[MARMAM] New publication on baleen whale distributions in the western North Atlantic using passive acoustic data

Genevieve Davis - NOAA Federal genevieve.davis at noaa.gov
Tue Jul 14 06:38:58 PDT 2020

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the Early View of our
publication in Global Change Biology:

Davis, G. E., Baumgartner M. F., Corkeron, P. J., Bell, J., Berchok,
C., Bonnell,
J.M., Bort Thornton, J., Brault, S., Buchanan, G. A., Cholewiak, D. M.,
Clark, C. W., Delarue, J., Hatch, L. T., Klinck, H., Kraus, S. D., Martin,
B., Mellinger, D. K., Moors‐Murphy, H., Nieukirk, S., Nowacek, D. P.,
Parks, S. E., Parry, D., Pegg, N., Read, A. J., Rice, A. N., Risch, D., Scott,
A., Soldevilla, M. S., Stafford, K. M., Stanistreet, J. E., Summers, E.,
Todd, S., and Van Parijs, S. M. Exploring movement patterns and changing
distributions of baleen whales in the western North Atlantic using a decade
of passive acoustic data. Glob Change Biol. 2020; 00:1-29.

ABSTRACT: Six baleen whale species are found in the temperate western North
Atlantic Ocean, with limited information existing on the distribution and
movement patterns for most. There is mounting evidence of distributional
shifts in many species, including marine mammals, likely because of
climate‐driven changes in ocean temperature and circulation. Previous
acoustic studies examined the occurrence of minke (*Balaenoptera
acutorostrata *) and North Atlantic right whales (NARW; *Eubalaena
glacialis *). This study assesses the acoustic presence of humpback (*Megaptera
novaeangliae *), sei (*B. borealis *), fin (*B. physalus *), and blue
whales (*B. musculus *) over a decade, based on daily detections of their
vocalizations. Data collected from 2004 to 2014 on 281 bottom‐mounted
recorders, totaling 35,033 days, were processed using automated detection
software and screened for each species' presence. A published study on NARW
acoustics revealed significant changes in occurrence patterns between the
periods of 2004–2010 and 2011–2014; therefore, these same time periods were
examined here. All four species were present from the Southeast United
States to Greenland; humpback whales were also present in the Caribbean.
All species occurred throughout all regions in the winter, suggesting that
baleen whales are widely distributed during these months. Each of the
species showed significant changes in acoustic occurrence after 2010.
Similar to NARWs, sei whales had higher acoustic occurrence in mid‐Atlantic
regions after 2010. Fin, blue, and sei whales were more frequently detected
in the northern latitudes of the study area after 2010. Despite this
general northward shift, all four species were detected less on the Scotian
Shelf area after 2010, matching documented shifts in prey availability in
this region. A decade of acoustic observations have shown important
distributional changes over the range of baleen whales, mirroring known
climatic shifts and identifying new habitats that will require further
protection from anthropogenic threats like fixed fishing gear, shipping,
and noise pollution.

The full article is Open Access and available online at:

Please feel free to contact me (genevieve.davis at noaa.gov) with any

Best wishes,
Genevieve Davis
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street,
Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA
*Phone: 508-495-2325*
*genevieve.davis at noaa.gov <genevieve.davis at noaa.gov>*
NEFSC Passive Acoustic Research: www.fisheries.noaa.gov
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