Feeding grounds of the eastern South Pacific humpback whale population include the South Orkney Islands

  • Luciano Dalla Rosa
  • Fernando Félix
  • Peter T. Stevick
  • Eduardo R. Secchi
  • Judith M. Allen
  • Kim Chater
  • Anthony R. Martin
  • Manuela Basso
Keywords: Humpback whale, photo-identification, breeding stocks, migration, South Orkney Islands, Southern Ocean

Abstract

This paper reports on two photo-identified humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that were sighted in different years in the proximity of the South Orkney Islands, at the boundary between the Scotia and Weddell seas (60o54.5’S – 46o40.4’W and 60o42.6’S – 45o33’W). One of the whales had been previously sighted off Ecuador, a breeding ground for the eastern South Pacific population. The other whale was subsequently resighted in Bransfield Strait, off the western Antarctic Peninsula, a well-documented feeding ground for the same population. These matches give support to a hypothesis that the area south of the South Orkney Islands is occupied by whales from the eastern South Pacific breeding stock. Consequently, we propose 40oW as a new longitudinal boundary between the feeding grounds associated with the eastern South Pacific and western South Atlantic breeding stocks.

Keywords: Humpback whale; photo-identification; breeding stocks; migration; South Orkney Islands; Southern Ocean

(Published: 20 March 2012)

Citation: Polar Research 2012, 31, 17324, DOI: 10.3402/polar.v31i0.17324

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Published
2012-03-20
How to Cite
Dalla Rosa, L., Félix, F., Stevick, P. T., Secchi, E. R., Allen, J. M., Chater, K., Martin, A. R., & Basso, M. (2012). Feeding grounds of the eastern South Pacific humpback whale population include the South Orkney Islands. Polar Research, 31. https://doi.org/10.3402/polar.v31i0.17324
Section
Research Notes