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East Falmouth, MA, United States

Risch D.,Integrated Statistics | Clark C.W.,Cornell University | Dugan P.J.,Cornell University | Popescu M.,Cornell University | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2013

Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is a rapidly growing field, providing valuable insights in marine ecology. The approach allows for long-term, species-specific monitoring over a range of spatial scales. For many baleen whales fundamental information on seasonal occurrence and distribution is still missing. In this study, pulse trains produced by the North Atlantic minke whale, a highly mobile and cryptic species, are used to examine its seasonality, diel vocalization patterns and spatial distribution throughout the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), USA. Three and a half years (2006, 2007 to 2010) of near continuous passive acoustic data were analyzed using automated detection methods. Random forests and cluster analyses grouped pulse trains into 3 main categories (slow-down, constant and speed-up), with several subtypes. Slow-down pulse trains were the most commonly recorded call category. Minke whale pulse train occurrence was highly seasonal across all years. Detections were made from August to November, with 88% occurring in September and October. No detections were recorded in January and February, and only few from March to June. Minke whale pulse trains showed a distinct diel pattern, with a nighttime peak from approximately 20:00 to 01:00 h Eastern Standard Time (EST). The highest numbers of pulse trains were detected to the east of Stellwagen Bank, suggesting that minke whales travel preferably in deeper waters along the outer edge of the sanctuary. These data show that minke whales consistently use Stellwagen Bank as part of their migration route to and from the feeding grounds. Unlike other baleen whales in this area they do not appear to have a persistent year-round acoustic presence. © Inter-Research 2013 · www.int-res.com. Source

Risch D.,Integrated Statistics | Siebert U.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Van Parijs S.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Behaviour | Year: 2014

Information on individual calling behaviour and source levels are important for understanding acoustically mediated social interactions of marine mammals, for which visual observations are difficult to obtain. Our study, conducted in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), located in the Gulf of Maine, USA, used passive acoustic arrays to track North Atlantic minke whales and assess the sound production behaviour of individuals. A total of 18 minke whales were acoustically tracked in this study. Individual calling rates were variable, with a median intercall interval (ICI) of 60.3 s. Average source levels (SLrms) for minke whales pulse trains ranged between 164 and 168 dB re 1 μPa, resulting in a minimum detection range of 0.4-10.2 km for these calls in this urban, coastal environment. All tracked animals were actively swimming at a speed of 5.0 ± 1.2 km/h, which matches swimming speeds of migrating minke whales from other areas and confirms SBNMS as part of the migration route of this species in the Western North Atlantic. Tracked minke whales produced 7 discrete call types belonging to 3 main categories, yet no individual produced all call types. Instead, minke whales produced 2 multisyllabic call sequences (A and B) by combining 3-4 different call types in a non-random order. While 7 of the tracked individuals produced calling pattern A, 10 whales used calling pattern B, and only 1 animal combined call types differently. Animals producing different call sequences were in acoustic range of one another on several occasions, suggesting they may use these sequences for mediating social interactions. The fact that the same calling patterns were shared by several individuals suggests that these patterns may contain information related to sex, age or behavioural context. © Copyright 2014 Denise Risch et al. Source

Press Y.K.,Integrated Statistics | Mcbride R.S.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Wuenschel M.J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2014

Winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus were collected at monthly intervals from December 2009 to May 2011, to describe the pattern and seasonality of oocyte development, including: (1) the group-synchronous transition from primary to secondary oocytes that initiates immediately after spawning, (2) the slow (months) development of vitellogenic oocytes followed by the rapid (weeks) maturation of oocytes, (3) the synchronous nature of mature oocytes ovulating, but the discrete releases of benthic eggs in batches, (4) the protracted (months) degradation of postovulatory follicles and (5) the occurrence of follicular atresia. Although fish were collected across only c. 2° latitudinal range, the spawning season was c. 1 month later in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) than on Georges Bank and in southern New England. This is probably due to lower temperatures in the GOM. These stock-specific data regarding the time course of oogenesis are of practical value. This information is discussed in relation to measuring and interpreting elements of reproductive potential such as maturation, skipped spawning and fecundity, the response of reproductive traits by this widely distributed species to changing climate and the response by this common, marine-estuarine species to urbanization, particularly environmental pollutants and dredging. © Published 2014. Source

Jech J.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Stroman F.,Integrated Statistics
Aquatic Living Resources | Year: 2012

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) in the offshore regions of the Gulf of Maine migrate each fall from their feeding grounds to the northern portion of Georges Bank to spawn. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center's (NEFSC) herring acoustic survey has taken advantage of this behavior by conducting systematic surveys of the pre-spawning fish each year since 1999. Multi-frequency acoustic and midwater trawl data were collected along transects oriented perpendicular to bathymetric contours. Acoustic backscatter was analyzed to describe the aggregative patterns (e.g., size, location in the water column, and spatial and temporal distribution) of Atlantic herring during these surveys and regression trees were used to examine the aggregation characteristics. The positional variables of distance to spawning grounds and vertical location in the water column were the primary characteristics for describing pre-spawning aggregations. Secondary to these were the temporal variables of diel and survey timing, and the morphological characteristic of aggregation area. Lower numbers of aggregations were observed close to the herring spawning grounds but with higher acoustic energy than larger numbers of aggregations observed further from the spawning grounds but smaller in size and lower in acoustic energy. Most aggregations were in the lower portion of the water column, but those that were in the upper portion of the water column had higher acoustic energy. Consistently throughout the decade, 90% or more of herring aggregations were located within 40 nautical miles of their spawning grounds. The regression tree method provided valuable insight to the data series where it highlighted spatial and temporal patterns and was an effective way to quantitatively summarize relationships. © EDP Sciences, IFREMER, IRD 2012. Source

Grifoll M.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Grifoll M.,Center Internacional dInvestigacio Dels Recursos Costaners | Aretxabaleta A.L.,Integrated Statistics | Espino M.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Espino M.,Center Internacional dInvestigacio Dels Recursos Costaners
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015

Cross and along-shelf winds drive cross-shelf transport that promotes the exchange of tracers and nutrients to the open sea. The shelf response to cross-shelf winds is studied in the north shelf of the Ebro Delta (Mediterranean Sea), where those winds are prevalent and intense. Offshore winds in the region exhibit strong intensities (wind stress larger than 0.8 Pa) during winter and fall. The monthly average flow observed in a 1 year current meter record at 43.5 m was polarized following the isobaths with the along-shelf variability being larger than the cross-shelf. Prevalent southwestward along-shelf flow was induced by the three-dimensional regional response to cross-shelf winds and the coastal constraint. Seaward near-surface velocities occurred predominantly during offshore wind events. During intense wind periods, the surface cross-shelf water transport exceeded the net along-shelf transport. During typically stratified seasons, the intense cross-shelf winds resulted in a well-defined two-layer flow and were more effective at driving offshore transport than during unstratified conditions. While transfer coefficients between wind and currents were generally around 1%, higher cross-shelf transfer coefficients were observed in the near-inertial band. The regional extent of the resulting surface cold water during energetic cross-shelf winds events was concentrated around the region of the wind jet. Cross-shelf transport due to along-shelf winds was only effective during northeast wind events. During along-shelf wind conditions, the transport was estimated to be between 10 and 50% of the theoretical Ekman transport. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

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