[MARMAM] New paper on cost of somatic growth in southern right whales

Fredrik Christiansen f.christiansen at live.se
Thu Apr 7 06:02:53 PDT 2022

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are happy to announce the publication of the following paper in Marine Ecology Progress Series:

Christiansen, F., Bejder, L., Burnell, S., Ward, R. & Charlton, C. 2022. Estimating the cost of growth in southern right whales from drone photogrammetry data and long-term sighting histories. Marine Ecology Progress Series 687: 173-194.

Animal body size and growth patterns play important roles in shaping the life history of species. Baleen whales include the largest animals on the planet, with somatic growth costs expected to be substantial. We used unmanned aerial vehicle photogrammetry and long-term individual sighting histories from photo identification (1991-2019) to estimate the cost of somatic growth for southern right whales (SRWs) Eubalaena australis. A Richards length-at-age growth model was developed, based on 161 calves, 20 yearlings, 1 juvenile and 23 adults, ranging in age from newborn to 27 yr. Predicted lengths were 4.7 m at birth, 12.5 m at minimum age of first parturition (6 yr) and an asymptotic length of 14.3 m. A volume-at-age curve was estimated from the body volume versus length relationship, and converted to a mass-at-age curve, using data on body tissue composition of North Pacific right whales E. japonica (n = 13). The energetic cost of growth was estimated using published estimates of tissue lipid and protein concentrations. The cost of growth for SRWs (in MJ d-1) was 2112 at birth, 544 at 4 mo, 314 at 1 yr (~weaning age), 108 at 5 yr (minimum age of sexual maturity), 51.5 at 10 yr and 5.2 at 30 yr. The cumulative cost to age 30 was 764.3 GJ, but varied widely (458-995 GJ) depending on the tissue energy content. Our estimates represent a healthy SRW population, and provide a baseline to investigate individual and population level impacts of anthropogenic disturbance (including climate change).

The paper can be accessed (for subscribers) from the following link:

If your institute does not have a subscription, feel free to email me and I will send you a copy directly.

Best regards,

Fredrik Christiansen
Assistant Professor
Zoophysiology, Department of Biology, Aarhus University
C.F. Møllers Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
f.christiansen at bio.au.dk

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