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Dulau-Drouot V.,Groupe Local dObservation et dIdentification des Cetaces GLOBICE | Fayan J.,Brigade Nature Ocean Indien BNOI | Mouysset L.,Groupe Local dObservation et dIdentification des Cetaces GLOBICE | Boucaud V.,Groupe Local dObservation et dIdentification des Cetaces GLOBICE
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management | Year: 2012

Dedicated humpback whale surveys were conducted around Réunion Island during 2004-10. Boat-based surveys were conducted from June to October, in the main objective of collecting photo-identification data. For 2004-10, a total of 501 survey trips, representing 1,530 hours of onsearching effort, and 724 humpback whale sightings were achieved. Although effort had a significant influence on the number of sightings, sighting rate was shown to increase significantly from 2007 onwards, with a peak in 2008. Seasonal variations were observed, with significantly higher numbers of sightings occurring in July-September. Larger number of whales, together with increased survey effort, led to larger datasets collected in 2008-10, allowing further investigation of residency pattern. Within-year recaptures from fluke photographs showed that a relatively large proportion (30%) of the identified whales was recaptured on more than one day around the island. Maximum recapture interval reached 64 days, with a mean ranging 22-29 days for 2008-10. Mean residency, estimated from expected lagged identification rate, was 25 days. Mothers with a calf were shown to reside around the island for longer period of time than other individuals. A seasonal pattern of residency was demonstrated, with single capture individuals occurring early in the season, mainly as singleton or pairs, while individuals showing higher recapture interval were present around the island from August to October. Between-year recaptures were reported for 2009-10, with five individuals re-sighted on consecutive years. The fluke catalogue for Réunion includes 312 distinct individuals identified during 2004-10 surveys, together with 21 additional whales captured opportunistically since 2001. The increasing trend in the number of whales, the high residency time observed for 2008-10 and the recent occurrence of inter-annual recaptures suggest that Réunion Island has become an important migratory site for humpback whales within the south-western Indian Ocean (Breeding Stock C). The species might expand its spatial range by occupying new breeding sites (or re-occupying old ones) within the south-western Indian ocean, as a result of population growth.

PubMed | Al. I. Cuza University, Groupe Local dObservation et dIdentification des Cetaces GLOBICE, University of Antwerp, BNOI ONCFS and University of Liège
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987) | Year: 2016

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, breeding off la Reunion Island (Indian Ocean) undergo large-scale seasonal migrations between summer feeding grounds near Antarctica and their reproductive winter grounds in the Indian Ocean. The main scope of the current study was to investigate chemical exposure of humpback whales breeding in the Indian Ocean by providing the first published data on this breeding stock concerning persistent organic pollutants (POPs), namely polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), DDT and its metabolites (DDTs), chlordane compounds (CHLs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs). Analyses of stable isotopes

Dirtu A.C.,University of Antwerp | Dirtu A.C.,Al. I. Cuza University | Malarvannan G.,University of Antwerp | Das K.,University of Liège | And 5 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2016

Due to their high trophic position and long life span, small cetaceans are considered as suitable bioindicators to monitor the presence of contaminants in marine ecosystems. Here, we document the contamination with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and total mercury (T-Hg) of spinner (Stenella longirostris, n =21) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus, n=32) sampled from the coastal waters of La Réunion (south-western Indian Ocean). In addition, seven co-occurring teleost fish species were sampled and analyzed as well. Blubber samples from living dolphins and muscle from teleosts were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and metabolites (DDTs), chlordanes (CHLs), hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Methoxylated PBDEs (MeO-PBDEs), reported as having a natural origin, were also analyzed. T-Hg levels were measured in blubber and skin biopsies of the two dolphin species. Stable isotopes δ13C and δ15N values were determined in skin of the dolphins and in the muscle of teleosts. For PCBs, HCHs and T-Hg, concentrations were significantly higher in T. aduncus than in S. longirostris. For other POP levels, intra-species variability was high. MeO-PBDEs were the dominant compounds (55% of the total POPs) in S. longirostris, while PCBs dominated (50% contribution) in T. aduncus. Other contaminants showed similar profiles between the two species. Given the different patterns of POPs and T-Hg contamination and the δ15N values observed among analyzed teleosts, dietary and foraging habitat preferences most likely explain the contrasted contaminant profiles observed in the two dolphin species. Levels of each class of contaminants were significantly higher in males than females. Despite their spatial and temporal overlap in the waters of La Réunion, S. longirostris and T. aduncus are differently exposed to contaminant accumulation. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.

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