Sea Watch Foundation

Newport, United Kingdom

Sea Watch Foundation

Newport, United Kingdom
Time filter
Source Type

Dolman S.J.,Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society WDCS | Dolman S.J.,University of Aberdeen | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation | Evans P.G.H.,Bangor University | And 3 more authors.
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2011

Various reviews, resolutions and guidance from international and regional fora have been produced in recent years that acknowledge the significance of marine noise and its potential impacts on cetaceans. Within Europe, ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS have shown increasing attention to the issue. The literature highlights concerns surrounding the negative impacts of active sonar on beaked whales in particular, where concerns primarily relate to the use of mid-frequency active sonar (1-10. kHz), as used particularly in military exercises. The authors review the efforts that European regional policies have undertaken to acknowledge and manage possible negative impacts of active sonar and how these might assist the transition from scientific research to policy implementation, including effective management and mitigation measures at a national level. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Simon M.,University of Aarhus | Nuuttila H.,Bangor University | Ugarte F.,Greenland Institute of Natural Resources | Verfub U.,German Museum | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2010

Knowledge about harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphin occurrence in Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Wales, is limited to daylight hours during summer, when conditions are suitable for traditional visual surveys. T-PODs are autonomous instruments programmed to log time-cues of species-specific echolocation signals for long periods of time. Here we investigated bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise habitat use and partitioning by deploying ten calibrated T-PODs in Cardigan Bay SAC for one year. The T-PODs detected both species all year round with a peak of detections in April-October for dolphins and in October-March for porpoise, revealing a previously unknown importance of the place to harbour porpoise during winter. Though the two species are sympatric, simultaneous detections of both species were rare and indication of temporal habitat partitioning between the two species in some parts of the SAC was observed. The one location where simultaneous detections were not as rare was close to the stretch of shoreline where stranding of porpoises killed by dolphins are most common, suggesting that the observed spatiotemporal overlap leads to inter-specific interactions, in some cases fatal for the porpoise.

Anderwald P.,Sea Watch Foundation | Anderwald P.,Durham University | Anderwald P.,University College Cork | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2011

Mixed-species foraging groups are well known for a broad range of taxonomic groups. Explanations have focused around 2 primary mechanisms: Anti-predator behaviour and maximising foraging efficiency. In the ocean, feeding assemblages can involve seabirds, fish, cetaceans, pinnipeds and combinations of these groups. Here we examine association patterns between North Atlantic minke whales and seabirds. Based on the unique feeding strategies of different seabird guilds, predictions were made on the relationship between seabirds and whales in joint feeding assemblages (who profits from whom). These predictions were tested by modelling the presence of a whale with seabird aggregations using logistic regressions, involving presence/absence of seabird guilds, group sizes and measures of diversity as explanatory variables. A strong positive relationship was found between the presence of a whale with a seabird aggregation and the presence and group size of auks, the only seabird group able to concentrate fish on their own. No other seabird guild was relevant in predicting the presence of a whale. This suggests that 'beater' or 'pirate' theory best explains the relationship, with minke whales taking advantage of prey concentrations generated by the feeding behaviour of auks, and other bird groups taking advantage of dead, stunned or scattered prey left by the whales. © Inter-Research 2011.

Anderwald P.,University College Cork | Anderwald P.,Sea Watch Foundation | Anderwald P.,Durham University | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation | And 4 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2012

Because pelagic prey concentrations are patchy in both space and time, predators such as marine mammals require high degrees of flexibility in their habitat use. We tested the hypothesis that minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata adjust their habitat use during the feeding season at different spatial scales: their overall distribution should be determined by broad-scale oceanographic features, while foraging activity at finer scales should be dictated by short-term changes in habitat conditions. Results from generalized additive models indicate that minke whale distribution off the west coast of Scotland is dependent largely on temporally variable parameters (sea surface temperature in spring, chlorophyll concentration in autumn), in addition to depth and topography. However, fine-scale foraging behaviour was dictated by the strength and direction of tidal currents. Seasonal distribution patterns according to environmental parameters were largely consistent between 2 different spatial scales, and over a time period of 15 yr. Significantly higher sighting rates occurred in areas of predicted sandeel Ammodytes marinus presence in spring, but not during the rest of the summer, while in August and September, prey samples from the core study area consisted almost entirely of sprat Sprattus sprattus. The low energetic cost of swimming in minke whales and their ability to switch between different prey according to their seasonal availability thus appears to allow them to readily respond to temporal changes in pelagic prey concentrations at different scales. This occurs through a distribution influenced by temporally variable parameters (temperature and chlorophyll concentration), combined with adjustments in foraging activity dependent on variable conditions at fine spatial scales (tides). © Inter-Research 2012.

