[MARMAM] Publication announcement

bam B bamfordconnor at gmail.com
Fri Aug 21 07:44:35 PDT 2020

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I would like to announce the recent publication of the
following paper: “A comparison of baleen whale density estimates derived
from overlapping satellite imagery and a shipborne survey”.

The paper is open access, and available to all from:


As whales recover from commercial exploitation, they are increasing in
abundance in habitats that they have been absent from for decades. However,
studying the recovery and habitat use patterns of whales, particularly in
remote and inaccessible regions, frequently poses logistical and economic
challenges. Here we trial a new approach for measuring whale density in a
remote area, using Very-High-Resolution WorldView-3 satellite imagery. This
approach has capacity to provide sightings data to complement and assist
traditional sightings surveys. We compare at-sea whale density estimates to
estimates derived from satellite imagery collected at a similar time, and
use suction-cup archival logger data to make an adjustment for surface
availability. We demonstrate that satellite imagery can provide useful data
on whale occurrence and density. Densities, when unadjusted for surface
availability are shown to be considerably lower than those estimated by the
ship survey. However, adjusted for surface availability and weather
conditions (0.13 whales per km2, CV = 0.38), they fall within an order of
magnitude of those derived by traditional line-transect estimates (0.33
whales per km2, CV = 0.09). Satellite surveys represent an exciting
development for high-resolution image-based cetacean observation at sea,
particularly in inaccessible regions, presenting opportunities for ongoing
and future research.



Connor Bamford | PhD Researcher | British Antarctic Survey

High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET
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