Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 5, pp 1087–1093 | Cite as

Remote Antarctic feeding ground important for east Australian humpback whales

  • Rochelle Constantine
  • Debbie Steel
  • Judy Allen
  • Megan Anderson
  • Olive Andrews
  • C. Scott Baker
  • Peta Beeman
  • Daniel Burns
  • Jean-Benoît Charrassin
  • Simon Childerhouse
  • Michael Double
  • Paul Ensor
  • Trish Franklin
  • Wally Franklin
  • Nick Gales
  • Claire Garrigue
  • Nadine Gibbs
  • Peter Harrison
  • Nan Hauser
  • Amanda Hutsel
  • Curt Jenner
  • Micheline-Nicole Jenner
  • Greg Kaufman
  • Anne Macie
  • David Mattila
  • Carlos Olavarría
  • Adrian Oosterman
  • David Paton
  • Michael Poole
  • Jooke Robbins
  • Natalie Schmitt
  • Peter Stevick
  • Alden Tagarino
  • Kirsten Thompson
  • Juney Ward
Original Paper

Abstract

Understanding the dynamics of population recovery is particularly complex when an organism has multiple, remote breeding and feeding grounds separated by one of the longest known migration routes. This study reports on the most comprehensive assessment of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) movements between remote Antarctic waters south of New Zealand and east Australia (EA), and the migratory corridors and breeding grounds of Australia and Oceania. A total of 112 individual whales were identified; 57 from microsatellites and 61 by fluke with 23 % (n = 26) matched to sites outside Antarctica. Despite large datasets from other southern regions being included in the comparison, the whales were predominantly linked to EA (n = 24). Only two matches to the Oceania catalogues directly north was surprising; therefore the primary feeding grounds of these endangered whales still remain unknown. The confirmation of the Balleny Islands as an important feeding ground for EA whales could provide an insight into reasons behind the rapid recovery of this population. Determining the feeding grounds of Oceania’s whales may explain whether prey energetics or migration length are limiting factors to their recovery and will allow an understanding of future ecosystem changes in these whales.

Supplementary material

227_2014_2401_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 29 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rochelle Constantine
    • 1
  • Debbie Steel
    • 2
  • Judy Allen
    • 3
  • Megan Anderson
    • 4
  • Olive Andrews
    • 5
  • C. Scott Baker
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peta Beeman
    • 4
  • Daniel Burns
    • 4
    • 6
  • Jean-Benoît Charrassin
    • 7
  • Simon Childerhouse
    • 6
    • 8
  • Michael Double
    • 8
  • Paul Ensor
    • 9
  • Trish Franklin
    • 4
    • 10
  • Wally Franklin
    • 4
    • 10
  • Nick Gales
    • 8
  • Claire Garrigue
    • 11
  • Nadine Gibbs
    • 12
  • Peter Harrison
    • 4
  • Nan Hauser
    • 13
  • Amanda Hutsel
    • 14
  • Curt Jenner
    • 15
  • Micheline-Nicole Jenner
    • 15
  • Greg Kaufman
    • 14
  • Anne Macie
    • 14
  • David Mattila
    • 16
  • Carlos Olavarría
    • 17
  • Adrian Oosterman
    • 18
  • David Paton
    • 6
  • Michael Poole
    • 19
  • Jooke Robbins
    • 20
  • Natalie Schmitt
    • 8
  • Peter Stevick
    • 3
  • Alden Tagarino
    • 21
  • Kirsten Thompson
    • 1
  • Juney Ward
    • 22
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Marine Mammal InstituteOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  3. 3.Antarctic Humpback Whale CatalogueCollege of the AtlanticBar HarborUSA
  4. 4.Southern Cross University Whale Research CentreLismoreAustralia
  5. 5.Whales AliveByron BayAustralia
  6. 6.Blue Planet MarineJamison CentreCanberraAustralia
  7. 7.Département Milieux Et PeuplementAquatiques Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  8. 8.Australian Antarctic DivisionAustralian Marine Mammal CentreKingstonAustralia
  9. 9.Governors Bay, RD1LytteltonNew Zealand
  10. 10.The Oceania ProjectByron BayAustralia
  11. 11.Opération CétacésNoumeaNew Caledonia
  12. 12.Department of ConservationWellingtonNew Zealand
  13. 13.Cook Islands Whale ResearchAvaruaCook Islands
  14. 14.Pacific Whale FoundationWailukuUSA
  15. 15.Centre for Whale Research (Western Australia)FremantleAustralia
  16. 16.Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine SanctuaryKiheiUSA
  17. 17.Fundacion CEQUAPunta ArenasChile
  18. 18.Norfolk Island Whale SurveyScarboroughAustralia
  19. 19.Marine Mammal Research ProgramMaharepaFrench Polynesia
  20. 20.Provincetown Center for Coastal StudiesProvincetownUSA
  21. 21.Department of Marine and Wildlife ResourcesPago PagoAmerican Samoa
  22. 22.Ministry of Natural Resources and EnvironmentGovernment of SamoaApiaSamoa

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