[MARMAM] New Publication : Humpback Whales in Nicaragua

Association ELI-S eliscientific at gmail.com
Mon Jul 11 11:25:22 PDT 2022

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recent publication in Marine
and Freshwater Research.

De Weerdt, J., Calambokidis J., Pouplard E., Pouey-Santalou V., Patulny C.,
Kochzius M., Clapham P. 2022. Abundance, distribution and behavior of
humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) along the Pacific coast of
Nicaragua, Central America. Marine and freshwater Research.

Context. Previous research has shown the presence of an endangered humpback
whale population breeding off the Pacific coast of Central America.
However, little is known about the density, size, social-group structure
and spatial habitat use of this subpopulation. Aim. The study goal was to
characterise a potential breeding subpopulation of humpback whales in the
waters off Nicaragua. Five objectives were used to achieve this goal: (1)
estimate abundance, (2) determine encounter rates, (3) define group
composition, (4) assess distribution, and (5) document habitat-use
patterns. Method. Boat-based surveys were conducted between November and
April at two study sites along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua in the
winters of 2004–2008 and 2016–2020. Key result. Inter-annual mark–recapture
estimates did not yield a reliable estimate of abundance. Encounter rates
were lower for the northern study site than for the southern site. Group
composition consisted of groups with calves, singers and competitive males.
Conclusion. These results confirmed that Nicaragua is a breeding area based
on known breeding-ground behaviours observed in other areas, and similar
environmental characteristics. Implication. Distinct habitats were found at
the two study sites, suggesting that Central American humpback whales might
use different areas within the broader Central American breeding range
according to their needs and activity.

Send me an email to receive a preprint of the paper.

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https://eli-s.com/shop/ or consider a donation

Best regards,

*Joëlle De Weerdt*
*Become a donor of our project  o
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PhD Candidate VUB

Project director of Cetacean conservation of Nicaragua
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