Factors driving the variability in diving and movement behavior of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): implications for anthropogenic disturbance studies

Kavanagh, Ailbhe S. , Noad, Michael J. , Blomberg, Simon P. , Goldizen, Anne W. , Kniest, Eric, Cato, Douglas H. and Dunlop, Rebecca A. (2017) Factors driving the variability in diving and movement behavior of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): implications for anthropogenic disturbance studies. Marine Mammal Science, 33 2: 413-439. doi:10.1111/mms.12375


Author Kavanagh, Ailbhe S.
Noad, Michael J.
Blomberg, Simon P.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Kniest, Eric
Cato, Douglas H.
Dunlop, Rebecca A.
Title Factors driving the variability in diving and movement behavior of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): implications for anthropogenic disturbance studies
Formatted title
Factors driving the variability in diving and movement behavior of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): implications for anthropogenic disturbance studies
Journal name Marine Mammal Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1748-7692
0824-0469
Publication date 2017-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/mms.12375
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 33
Issue 2
Start page 413
End page 439
Total pages 27
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) undertake one of the longest migrations of any animal and while on a broad-scale this journey appears direct, on a fine-scale, behaviors associated with socializing and breeding are regularly observed. However, little is known about which social and environmental factors influence behavior during this time. Here we examined the effect of multiple factors on the movement (speed and course) and diving behavior (dive and surfacing duration) of humpback whales during migration off the eastern coast of Australia. Focal data (202 h) were collected on 94 different whale groups with simultaneous social and environmental context data. The environmental factors water depth and wind speed were found to be important predictors of dive and movement behavior, whereas social factors were less influential at this site. Groups tended to dive for longer with increased water depth but traveled more slowly in increasing wind speeds. These baseline studies are crucial when examining the effect of anthropogenic disturbance. Determining which natural factors significantly affect behavior ensures any observed behavioral changes are correctly attributed to the disturbance and are not a result of other factors. In addition, any responses observed can be put into biological context and their relative magnitude determined.
Keyword Anthropogenic disturbance
Behavior
BRAHSS
Diving
Environmental context
Humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
Migration
Movement
Social context
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Biological Sciences Publications
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