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New paper on spatial variabilities in humpback whale acoustic presence i

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Subject: New paper on spatial variabilities in humpback whale acoustic presence in the Southern Ocean
From: Ilse van Opzeeland <>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2020 11:57:59 +0000

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our new paper in Royal Society Open Science on humpback whales in the Southern Ocean:

Large-scale spatial variabilities in the humpback whale acoustic presence in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean
Elena Schall, Karolin Thomisch, Olaf Boebel, Gabriele Gerlach, Stefanie Spiesecke and Ilse Van Opzeeland

Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) inhabit a wide variety of ecosystems including both low- and high-latitude areas. Understanding the habitat selection of humpback whale populations is key for humpback whale stock management and general ecosystem management. In the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean (ASSO), the investigation of baleen whale distribution by sighting surveys is temporally restricted to the austral summer. The implementation of autonomous passive acoustic monitoring, in turn, allows the study of vocal baleen whales year-round. This study describes the results of analysing passive acoustic data spanning 12 recording positions throughout the ASSO applying a combination of automatic and manual analysis methods to register humpback whale acoustic activity. Humpback whales were present at nine recording positions with higher acoustic activities towards lower latitudes and the eastern and western edges of the ASSO. During all months, except December (the month with the fewest recordings), humpback whale acoustic activity was registered in the ASSO. The acoustic presence of humpback whales at various locations in the ASSO confirms previous observations that part of the population remains in high-latitude waters beyond austral summer, presumably to feed. The spatial and temporal extent of humpback whale presence in the ASSO suggests that this area may be used by multiple humpback whale breeding populations as a feeding ground.

The paper is available with open access under the following link:

Best wishes,

Elena Schall & Ilse Van Opzeeland

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