[MARMAM] New publication: Satellite derived offshore migratory movements of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) from Australian and New Zealand wintering grounds

Alice Mackay alice.i.mackay at gmail.com
Sun May 10 00:38:37 PDT 2020

Dear all,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce the recent publication
of our article in PLOS ONE,

*Satellite derived offshore migratory movements of southern right whales
(Eubalaena australis) from Australian and New Zealand wintering grounds *

Alice I. Mackay, Frédéric Bailleul, Emma L. Carroll, Virginia Andrews-Goff,
C. Scott Baker, John Bannister, Laura Boren, Kris Carlyon, David M.
Donnelly, Michael Double,  Simon D. Goldsworthy, Robert Harcourt, Dirk
Holman, Andrew Lowther, Guido J. Parra,  Simon J. Childerhouse
* <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alice_Mackay> *Abstract

Southern right whales (*Eubalaena australis*) migrate between
Austral-winter calving and socialising grounds to offshore mid- to high
latitude Austral-summer feeding grounds. In Australasia, winter calving
grounds used by southern right whales extend from Western Australia across
southern Australia to the New Zealand sub-Antarctic Islands. During the
Austral-summer these whales are thought to migrate away from coastal waters
to feed, but the location of these feeding grounds is only inferred from
historical whaling data. We present new information on the satellite
derived offshore migratory movements of six southern right whales from
Australasian wintering grounds. Two whales were tagged at the Auckland
Islands, New Zealand, and the remaining four at Australian wintering
grounds, one at Pirates Bay, Tasmania, and three at Head of Bight, South
Australia. The six whales were tracked for an average of 78.5 days (range:
29 to 150) with average individual distance of 38 km per day (range: 20 to
61 km). The length of individually derived tracks ranged from 645–6,381 km.
Three likely foraging grounds were identified: south-west Western
Australia, the Subtropical Front, and Antarctic waters, with the
Subtropical Front appearing to be a feeding ground for both New Zealand and
Australian southern right whales. In contrast, the individual tagged in
Tasmania, from a sub-population that is not showing evidence of
post-whaling recovery, displayed a distinct movement pattern to much higher
latitude waters, potentially reflecting a different foraging strategy.
Variable population growth rates between wintering grounds in Australasia
could reflect fidelity to different quality feeding grounds. Unlike some
species of baleen whale populations that show movement along migratory
corridors, the new satellite tracking data presented here indicate
variability in the migratory pathways taken by southern right whales from
Australia and New Zealand, as well as differences in potential Austral
summer foraging grounds.

The article is open access and available to download at:


Kind regards,


Science Consulting Services
E: Alice.I.Mackay at gmail.com

Research Gate <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alice_Mackay>
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