[MARMAM] New article - Underwater photo-identification of sperm whales off Mauritius

Justine Girardet justinegirardet at gmail.com
Thu Apr 28 07:37:04 PDT 2022

 Dear all,

My colleagues and I are pleased to announce the publication of our paper
"Underwater photo-identification of sperm whales (*Physeter macrocephalus*)
off Mauritius"in Marine Biology Research.

The long-term monitoring of long-lived animals often requires individual
identification. For cetaceans, this identification may be based on
morphological characters observable from a boat such as shape, spots and
cuts of the back, fluke and dorsal fins. However, for some species such as
the sperm whales (*Physeter macrocephalus*), this approach may be
challenging as individuals display a rather uniform skin pigmentation. They
also do not very often show their fluke, complicating individual
identification from a boat. Immature sperm whales that usually have an
unharmed fluke may be excluded from photo-identification catalogues. Within
the framework of the Maubydick project, focusing on the long-term
monitoring of sperm-whales in Mauritius, passive underwater observation and
video recording were used to identify long-lasting body markers (e.g. sex,
ventral white markings, cut-outs of fins). A catalogue of 38 individuals
(six adult males, 18 adult females and 14 immatures) enabled observers to
record some nearly-daily, and yearly resightings.

Advantages and disadvantages of this method are presented here. Such
catalogues represent a robust baseline for conducting behavioural, genetic
and acoustic studies in social species. Benefits of such newly acquired
knowledge are of primary importance to implement relevant conservation
plans in the marine realm.

The article can be accessed for free for a limited time via the following
link :
It can also be access via

Best regards,

Justine Girardet

Université de Brest, UFR Sciences et Techniques
6 avenue le Gorgeu, 29200 Brest, France
Institut de Systématique, Évolution, Biodiversité UMR7205 (ISYEB), Equipe
Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Station Marine de Concarneau
justinegirardet at gmail.com
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