[MARMAM] New publication - humpback whale telemetry

solene.derville at ird.fr solene.derville at ird.fr
Tue Mar 31 17:35:19 PDT 2020

Dear MARMAM community, 

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article in Scientific Reports: 

Derville, Solène, Leigh G Torres, Alexandre N Zerbini, Marc Oremus, and Claire Garrigue. 2020. “Horizontal and Vertical Movements of Humpback Whales Inform the Use of Critical Pelagic Habitats in the Western South Pacific.” Scientific Reports 10:4871 
[ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61771-z | https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61771-z ] 


Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) are known for their nearshore distribution during the breeding season, but their pelagic habitat use patterns remain mostly unexplored. From 2016 to 2018, 18 humpback whales were equipped with depth-recording satellite tags (SPLASH10) to shed light on environmental and social drivers of seamount association around New Caledonia in the western South Pacific. Movement paths were spatially structured around shallow seamounts (<200 m). Indeed, two males stopped over the Lord Howe seamount chain during the first-ever recorded longitudinal transit between New Caledonia and the east coast of Australia. Residence time significantly increased with proximity to shallow seamounts, while dive depth increased in the vicinity of seafloor ridges. Most of the 7,986 recorded dives occurred above 80 m (88.5%), but deep dives (>80 m, max 616 m) were also recorded (11.5%), including by maternal females. Deep dives often occurred in series and were characterized by U-shapes suggesting high energy expenditure. This study provides new insights into the formerly overlooked use of pelagic habitats by humpback whales during the breeding season. Given increasing anthropogenic threats on deep sea habitats worldwide, this work has implications for the conservation of vulnerable marine ecosystems. 

The article can be downloaded in open access. 

Best wishes, 

Solène Derville 
PhD - Marine & Geospatial Ecology 
Association Opération Cétacés 
UMR Entropie - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement 
101 Promenade Roger Laroque, BPA5 
98848 Noumea cedex, New Caledonia 
Phone: +687 912299 
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