[MARMAM] New publication: New insights into prime Southern Ocean forage grounds for thriving Western Australian humpback whales [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Virginia Andrews-Goff Virginia.Andrews-Goff at aad.gov.au
Sun Oct 13 16:31:39 PDT 2019


On behalf of my co-authors, please find below information about our recent Scientific Reports publication: 'New insights into prime Southern Ocean forage grounds for thriving Western Australian humpback whales,' https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50497-2.
Many thanks, Virginia


Bestley S, Andrews-Goff V, van Wijk E, Rintoul SR, Double MC and How J 2019. New insights into prime Southern Ocean forage grounds for thriving Western Australian humpback whales. Scientific Reports 9(1): 13988.



Humpback whale populations migrate extensively between winter breeding grounds and summer feeding grounds, however known links to remote Antarctic feeding grounds remain limited in many cases. New satellite tracks detail humpback whale migration pathways from Western Australia into the Southern Ocean. These highlight a focal feeding area during austral spring and early summer at the southern Kerguelen plateau, in a western boundary current where a sharp northward turn and retroflection of ocean fronts occurs along the eastern plateau edge. The topographic steering of oceanographic features here likely supports a predictable, productive and persistent forage ground. The spatial distribution of whaling catches and Discovery era mark-recaptures confirms the importance of this region to Western Australian humpback whales since at least historical times. Movement modelling discriminates sex-related behaviours, with females moving faster during both transit and resident periods, which may be a consequence of size or indicate differential energetic requirements. Relatively short and directed migratory pathways overall, together with high-quality, reliable forage resources may provide a partial explanation for the ongoing strong recovery demonstrated by this population. The combination of new oceanographic information and movement data provides enhanced understanding of important biological processes, which are relevant within the context of the current spatial management and conservation efforts in the Southern Ocean.



Dr Virginia Andrews-Goff
Marine Mammal Research Scientist
Science Branch
Australian Antarctic Division
Department of the Environment and Energy

203 Channel Highway, Kingston Tasmania Australia 7050
T: 03 6232 3122  M: 0404 668 639

Please note: I am in the office on Monday, Tuesday and Friday


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