[MARMAM] Summer and winter surveys of deep waters of the Hellenic Trench, Greece, provide insights into the spatial and temporal distribution of odontocetes.

Alexandros Frantzis afrantzis at otenet.gr
Wed Nov 1 19:09:36 PDT 2023


Dear Marmam and ECS members,

The following paper has been publish a few days ago:

Thompson KF, Webber T, Karantzas L, Gordon J, Frantzis A (2023) Summer 
and winter surveys of deep waters of the Hellenic Trench, Greece, 
provide insights into the spatial and temporal distribution of 
odontocetes. Endang Species Res 52:163-176. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01265

The publication was accompanied by a Press Release available here: 
https://news.exeter.ac.uk/faculty-of-health-and-life-sciences/endangered-whales-live-in-area-earmarked-for-gas-exploration/

*Abstract:* The Mediterranean Sea provides habitat for globally 
threatened cetaceans. The Hellenic Trench is an Important Marine Mammal 
Area, providing core habitat for sperm whales /Physeter macrocephalus/ 
and Cuvier’s beaked whales /Ziphius cavirostris/. Surveys have 
characterized distributions of these species in near-shore areas (<2000 
m deep). Sparse survey effort in deeper waters during winter has allowed 
speculation that it is not an important habitat in winter. We used 
passive acoustic monitoring from towed arrays to document cetaceans 
during summer and winter, covering 18 366 km of trackline off the 
Peloponnese and Crete. We confirmed the acoustic presence of 5 
odontocetes: sperm whales (n = 49 encounters; mean depth (x): 3360 m; 
range (R): 1250 to 4210 m), Cuvier’s beaked whales (n = 4; x: 3070 m; R: 
1970 to 3770 m), Risso’s dolphins /Grampus griseus/ (n = 5; x: 3340 m; 
R: 2250 to 4440 m), striped dolphins /Stenella coeruleoalba/ (n = 2; x: 
2980 m; R: 2490 to 3470 m) and rough-toothed dolphins /Steno 
bredanensis/ (n = 1; 3650 m). We also encountered 224 unidentified 
delphinids, including a potential blackfish (3020 m). We confirmed that 
these species are present in the Hellenic Trench throughout the year. 
Given the impact of multiple threats on sperm and Cuvier’s beaked whales 
in the Hellenic Trench, we suggest that policymakers follow the 
precautionary approach in managing human activities in the area. Ongoing 
seismic surveys, hydrocarbon extraction and uncontrolled shipping could 
have potentially negative effects on these species at the population 
level and we advise caution in permitting such activities in future.

For copies, please contact the first and corresponding author Dr. 
Kirsten Thompson at: k.f.thompson at exeter.ac.uk

Best wishes,
Alexandros

-- 
__________________________________________________________

Dr. Alexandros Frantzis
Scientific director
Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute
Terpsichoris 21
16671 Vouliagmeni,
GREECE
Tel.: +30-210-8960108
e-mail:afrantzis at otenet.gr  
website:http://www.pelagosinstitute.gr
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyp-eiteK0GBb0Lr5psk0g
__________________________________________________________


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