Conservation and Management Science of Marine Mammals
Entry ID: ASAC_2941

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Summary
Abstract: Metadata record for data from AAS (ASAC) project 2941.

This project replaced project 2301 after 2006-2007 (ASAC_2301).

Public
This work addresses Australian Government marine mammal conservation, management and policy needs with an emphasis on priorities from the International Whaling Commission and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The science outcomes will directly address knowledge gaps in our understanding of population structure, abundance, trend and distribution of the great whales and other predators, their ecological linkages and the role these animals play in the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Such science forms a powerful unpinning of Australia's important and high profile policy and management objectives nationally and in international conventions.

Project objectives:
This project has been specifically designed to deliver science outcomes against the Australian Government's marine mammal conservation, management and policy needs. It forms a central component of the work to be conducted by the staff of the newly established Australian Centre for Applied Marine Mammal Science (ACAMMS) in the AAD's Science Branch. The ACAMMS has been established as a central marine mammal science hub to build on existing, but disparate research and provide an integrated, strategic, cross-jurisdictional research effort to redress key knowledge gaps and underpin and support Australia's marine mammal conservation, management and policy priorities. The staff at the AAD hub will continue a research focus around IWC and Southern Ocean priorities.

The objectives of this project will build upon the work on trophic linkages of marine mammals and their prey conducted since 2002 (AAS 2301) and will be fully integrated with other marine mammal focused research projects (AAS 2683 and 2926 in particular).

The research emphasis will primarily focus upon the relevant scientific priorities from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), but will also be responsive to needs identified in national recovery plans (for threatened species) and broader management and policy needs of the Department primarily of Environment and Heritage. The research in the Southern Ocean will focus on the great whales, but will necessarily include key elements of the remaining marine mammal fauna (e.g. fine to meso-scale trophic interactions of krill predators in the pack-ice) The major research objectives will be to:
- further develop marine ecosystem modelling to investigate issues of:
o spatial and dynamic aspects of top-down trophic linkages
o spatially and temporally structured predator movement and foraging dynamics. This will assist in the determination of trophic niches and potential for ecological competition between krill predators. Further, it will establish linkages between predator dynamics at meso(regional) and large scales;
- quantify the dynamics of marine mammal population structure, distribution, abundance and trend through methodological improvements and implementation of;
o genetic techniques (AAS 2926)
o passive acoustic techniques (AAS 2683)
o line transect survey techniques
o biologging (telemetry transmitters and data-loggers)
- continued development and implementation of powerful, non-lethal research techniques to improve the understanding of marine mammals
- develop and 'mine' the cetacean sightings and strandings databases that have been recently passed to the AAD Data Centre by the DEH in order to provide strategic and relevant outputs for marine mammal management and conservation needs (work to be done in conjunction with the AADC).

Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
Animal tracking work: This work specifically defines the predator movement data needed as inputs into ecosystem models (Objective 1), as well as defines whale movements relevant to Objective 2. These data form an important component under Objective 3 of data needed to define management and conservation needs.

Genetics: This work determines sex and stock structure and is also relevant to all Objectives, and in most particularly to 2 and 3.

Aerial Survey: This major work contributes to understanding whale distribution in sea-ice and is highly relevant to all objectives.

Database work: a great deal of progress has been made in the development of the structure and functionality of the data base and data input procedures for cetacean sightings, particularly in relation to data collected by the oil and gas industry. This work is a major contribution to objective 4.

Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report:

Progress against objectives:
The AMMC has made substantial progress against the objectives, having conducted a number of large-scale field campaigns in the last twelve months:

The second whale aerial survey was conducted successfully. This major work contributes to understanding whale distribution in sea-ice and is highly relevant to objectives 1, 2 and 3 as above.The previous survey in the 2008/09 summer was considered a 'pilot' and focussed on the Vincennes Bay polynya in December 2008. Survey effort this year (the austral summer of 2009/10) started in December 2009 and largely repeated the survey design from the first year, but also targeted areas around the Shackleton Ice Shelf and the Davis Sea, and finished with more effort over the Vincennes Bay polynya in late January and early February 2010. The aim of the aerial survey was to collaborate with a concurrent IWC-SOWER voyage surveying north of the ice edge, and to collect environmental information to study the distribution of minke whales within pack-ice environments. In total, 4,923 nm of effort was achieved, covering around 55,559 nm2 of survey area. Across the entire survey period there were 24 on-effort sightings (34 individuals) of minke whales; 5 sightings (5 individuals) of 'like' minke whales; and 5 sightings (5 individuals) of minke whales observed off-effort. Other species sighted were killer whales, southern right whales, sperm whales, southern bottlenose whales and a number of sightings of unknown species. Two papers were presented to the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee in 2010 (please see section 1.6). The AMMC has produced basic estimates of relative densities in order to begin exploring abundance and distribution of minke whales within pack-ice both between and within the 2008/09 and 2009/10 austral summers in east Antarctica. These are, however, preliminary results and we intend to undertake a full analysis in the coming year.

