[MARMAM] Sperm whale responses to suction-cup tag attachment - new publication

Victoria Warren vwar775 at aucklanduni.ac.nz
Thu Jul 9 22:24:53 PDT 2020

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of the
following article:

Short-term responses of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to the
attachment of suction-cup tags.
Victoria E. Warren, Patrick J.O. Miller, and Peter L. Tyack
Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2020, Vol 645, 219-234; doi: https://

Animal-mounted data logging devices are used to study the behaviour,
physiology, and ecology of free-ranging marine mammals, as well as their
reactions to controlled exposures. It is important to consider whether
collected data are representative of natural behaviour or biased by
responses to tagging. In species with stereotypical diving behaviour,
tagging responses can be quantified by identifying anomalous dives. Data
from 36 suction cup tag deployments on sperm whales (*Physeter
macrocephalus)* from 4 locations were analysed to consider whether tagging
effects were evident within 5 dive parameters: maximum dive depth, dive
duration, descent speed, depth difference between start of clicking and
first prey capture attempt, and buzz rate. Linear mixed models were
generated for each response parameter and covariates for dive index were
added to assess whether model fit improved when the order of dives was
taken into account. Time-decaying tagging effects were noted in maximum
dive depth (first dives were 25% shallower than average) and buzz rate
(first dives contained 34% fewer buzzes per minute than average). In the
Azores, the first 3 dives subsequent to tag attachment featured faster
descent speeds than average. The whales were likely responding to the
cumulative ‘dose’ of research activity at the surface: multiple boat
approaches, tag placement, and general disturbance. Disturbance should be
minimised during tagging, and the extent and duration of responses should
be quantified. Modelling of quantified tagging responses could enable
correction of these responses in tag data.

The article can be downloaded from
https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v645/p219-234/ or a PDF can be
requested via email to vwar775 at aucklanduni.ac.nz

Kind regards,
Victoria Warren

Victoria Warren

PhD Candidate,
Leigh Marine Laboratory, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of
Auckland, Auckland 0985,
New Zealand
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