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Albert Park, Australia

De Vos A.,University of Western Australia | Clark R.,Ocean Alliance | Johnson C.,Ocean Alliance | Johnson G.,Earthocean | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management | Year: 2012

The Indian Ocean Sanctuary was established in 1979 in an effort to allow exploited stocks of whales to recover from Passed away in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami during fieldwork in Thailand. to establish comprehensive management and conservation measures for species within these waters. The current study took place in the offshore waters of Sri Lanka in early 2003. During three research cruises conducted between 29 March and 17 June 2003 the R/V Odyssey covered a total track line of 4,480km around the island resulting in 52 confirmed group sightings of 11 species from three cetacean families. As the tracklines were designed to locate sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) for tissue sampling, they accounted for the greatest number of sightings. Only two species of balaenopterids, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and the Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni), were recorded with the blue whale being the most frequently sighted species. Spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) were the most dominant species in terms of numbers. Some small odonotocetes such as the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops iruncatus), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphls hosei) were observed in mixed-species groups, while one group of melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electro) was seen associating with a group of sperm whales. Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) were frequently sighted throughout the research cruise, with one unusual record of a large mating group. Many sightings were made in the vicinity of the numerous submarine canyons around Sri Lanka's coastline highlighting their potential role in enhancing productivity in the offshore waters. It is concluded that Sri Lankan offshore waters hold a rich, but little surveyed cetacean fauna that warrants further studies and implementation of conservation measures to protect these populations.

Frantzis A.,Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute | Airoldi S.,Tethys Research Institute | Notarbartolo-di-Sciara G.,Tethys Research Institute | Johnson C.,Earthocean | Mazzariol S.,University of Padua
Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers | Year: 2011

The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600-2100. km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Clark R.A.,Ocean Alliance | Johnson C.M.,Earthocean | Johnson G.,Earthocean | Payne R.,Ocean Alliance | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management | Year: 2012

Despite its central position in the Indian Ocean Sanctuary, little is known about the offshore cetacean fauna of the Maldives. Here we report survey results gathered by the R/V Odyssey in the Maldives during the 2003 and 2004 northeast monsoon seasons, and provide data on cetaceans from visual and acoustic observations. The survey was conducted over a period of 72 days and covered 10,915 track line kilometres. The main aim of the survey was to collect biopsy samples from sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as part of a global survey of ocean pollutants. Totals of 157 sightings and 1,461 acoustic detections of 16 identified cetacean species were recorded. Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) and sperm whale were the most commonly sighted species. Sperm whales and pantropical spotted dolphins were particularly abundant in the southern Maldives. The cetacean acoustic detection rate was 2.5 times higher than in the eastern Indian Ocean and Western tropical Pacific, while the non-physeterid sighting rate was 1.7 times higher than the Eastern tropical Pacific and 6.7 times higher than the eastern Indian Ocean based on other research conducted by the R/V Odyssey using the same methodology. It is concluded that the Maldives has a diverse and seemingly abundant cetacean community.

Lavery T.J.,Flinders University | Roudnew B.,Flinders University | Gill P.,Blue Whale Study Inc. | Seymour J.,Flinders University | And 6 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

The iron-limited Southern Ocean plays an important role in regulating atmospheric CO2 levels. Marine mammal respiration has been proposed to decrease the efficiency of the Southern Ocean biological pump by returning photosynthetically fixed carbon to the atmosphere. Here, we show that by consuming prey at depth and defecating iron-rich liquid faeces into the photic zone, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) instead stimulate new primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. We estimate that Southern Ocean sperm whales defecate 50 tonnes of iron into the photic zone each year. Molar ratios of Cexport : Feadded determined during natural ocean fertilization events are used to estimate the amount of carbon exported to the deep ocean in response to the iron defecated by sperm whales. We find that Southern Ocean sperm whales stimulate the export of 4 × 105 tonnes of carbon per year to the deep ocean and respire only 2 × 10 5 tonnes of carbon per year. By enhancing new primary production, the populations of 12 000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean act as a carbon sink, removing 2 × 105 tonnes more carbon from the atmosphere than they add during respiration. The ability of the Southern Ocean to act as a carbon sink may have been diminished by large-scale removal of sperm whales during industrial whaling. © 2010 The Royal Society.

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