Transit station or destination? Attendance patterns, movements, and abundance estimate of humpback whales off west South Africa from photographic and genotypic matching

Show simple item record Barendse, Jaco Best, Peter B. Thornton, Meredith Elwen, Simon Harvey Rosenbaum, Howard C. Carvalho, Ines Pomilla, Cristina Collins, T.J.Q. Meyer, M. Leeney, Ruth H. 2012-05-23T10:14:29Z 2012-05-23T10:14:29Z 2011-03
dc.description.abstract Humpback whales found off west South Africa (WSA) are known to display an atypical migration that may include temporary residency and feeding during spring and summer. At a regional scale there is uncertainty about how these whales relate to the greater West African Breeding Stock B as a whole, with evidence both for and against its division into two sub-stocks. A database containing sighting information of humpback whales intercepted by boat in the WSA region from 1983 to 2008 was compiled. It included a total of 1,820 identification images of ventral tail flukes and lateral views of dorsal fins. After systematic within- and between-year matching of images of usable quality, it yielded 154 different individuals identified by tail flukes (TF), 230 by left dorsal fins (LDF), and 237 by right dorsal fins (RDF). Microsatellite (MS) matching of 216 skin biopsies yielded 156 individuals. By linking all possible sightings of the same individuals using all available identification features, the periodicity and seasonality of 281 individual whales were examined. Sixty whales were resighted on different days of which 44 were between different calendar years. The most resightings for one individual was 11 times, seen in six different years, while the longest interval between first and last sightings was about 18 years. A resighting rate of 15.6% of whales at intervals of a year or more indicates long-term fidelity to the region. Shorter intervals of 1 – 6 months between sequential sightings in the same year may suggest temporary residency. The TF image collection from WSA was compared to TF collections from four other regions, namely Gabon, Cabinda (Angola), Namibia and the Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue (AHWC). Three matches were detected were between WSA (in late spring or summer) and Gabon (in winter), confirming direct movement between these regions. The capture-recapture data of four different identification features (TF, RDF, LDF and MS) from six successive subsets of data from periods with the highest collection effort (2001 – 2007), were used to calculate the number of whales that utilise the region, using both closed and open-population models. Since dorsal fins have never been used to estimate abundance for humpback whales, the different identification features were evaluated for potential biases. This revealed 9 – 14% incidence of missed matches (false negatives) when using dorsal fins that will result in an overestimate, while variation in individual fluke-up behaviour may lower estimates due to heterogeneity of individual capture probability, by as much as 57-69%. Taking into consideration the small dataset and low number of recaptures, the most consistent and precise results were obtained from a fully time-dependent version of the Jolly-Seber open-population model, with annual survival fixed at 0.96, using the MS dataset. This suggests that the WSA feeding assemblage during the months of spring and summer of the study period numbered about 500. The relationship of these whales to those (perhaps strictly migratory) that may occur here in other seasons of the year, and their links to possible migratory routes and other feeding or breeding areas remain uncertain. en
dc.description.librarian nf2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa, under Grant Number 2047517. Earthwatch Institute (funding), The Mazda Wildlife Fund (through the provision of a field vehicle), SASOL (through the donation of two four-stroke engines), PADI Project AWARE (UK) (funding), the South African Navy (access to the shore-based look-out), the Military Academy, University of Stellenbosch (accommodation) and Iziko South African Museum (office space and support). JB gratefully received financial support in the form of bursaries from the NRF, the Society for Marine Mammalogy, University of Pretoria, and the Wildlife Society of South Africa (Charles Astley Maberley Memorial bursary). The Namibian Dolphin Project is supported by NACOMA (Namibian Coastal Conservation and Management Project), the Nedbank Go Green Fund, Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the British Ecological Society, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation and the Namibia Nature Foundation. JB and TJQC received funding from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to conduct between-region matching. en_US
dc.description.uri en_US
dc.identifier.citation Barendse, J, Best, PB, Thornton, M, Elwen, SH, Rosenbaum, HC, Carvalho, I, Pomilla, C, Collins, TJQ, Meÿer, M & Leeney, RH 2011, 'Transit station or destination? Attendance patterns, movements, and abundance estimate of humpback whales off west South Africa from photographic and genotypic matching', African Journal of Marine Science, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 353-373. en
dc.identifier.issn 1814-232X (print)
dc.identifier.issn 0257-7615 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.2989/1814232X.2011.637343
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher NISC en_US
dc.rights NISC en_US
dc.subject Breeding stock B en
dc.subject Capture heterogeneity en
dc.subject Capture-recapture en
dc.subject Chapman’s modified en
dc.subject Petersen estimate en
dc.subject Megaptera novaeangliae en
dc.subject Program MARK en
dc.subject Site fidelity en
dc.subject West South Africa en
dc.subject.lcc Genotypic matching en
dc.subject.lcsh Humpback whale -- Behavior en
dc.subject.lcsh Whales -- Migration en
dc.subject.lcsh Humpback whale -- Photographic identification en
dc.title Transit station or destination? Attendance patterns, movements, and abundance estimate of humpback whales off west South Africa from photographic and genotypic matching en
dc.type Postprint Article en

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