Dolman S.,Whale and Dolphin Conservation WDC | Baulch S.,Environmental Investigation Agency EIA | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation | Read F.,Whale and Dolphin Conservation WDC | Ritter F.,Whale and Dolphin Conservation WDC
Marine Policy | Year: 2016

For decades, cetacean bycatch has been a major conservation and welfare concern in Europe, with high numbers of harbour porpoises, dolphins and whales continuing to die each year. Despite binding legal requirements to reduce bycatch, there has been limited effective monitoring or mitigation. Bycatch is also an important welfare issue. At this critical juncture, with discussion of incorporating monitoring and mitigation of bycatch of protected species in Europe into the Data Collection Framework and Technical Measures Framework taking place to help deliver the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), a clear, effective strategy could identify the steps that are required by all EU Member States to reduce bycatch towards zero. Here, implementation of current monitoring and mitigation obligations are reviewed. Recommendations are made for the provision of clear EU guidance in order to improve and unify population surveillance and bycatch monitoring, with enhanced implementation and enforcement from Member States. A more regionalised evidence-based approach to monitoring and mitigation is in line with the move to more regionalised management under the CFP, with Member States robustly showing that bycatch levels are decreasing over a set period of time (e.g. 5 years) by a specified amount. To this end, an EU Action Plan on Cetacean Bycatch, comparable to the existing 2012 Action Plan for reducing incidental catches of seabirds in fishing gear, might be beneficial and could ultimately form a model for an international Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Cetacean Bycatch Reduction Action Plan. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Gero S.,Dalhousie University | Milligan M.,Dalhousie University | Rinaldi C.,Association Evasion Tropicale | Francis P.,Anchorage Whale Watch | And 7 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2014

There is substantial geographic variation in the behavior and social structure of sperm whales worldwide. The population in the Eastern Caribbean is thought to be isolated from other areas in the North Atlantic. We describe the behavior and social structure of the sperm whales identified off Dominica during an eight year study (2005-2012; 92% of photographic identifications) with supplementary data collected from seven other organizations dating as far back as 1981. A total of 419 individuals were identified. Resighting rates (42% of individuals between years) and encounter rates with sperm whale groups (mean = 80.4% of days at sea) among this population were both comparatively high. Group sizes were small (7-9 individuals) and were comprised of just one social unit (mean = 6.76 individuals, SD = 2.80). We described 17 units which have been reidentified off Dominica across 2-27 yr. Mature males are seen regularly off Dominica, but residency in the area lasts only a few days to a few weeks. Males were reidentified across years spanning up to a decade. Management of this population within the multinational Wider Caribbean Region will require governments to work towards international agreements governing sperm whales as a cross-border species of concern. © 2013 Society for Marine Mammalogy.

Cheney B.,University of Aberdeen | Thompson P.M.,University of Aberdeen | Ingram S.N.,University of Aberdeen | Hammond P.S.,University of St. Andrews | And 20 more authors.
Mammal Review | Year: 2013

The distribution, movements and abundance of highly mobile marine species such as bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus are best studied at large spatial scales, but previous research effort has generally been focused on relatively small areas, occupied by populations with high site fidelity. We aimed to characterize the distribution, movements and abundance of bottlenose dolphins around the coasts of Scotland, exploring how data from multiple sources could be integrated to build a broader-scale picture of their ecology. We reviewed existing historical data, integrated data from ongoing studies and developed new collaborative studies to describe distribution patterns. We adopted a Bayesian multi-site mark-recapture model to estimate abundance of bottlenose dolphins throughout Scottish coastal waters and quantified movements of individuals between study areas. The majority of sightings of bottlenose dolphins around the Scottish coastline are concentrated on the east and west coasts, but records are rare before the 1990s. Dedicated photo-identification studies in 2006 and 2007 were used to estimate the size of two resident populations: one on the east coast from the Moray Firth to Fife, population estimate 195 [95% highest posterior density intervals (HPDI): 162-253] and the second in the Hebrides, population estimate 45 (95% HPDI: 33-66). Interaction parameters demonstrated that the dolphins off the east coast of Scotland are highly mobile, whereas those off the west coast form two discrete communities. We provide the first comprehensive assessment of the abundance of bottlenose dolphins in the inshore waters of Scotland. The combination of dedicated photo-identification studies and opportunistic sightings suggest that a relatively small number of bottlenose dolphins (200-300 individuals) occur regularly in Scottish coastal waters. On both east and west coasts, re-sightings of identifiable individuals indicate that the animals have been using these coastal areas since studies began. © 2012 Mammal Society/Blackwell Publishing.