The AMMC continued its work on biologging and genetic research, conducting two satellite tag deployments on whales in Australian waters, one in New Zealand waters and one in Antarctica in early 2010 (see below). The satellite telemetry work specifically defines the predator movement data needed as inputs into ecosystem models (Objective 1), as well as defines whale movements relevant to Objective 2. These data form an important component under Objective 3 of data needed to define management and conservation needs. The genetic work determines sex and stock structure and is also relevant to all Objectives, and in most particularly to 2 and 3. Please see attached table of usage for numbers of tags deployed and biopsies collected on each trip. These datasets will be used to define the spatial and temporal migratory behaviour of these whales in Australian waters and beyond. The AMMC has also continued to develop and refine the design of the satellite tags used, moving to a tag that now has two AA batteries, substantially increasing the potential tracking duration.

The joint Australian-New Zealand Antarctic Whale Expedition (AWE) completed its six week, non-lethal whale research voyage to Antarctic waters onboard the New Zealand Research Vessel Tangaroa on March 15th 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand. The research voyage was the first major activity of the Australian-led International Whaling Commission initiative in support of the multi-national Southern Ocean Research Partnership (SORP). The voyage objectives were to contribute directly to the research projects that are currently being developed for SORP. Major accomplishments of the AWE research voyage include:
- Completion of the first successful non-lethal whale research voyage which directly contributes towards the core research projects of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership.
- Demonstration of a successful model of using small boats, working around a capable ship, for non-lethal whale research in high latitude high seas.
- The collection of over 60 biopsy skin samples, and over 60 individually identifiable tail fluke photographs from humpback whales on their Southern Ocean feeding grounds.
- The satellite tagging of 30 humpback whales on their Southern Ocean feeding grounds.
- The demonstration of the use of passive acoustics to track and locate vocalising Antarctic blue whales beginning at a distance of over 100 nautical miles.
- The recording of humpback whale 'songs' on the feeding grounds. Prior to this, such songs have only been shown to occur on lower latitude breeding grounds and nearby migratory routes.
- The detection of sounds most likely associated with Antarctic minke whales; a species that has been historically difficult to define acoustically.
- The collection of hydro-acoustics data of whale prey in regions of high and low whale densities which can be used to better define the correlations between krill and whales in the Southern Ocean.

With regards the databases, a great deal of progress has been made in the development of the structure and functionality of the data base and data input procedures for cetacean sightings, particularly in relation to data collected by the oil and gas industry. This work is a major contribution to objective 4.

Taken from the 2010-2011 Progress Report:
Public summary of the season progress:
Good progress has been made in this marine mammal conservation and management project. New and important information on whale migratory behavour (humpback, southern right, and blue whales) has been acquired, along with improved understandings of the way populations of right whales and humpback whales are divided. We have also continued the development of new and powerful techniques in measuring whale abundance, distribution in ice, and their age. Progress has also been made on design and function of the cetacean sightings database which enables this valuable tool to more effectively collect data and make it available to managers for conservation decisions.

Related URL
Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS Satellite Tracking Database containing whale track data


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 79


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 73


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 70


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 20


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 57


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 94


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 93


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 87


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 75


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 83


Link: GET DATA
Description: ARGOS data collected under campaign 77


Link: VIEW PROJECT HOME PAGE
Description: Public information for ASAC project 2941


Link: VIEW RELATED INFORMATION
Description: Citation reference for this metadata record and dataset


Geographic Coverage
 N: -17.962 S: -66.0  E: 160.0  W: 60.0

Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 2007-09-30
Stop Date: 2012-03-31


Location Keywords
OCEAN > SOUTHERN OCEAN
CONTINENT > AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND > AUSTRALIA
CONTINENT > ANTARCTICA
GEOGRAPHIC REGION > POLAR


Science Keywords
AGRICULTURE >AGRICULTURAL AQUATIC SCIENCES >FISHERIES    [Definition]
HUMAN DIMENSIONS >ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS >CONSERVATION    [Definition]
OCEANS >AQUATIC SCIENCES >FISHERIES    [Definition]
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS >CARNIVORES >SEALS/SEA LIONS/WALRUSES
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS >CETACEANS
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS >CETACEANS >BALEEN WHALES
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >MAMMALS >CETACEANS >TOOTHED WHALES


