Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 11, pp 2929–2941 | Cite as

Spatial trends in abundance of long-finned pilot whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises in West Greenland

  • Rikke Guldborg HansenEmail author
  • Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen
Original Paper


Data from an aerial line transect survey conducted off West Greenland during August–September 2007 were used to estimate the abundance of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) and harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). The abundance of each species was estimated using mark-recapture distance sampling techniques to correct for perception bias, and correction factors for time spent at the surface were applied. The fully corrected abundance estimates were 8,133 long-finned pilot whales, 11,984 white-beaked dolphins and 33,271 harbour porpoises. Based on density surface modelling methods, a count model with a generalised additive model formulation was used to relate abundance to spatial variables. Response curves indicated that the preferred habitats were deep offshore areas in Midwest Greenland for pilot whales, deep water over steep seabed slopes in South Greenland for white-beaked dolphins and relatively shallow inshore waters in Midwest–South Greenland for harbour porpoises. The abundance estimates and spatial trends for the three species are the first obtained from Greenland.


Abundance Estimate Harbour Porpoise Track Line Pilot Whale Fjord System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission is acknowledged for organising the 2007 Trans North Atlantic Sighting Survey that the survey analysed here was a part of The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and the Greenland Home Rule provided funding for the survey. Thanks to Marianne Rasmussen, Arne Geisler, Anita Gilles and Werner Piper for their involvement as observers, the skilled pilots; Louise Burt for providing expertise with abundance estimation; Marianne Rasmussen for providing information on white-beaked dolphins; and Jonas Teilmann for providing dive data of harbour porpoises.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rikke Guldborg Hansen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Greenland Institute of Natural ResourcesNuukGreenland

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