[MARMAM] New publication: The characteristics of krill swarms in relation to aggregating Antarctic blue whales

Elanor Miller elanorjh at gmail.com
Sun Nov 17 14:09:10 PST 2019


Dear all,

We are pleased to announce our recent article published in Scientific
Reports and available in open access at the following link:
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52792-4

Miller, E.J., Potts, J.M., Cox, M.J., Miller, B.S., Calderan, S., Leaper,
R. Olson, P.A., O'Driscoll, R.L*.*, Double, M.C. The characteristics of
krill swarms in relation to aggregating Antarctic blue whales. *Sci
Rep* 9, 16487
(2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-52792-4

Abstract:
We model the presence of rare Antarctic blue whales (*Balaenoptera musculus
intermedia)* in relation to the swarm characteristics of their main prey
species, Antarctic krill (*Euphausia superba*). A combination of visual
observations and recent advances in passive acoustic technology were used
to locate Antarctic blue whales, whilst simultaneously using active
underwater acoustics to characterise the distribution, size, depth,
composition and density of krill swarms. Krill swarm characteristics and
blue whale presence were examined at a range of spatiotemporal scales to
investigate sub meso-scale (*i.e.,* <100 km) foraging behaviour. Results
suggest that at all scales, Antarctic blue whales are more likely to be
detected within the vicinity of krill swarms with a higher density of
krill, those found shallower in the water column, and those of greater
vertical height. These findings support hypotheses that as lunge-feeders of
extreme size, Antarctic blue whales target shallow, dense krill swarms to
maximise their energy intake. As both Antarctic krill and blue whales play
a key role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem, the nature of their
predator-prey dynamics is an important consideration, not only for the
recovery of this endangered species in a changing environment, but for the
future management of Antarctic krill fisheries.


Kind regards,
Elanor Miller
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