ISO Topic Category
BIOTA
ENVIRONMENT


Platform
Aircraft    [Information]
FIELD SURVEYS    [Information]
SHIPS    [Information]
SATELLITES    [Information]
FIELD INVESTIGATION    [Information]
R/V TANGAROA    [Information]
R/V AA >R/V Aurora Australis


Instrument
ARGOS >ARGOS Data Collection and Position Location System    [Information]


Quality
The values provided in temporal and spatial coverage are approximate only.

Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Field work:
Satellite Telemetry
Three field trips were conducted in 2008/09:

1. Broome, Western Australia
Six humpback whales were tagged off Broome, WA in July 2008. All tags returned data, with transmission duration ranging between 5 and 28 days, and the average duration being 21 days.

2. Eden, New South Wales
Sixteen humpback whales were satellite tagged off Eden, NSW in late October 2008. All tags returned data. Minimum transmission duration was 5 days and maximum transmission duration was 156 days, with the average transmission duration being 55 days. For the first time, the large-scale movements of humpback whales on their migration South from Australia to Antarctica have been revealed.
The length of the tag was increased by 4 cm after the Broome deployment and prior to the Eden deployment (as shown to the AAEC by N. Gales and approved by the AAEC). It appears that this modification may have dramatically improved tag retention and transmission duration.

This season AAD research staff resighted two of the whales tagged off Eden as they migrated down the East coast of Tasmania. Obtaining these resights was logistically difficult involving State and AAD personnel but was prioritised so that any visible impacts of the tag could be assessed.

3. Perth, Western Australia
Three pygmy blue whales were tagged off Perth in early April. One tag failed after 8 days. Two tags are currently transmitting, and at present have reached transmission durations of 15 and 17 days (as at 22/04/2009). Data collection is in progress.

No tagging was undertaken in Antarctic waters during the 2008/09 season; we have postponed fieldwork to the coming 2009/10 season.

Genetic Sampling (biopsy)
57 biopsy samples were collected from humpback whales (including 15 of the satellite tagged whales) off Eden, NSW in June and October of 2008.

4. Aerial Survey
Following on from test flights undertaken in January, 2008, a pilot aerial survey for minke whales was conducted within the sea-ice zone in Vincennes Bay, east Antarctica, throughout a 20 day period in December, 2008. The survey was completed using a fixed-wing aircraft (a CASA-212 400) flying from a base at Casey station (66 degrees 17`S, 110 degrees 32`E). The survey was double-platform, with two observers on each side of the aircraft. To augment observer data, video, infrared and photographic equipment were placed in the bottom of the aircraft fuselage. These cameras recorded the presence of whales in the area under the aircraft inaccessible to the observers and also recorded sea ice information.

Laboratory activity/analysis:
Satellite tagging
After the Broome field deployment, two whales were tracked as far south as Exmouth Gulf, but unfortunately the tags failed before any more of the whales migratory routes could be determined.

Sixteen humpback whales were satellite tagged off Eden, NSW in late October 2008. All tags returned data. Minimum transmission duration was 5 days and maximum transmission duration was 156 days, with the average transmission duration being 55 days. For the first time, the large-scale movements of humpback whales on their migration South from Australia to Antarctica have been revealed. The 16 whales initially stayed near the southern coast of NSW and then split, travelling in 3 main directions (see Figure 1): 1) Southeast to NZ then south to Antarctica; 2) south across Bass Strait and down the East coast of Tasmania then southward to Antarctica; 3) southwest across Bass strait past NW Tasmania and southwest to Antarctica.

This season AAD research staff resighted two of the whales tagged off Eden as they migrated down the East coast of Tasmania. Obtaining these resights was logistically difficult involving State and AAD personnel but was prioritised so that any visible impacts of the tag could be assessed. The tagged whales were resighted 18 and 41 days after tag deployment respectively. Both tags showed signs of egress, which indicates that the animals will shed the tags over time, and the tissue around each tag showed no signs of infection or swelling.

The tag and methodology are working well and any further refinements or changes will be minimal. We are now moving from the tag development phase to the data acquisition phase.

Three pygmy blue whales were tagged off Perth in early April. One tag failed after 8 days. Two tags are currently transmitting, and at present have reached transmission durations of 15 and 17 days (as at 22/04/2009). Data collection is in progress.

