[MARMAM] New Publication

Valeria D'Agostino valeriacdagostino at gmail.com
Fri Mar 17 05:28:36 PDT 2023

New publication on southern right whale feeding behavior at Península
Valdés (Valeria C. D’Agostino)

Dear Marmam Community,
My co-authors and I are pleased to share our new paper: ““Long-term
monitoring of southern right whale feeding behavior indicates that
Península Valdés is more than a calving ground” by Valeria C. D’Agostino,
Federico M. Heredia, Enrique A. Crespo, Alexis Fioramonti, Pablo
Fioramonti, Ángel Vélez and Mariana Degrati.

Publication link: https://rdcu.be/c7DMe

Península Valdés, Patagonia, Argentina, is recognized as a calving ground
for the southern right whale (SRW, Eubalaena australis) population from the
southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Previous studies have reported that SRWs feed
during their calving season but little is known about their foraging
ecology in this area. Here, we collected photo data of SRWs at Península
Valdés from 2007 to 2019 to monitor and investigate the SRW feeding
frequency and to know whether calves also feed on zooplankton (i.e., the
diet composed of both milk and solid food). In addition, we systematically
reviewed studies on the composition and abundance of zooplankton to assess
the available prey for SRWs in the area. Finally, we examined
satellite-derived chlorophyll-a (chl-a) in order to study if the chl-a
variability shows any relationship with SRW feeding. Observations show that
at Península Valdés SRWs feed at and below the surface, primarily on
calanoid copepods. We also found evidence that SRWs feed near-bottom. In
addition, we report calves feeding at surface including the first ever
photographs documentation. Whales feed mainly during austral spring, with a
higher mean frequency in November. A time lag of 1 month was found between
highest chl-a levels and the highest number of feeding events observed.
Over the twelve-year study period, we observed that whales were foraging
yearly, which indicates that feeding in this calving area is more frequent
than prior studies suggested. These data reveal the importance of the
waters off Península Valdés as a multi-use habitat for SRW.
Keywords: Right whale; Feeding ecology; Copepods; Habitat use; Patagonia

Best regards,
Valeria C. D’Agostino

Dra. Valeria C. D'Agostino
Laboratorio de Mamíferos Marinos
Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos (CESIMAR)
Centro Nacional Patagónico (CCT CENPAT-CONICET)
Blvd. Brown 2915, U9120ACD
Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.
Tel: (54-280) 4883184 - int. 1247
*https://bit.ly/3hzFQuK <https://bit.ly/3hzFQuK>*
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