[MARMAM] Marmam - new article

Aleksandra Lechwar o.lechwar at gmail.com
Wed Apr 12 07:36:41 PDT 2023

Dear MARMAM community,

We are pleased to share our new paper entitled 'Habitat preference of
common minke whale (*Balaenoptera acutorostrata*) in Skjálfandi Bay,

Abstract: Anthropogenic activity has contributed to increased extinction
rates, creating a need to monitor and conserve vulnerable species.
Understanding the distribution and habitat preference of threatened species
can identify crucial habitats, for which protection can improve the
population size numbers.  Here, we investigate the habitat preference of
the common minke whale, a rapidly declining yet understudied cetacean
species. We analysed minke whale sightings over time and in relation to
environmental factors (depth, sea surface temperature, sediment,
chlorophyll), based on long-term monitoring data from Skjálfandi Bay in the
northeast of Iceland. We found minke whales have a preference for water
depth between 9-70m, and water temperature of either colder than 6°C or
warmer than 9°C. Shallow depth was a strong predictor of minke whale
presence, which matched sandeel distribution. Sandeels require shallow
depths for spawning and overwinter burrowing, and the match between minke
whale depth presence and sandeel habitat is in good agreement with sandeels
being an important minke whale food source. Although the relationship
between minke whale presence and sea surface temperature is weak, it also
matched sandeel distribution. We also detected a decline in minke whale
population size over the study period (2009-2018). The population decline
observed here is consistent with the population trend estimated for the
Icelandic population. We suggest that the habitat preferences identified
here should be considered for conservation recommendations and minimising
disturbance in the identified, crucial feeding areas.

The full article is available here: https://doi.org/10.47536/jcrm.v24i1.388

Aleksandra Lechwar
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