Genetic Sampling (biopsy)
57 biopsy samples were collected from humpback whales (including 15 of the satellite tagged whales) off Eden, NSW in June and October of 2008. Molecular sexing methods revealed that of these 57 samples, 11 were female and 46 male. Of the 16 tagged humpback whales, six were female and nine were male, with one of unknown sex due to no sample being collected.

Currently, population genetic analysis is being conducted on these samples to determine what populations or stocks are migrating along the east coast of Australia.

Aerial Survey
Personnel from the AAD analysed video, infrared and still images taken during the 2008/09 aerial survey. Around 76 Antarctic minke whales were observed, with group size ranging from one to four. A notable feature of this survey was the large number of killer whales observed (approximately 372). After completion of both test flights and a pilot study, the utility of the CASA-212 aircraft for aerial survey studies of minke whales in Antarctica has been demonstrated. A larger-scale aerial survey, extending from Vincennes Bay, across the north of the Shackleton Ice Shelf and into the east of the Davis Sea, is planned for the 2009/10 austral summer.


Access Constraints
These data are not yet publicly available for download, although all tracking data are stored in the ARGO satellite tracking database - see the provided URL.


Use Constraints
This data set conforms to the PICCCBY Attribution License
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at http://data.aad.gov.au/aadc/metadata/citation.cfm?entry_id=ASAC_2941 when using these data.


Keywords
whales
tags
tagging
tracking
biopsy
genetics
whaling


Data Set Progress
IN WORK


Data Center
Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Australia    [Information]
Data Center URL: http://data.aad.gov.au

Data Center Personnel
Name: DATA OFFICER AADC
Phone: +61 3 6232 3244
Fax: +61 3 6232 3351
Email: metadata at aad.gov.au
Contact Address:
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
City: Kingston
Province or State: Tasmania
Postal Code: 7050
Country: Australia



Distribution
Distribution_Media: HTTP
Fees: Free


Personnel
NICK GALES
Role: INVESTIGATOR
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Phone: +61 3 6232 3437
Fax: +61 3 6232 3351
Email: nick.gales at aad.gov.au
Contact Address:
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
City: Kingston
Province or State: Tasmania
Postal Code: 7050
Country: Australia


SARAH ROBINSON
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Phone: +61 3 6232 3122
Email: sarah.robinson at aad.gov.au
Contact Address:
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
City: Kingston
Province or State: Tasmania
Postal Code: 7050
Country: Australia


DAVE J. CONNELL
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: +61 3 6232 3244
Fax: +61 3 6232 3351
Email: dave.connell at aad.gov.au
Contact Address:
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
City: Kingston
Province or State: Tasmania
Postal Code: 7050
Country: Australia


Publications/References
Childerhouse, S. and Baxter, A. (2010), Management of human interactions with dusky dolphins, Dusky Dolphins: Master Acrobats of Different Shores., 245-275, Academic/Elsevier Press

B. Wursig and M. Wursig (eds.) (Unknown), Dusky Dolphins: Master Acrobats of Different Shores

Nicol, S, Bowie, A. Jarman, S, Lannuzel, D, Meiners KL., van der Merwe, P. (2010), Southern Ocean iron fertilization by baleen whales and Antarctic krill., Fish and Fisheries, doi:10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00356.x

SIMON CHILDERHOUSE, MICHAEL C. DOUBLE, NICK GALES. (2010), Satellite tracking of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) at the Auckland Islands, New Zealand., Presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2010., Paper SC/62/BRG19

Nick Gales. (2010), ANTARCTIC WHALE EXPEDITION Preliminary science field report and summary., Presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2010., Paper SC/62/O12

Nick Gales, Michael C. Double, Sarah Robinson, Curt Jenner, Micheline Jenner, Eric King, Jason Gedamke, Simon Childerhouse, Dave Paton. (2010), Satellite tracking of Australian humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda)., Presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2010., Paper SC/62/SH21

Natalie Kelly, David Peel, Mark Bravington, and Nick Gales. (2010), PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF MINKE WHALE SIGHTING DATA FROM 2009/10 AERIAL SURVEY OFF EAST ANTARCTICA., Presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2010., Paper SC/62/IA9

Natalie Kelly, David Peel, Mark Bravington, and Nick Gales. (2010), AERIAL SURVEY OF MINKE WHALES OFF EAST ANTARCTICA: REPORT ON 2009/10 SURVEY., Presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2010, Paper SC/62/IA8

Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2009-04-29
Last DIF Revision Date: 2014-01-10

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