Acoustically Detected Year-Round Presence of Right Whales in an Urbanized Migration Corridor

Morano, Janelle L., Rice, Aaron N., Tielens, Jamey T., Estabrook, Bobbi J., Murray, Anita, Roberts, Bethany L. and Clark, Christopher W. (2012) Acoustically Detected Year-Round Presence of Right Whales in an Urbanized Migration Corridor. Conservation Biology, 26 4: 698-707. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01866.x

Author Morano, Janelle L.
Rice, Aaron N.
Tielens, Jamey T.
Estabrook, Bobbi J.
Murray, Anita
Roberts, Bethany L.
Clark, Christopher W.
Title Acoustically Detected Year-Round Presence of Right Whales in an Urbanized Migration Corridor
Journal name Conservation Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0888-8892
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01866.x
Open Access Status
Volume 26
Issue 4
Start page 698
End page 707
Total pages 10
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Abstract Species' conservation relies on understanding their seasonal habitats and migration routesNorth Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), listed as endangered under the U.SEndangered Species Act, migrate from the southeastern U.Scoast to Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, a federally designated critical habitat, from February through May to feedThe whales then continue north across the Gulf of Maine to northern waters (e.g., Bay of Fundy)To enter Cape Cod Bay, right whales must traverse an area of dense shipping and fishing activity in Massachusetts Bay, where there are no mandatory regulations for the protection of right whales or management of their habitatWe used passive acoustic recordings of right whales collected in Massachusetts Bay from May 2007 through October 2010 to determine the annual spatial and temporal distribution of the whales and their calling activityWe detected right whales in the bay throughout the year, in contrast to results from visual surveysRight whales were detected on at least 24% of days in each month, with the exception of June 2007, in which there were no detectionsAveraged over all years, right whale calls were most abundant from February through MayDuring this period, calls were most frequent between 17:00 and 20:00 local time; no diel pattern was apparent in other monthsThe spatial distribution of the approximate locations of calling whales suggests they may use Massachusetts Bay as a conduit to Cape Cod Bay in the spring and as they move between the Gulf of Maine and waters to the south in September through DecemberAlthough it is unclear how dependent right whales are on the bay, the discovery of their widespread presence in Massachusetts Bay throughout the year suggests this region may need to be managed to reduce the probability of collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear.
Keyword Cetacean
Critical habitat
Eubalaena glacialis
Passive acoustic monitoring
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Veterinary Science Publications
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