronesian archipelagos (Azores, Madeira and Canaries) and Iberian Peninsula (Sagres).Methods: We used likelihood techniques to estimate residency times and transition probabilities and carried out social analysis from individual photographic identification data, and analysed year-round distribution from effort-related sightings,collated between 1999 and 2015.Results: The best-fitting models included emigration and reimmigration and showed different residency times within each archipelago. A total of 26 individual movements from 21 individuals (from a sample of >2,300 individuals) were recorded between Madeira and the neighbouring archipelagos, and heterogeneous transition probabilities were estimated within and between areas. A social network diagram showed associations from animals with distinct residency patterns. Higher significant sighting rates were recorded during autumn in the Azores and Madeira.Main conclusions: The variation in site fidelity and year-round occupancy among areas of the Macaronesia is consistent with some degree of population structuring, which combined with a connectivity network and seasonal inflows from animals inhabiting offshore waters, support the development of a complex social and geographical ecology in short-finned pilot whales. The combination of techniques applied in this study was an effective way to estimate parameters of movement, which could be a good practice to be used for other scenarios and species.
Link for free download: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ddi.12848

Feel free to contact me with any question at filipe.alves at mare-centre.ptRegards,
Filipe Alves and all coauthors
Filipe Alves
Postdoctoral fellow
MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre / ARDITI
Caminho da Penteada, Madeira Tecnopolo,
9020-105 Funchal,
+351 291721216
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