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Lacey C.,International Fund for Animal Welfare | Leaper R.,International Fund for Animal Welfare | Moscrop A.,International Fund for Animal Welfare | Gillespie D.,University of St. Andrews | And 2 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2010

Photo-grammetric techniques developed for measuring body length and small scale movement patterns of cetaceans were applied to surface swimming basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland. These methods removed the need for close approaches, reducing the likelihood of disturbing the focal animal. Average swimming speed was calculated from the total path length between shark locations measured at approximately one minute intervals. These average speeds varied from 0.49 to 0.73ms1 for tracks of between 30 and 170 minutes' duration. Body length measurements ranged between 2.35 and 6.43m. For ten sharks where body length and swimming speed were measured there was a significant correlation between body length (L) and swimming speed (V) expressed as V=0.36L033. Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2009. Source

Ford Jr. T.J.,Ocean Alliance
Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007) | Year: 2013

The novel observation of a palatal retial organ in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is reported, with characterization of its form and function. This bulbous ridge of highly vascularized tissue, here designated the corpus cavernosum maxillaris, runs along the center of the hard palate, expanding cranially to form two large lobes that terminate under the tip of the rostral palate, with another enlarged node at the caudal terminus. Gross anatomical and microscopic observation of tissue sections discloses a web-like internal mass with a large blood volume. Histological examination reveals large numbers of blood vessels and vascular as well as extravascular spaces resembling a blood-filled, erectile sponge. These spaces, as well as accompanying blood vessels, extend to the base of the epithelium. We contend that this organ provides a thermoregulatory adaptation by which bowhead whales (1) control heat loss by transferring internal, metabolically generated body heat to cold seawater and (2) protect the brain from hyperthermia. We postulate that this organ may play additional roles in baleen growth and in detecting prey, and that its ability to dissipate heat might maintain proper operating temperature for palatal mechanoreceptors or chemoreceptors to detect the presence and density of intraoral prey. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

News Article
Site: http://news.yahoo.com/green/

Environmentalists say the Antarctic Ocean is home to more than 10,000 unique species, including penguins, whales, seals and colossal squid (AFP Photo/Vanderlei Almeida) More International efforts to create two vast marine sanctuaries to protect the pristine wilderness of Antarctica failed Friday for the fifth time, but delegates said China's support for one reserve and Russia's commitment to further talks gave them hope. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting closed Friday with no agreement on the two proposed areas, designed to protect species including whales and penguins. Officials said China had at the last minute indicated it would support one of these reserves in the Ross Sea, which is known as the "Last Ocean" because it is considered the only intact marine ecosystem left on Earth. But it was ultimately blocked by Russia, which along with China also stopped a proposal for a marine protected zone in the East Antarctic coastal region, the Antarctic Ocean Alliance of environmental groups said. "It is appalling that while the majority of CCAMLR members are more than ready to create significant marine protected areas in Antarctic waters, China and Russia have blocked efforts to negotiate a successful outcome," said the alliance's Jill Hepp. Both proposals have now been shot down five times at the annual CCAMLR meetings, which require consensus from all 24 members countries and the European Union to progress. But delegates welcomed China's support for the Ross Sea sanctuary, which it had blocked in previous years, saying it made a future deal more likely. "That's important because now only one country remains that isn't supportive and so we're closer. This is an important country to have gotten on board," head of the US delegation Evan Bloom told AFP. New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully also welcomed China's support as a "major step", saying the proposal was designed to balance scientific, environmental and fishing interests. "We also welcome Russia's statement that it is open to working with members on the MPA ahead of the next CCAMLR meeting in 2016," he said. The head of the Russian delegation could not be reached and the foreign ministry in Moscow declined to comment, as did the Chinese foreign ministry. The US and New Zealand-backed Ross Sea proposal was this year enlarged to more than 1.5 million square kilometres (600,000 square miles) although the overall no fishing zone was slightly reduced to about 1.1 million square kilometres. The second proposed protected area, the Australia, France and EU-backed East Antarctica sanctuary, is for a one million square kilometre zone over four areas where some fishing and research would be allowed, with environmental restrictions. Both reserve proposals have been on the table with CCAMLR -- a treaty tasked with overseeing conservation and sustainable exploitation of the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean -- since 2011. Each has been modified as members have debated how to manage the region, which environmentalists say is home to more than 10,000 unique species, including seals and colossal squid. It is also critical for scientific research. Andrea Kavanagh, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said she took hope from China's change of direction and the fact that Russia had said it was willing to work with other members on the proposals. "This is a stunning accomplishment to come out of this particular meeting when there was so much disagreement and dissention on the floor," she told AFP. Ultimately, however, she said the talks were a replay of the previous four meetings, bringing no relief for the millions of animals that live in Antarctic waters. "What is most disturbing about this year's failure is the systematic disintegration of CCAMLR's ability to deliver on its mandate for marine protection," said Mark Epstein, executive director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. The failure of the Antarctic deals came after New Zealand, Chile and the Pacific state of Palau have recently announced new marine protection zones.

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. Source

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. Source

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