[MARMAM] Passive acoustic monitoring reveals spatio-temporal distributions of Antarctic and pygmy blue whales around central New Zealand - new publication

Victoria Warren vwar775 at aucklanduni.ac.nz
Wed Jan 6 13:43:49 PST 2021

Dear colleagues,

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

Passive acoustic monitoring reveals spatio-temporal distributions of
Antarctic and pygmy blue whales around central New Zealand.
Victoria E. Warren, Ana Sirovic, Craig McPherson, Kimberly T. Goetz, Craig
A. Radford and Rochelle Constantine. Frontiers in Marine Science, 2021,

We've known for a long time that two sub-species of blue whale occur in New
Zealand waters (Antarctic blue whales and pygmy blue whales), but they've
often been lumped together as it's tricky to tell the difference between
them by eye. Luckily they produce very different sounds, so using acoustic
monitoring we were able to distinguish between them and uncover the
differences in their distributions over time and space.

Effective management of wild animal populations relies on an understanding
of their spatio-temporal distributions. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM)
is a non-invasive method to investigate the distribution of free-ranging
species that reliably produce sound. Critically endangered Antarctic blue
whales (*Balaenoptera musculus intermedia*) (ABWs) co-occur with pygmy blue
whales (*B. m. brevicauda*) (PBWs) around New Zealand. Nationally, both are
listed as “data deficient” due to difficulties in access and visual
sub-species identification. PAM was used to investigate the distributions
of blue whales *via* sub-species specific song detections in central New
Zealand. Propagation models, incorporating ambient noise data, enabled the
comparison of detections among recording locations in different marine
environments. ABW detections peaked during austral winter and spring,
indicating that New Zealand, and the South Taranaki Bight (STB) in
particular, is a migratory corridor for ABWs. Some ABW calls were also
detected during the breeding season (September and October). PBW calls were
highly concentrated in the STB, particularly between March and May,
suggesting that an aggregation of PBWs may occur here. Therefore, the STB
is of great importance for both sub-species of blue whale. PBW detections
were absent from the STB during parts of austral spring, but PBWs were
detected at east coast locations during this time. Detection area models
were valuable when interpreting and comparing detections among recording
locations. The results provide sub-species specific information required
for management of critically endangered ABWs and highlight the relative
importance of central New Zealand for both sub-species of blue whale.

The open-access article can be downloaded from

You are very welcome to contact me via email (vwar775 at aucklanduni.ac.nz) if
you have any questions.

Kind regards,
Victoria Warren

Victoria Warren

PhD Candidate, University of Auckland

NIWA, 301 Evans Bay Parade, Greta Point, Wellington, New Zealand
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