[MARMAM] New publication: Timing is everything: Drivers of interannual variability in blue whale migration

Angela Szesciorka angela at szesciorka.com
Fri May 8 12:35:14 PDT 2020


Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recent publication in *Scientific
Reports*:

Szesciorka, A.R., Ballance, L.T., Širović, A. et al. Timing is everything:
Drivers of interannual variability in blue whale migration. *Sci Rep* 10,
7710 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64855-y

Link to paper (full open-access):
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-64855-y

Abstract: Blue whales need to time their migration from their breeding
grounds to their feeding grounds to avoid missing peak prey abundances, but
the cues they use for this are unknown. We examine migration timing
(inferred from the local onset and cessation of blue whale calls recorded
on seafloor-mounted hydrophones), environmental conditions (e.g., sea
surface temperature anomalies and chlorophyll a), and prey (spring krill
biomass from annual net tow surveys) during a 10 year period (2008–2017) in
waters of the Southern California Region where blue whales feed in the
summer. Colder sea surface temperature anomalies the previous season were
correlated with greater krill biomass the following year, and earlier
arrival by blue whales. Our results demonstrate a plastic response of blue
whales to interannual variability and the importance of krill as a driving
force behind migration timing. A decadal-scale increase in temperature due
to climate change has led to blue whales extending their overall time in
Southern California. By the end of our 10-year study, whales were arriving
at the feeding grounds more than one month earlier, while their departure
date did not change. Conservation strategies will need to account for
increased anthropogenic threats resulting from longer times at the feeding
grounds.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Best,

Angela

--

Angela R. Szesciorka, M.Sc.

Ph.D. Candidate, Dr. Nancy Foster Fellow

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

(c) 650-787-9462 | (w) 858-546-7066
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