Isojunno S.,University of St. Andrews | Matthiopoulos J.,University of St. Andrews | Evans P.G.H.,Sea Watch Foundation
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2012

Statistical habitat modelling is often flagged as a cost-effective decision tool for species management. However, data that can produce predictions with the desired precision are difficult to collect, especially for species with spatially extensive and dynamic distributions. Data from platforms of opportunity could be used to complement or help design dedicated surveys, but robust inference from such data is challenging. Furthermore, regression models using static covariates may not be sufficient for animals whose habitat preferences change dynamically with season, environmental conditions or foraging strategy. More flexible models introduce difficulties in selecting parsimonious models. We implemented a robust model-averaging framework to dy - namically predict harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena occurrence in a strongly tidal and topographically complex site in southwest Wales using data from a temporally intensive platform of opportunity. Spatial and temporal environmental variables were allowed to interact in a generalized additive model (GAM). We used information criteria to examine an extensive set of 3003 models and average predictions from the best 33. In the best model, 3 main effects and 2 tensorproduct interactions explained 46% of the deviance. Model-averaged predictions indicated that harbour porpoises avoided or selected steeper slopes depending on the tidal flow conditions; when the tide started to ebb, occurrence was predicted to increase 3-fold at steeper slopes. © Inter-Research 2012.

News Article | January 25, 2016

Onlookers and rescuers found three baby sperm whales dead on a beach near Skegness in East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. Experts say the whales may have gotten lost. One of the whales was discovered at around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, while the two others were found just a few miles south at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Scientists from the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) will perform the postmortem examination of the whales. The three whales are believed to be part of the same pod, or group of whales, as the the other sperm whale that was discovered on Friday at Hunstanton. The said whale was about 45 feet long and weighed approximately 30 tons. Workers went out to rescue the whale but unfortunately, it did not survive. "This large animal was unable to make for deeper water. As the tide was dropping away, nothing more could be done," says Geoff Needham, a spokesman for the Hunstanton Lifeboat Station. The CSIP obtained samples of the whale's skin, blood, teeth and blubber. Meanwhile, the location of the rest of the pod is still unknown. Sperm whales are deep-sea species that cannot survive in shallow waters for long. The animals are said to become disoriented easily in such areas. Sea Watch Foundation director Peter Evans says the whales found in Skegness are probably adolescents that encountered a squid and fed on it. The whales may have lacked food thereafter, causing them to swim farther down south to the shallow waters of Norfolk. "The general consensus is that it's a pod that has got lost and they've become unstuck through stress meaning that, unfortunately, they have beached themselves," notes Sam Rees of Skegness Aquarium. CSIP program organizer Rob Deauville says the incident is unusual. The group documents and investigates marine animal strandings all over the UK. As per their data, sperm whale strandings are not typical. "Every year we get 600 strandings of cetaceans in the UK and a handful, about five or six a year, are sperm whales," he says. CSIP also notes that the number of marine animal strandings in the UK has risen over the last 25 years. The data are consistent with reports from other countries, including the United States. In 2010, 33 pilot whales were found dead on an island off the Donegal coast in Ireland. Experts say climate change due to the utilization of underwater sonar is among the practices that international studies have identified as a causative factor.

Nuuttila H.K.,Bangor University | Meier R.,Bangor University | Meier R.,UK National Oceanography Center | Evans P.G.H.,Bangor University | And 4 more authors.
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2013

Sound is the main means of communication for cetaceans, and studying their vocal behaviour can reveal important information about their activity patterns. As static acoustic monitoring (SAM) of whales, dolphins, and porpoises becomes more widespread, it is important to understand how data collected with automated click loggers relate to their behaviour. To assess whether behaviour can be inferred from automated click train data, echolocation click trains (series of clicks) of bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises recorded by C-PODs were examined with simultaneous visual observations. Recorded click trains from both species had different characteristics for the two observed behavioural categories: (1) travelling and (2) foraging. Foraging click trains for both species were of shorter duration and had shorter inter-click intervals. The distinction in the click trains between the two behaviours was stronger for harbour porpoises. More than one quarter of the harbour porpoise click trains represented a distinct group of very fast click trains or "buzzes," which were thought to be associated with foraging, whereas only a small fraction of such trains was found in the bottlenose dolphin click data. For both species, the C-PODs showed potential in detecting foraging behaviour and in identifying potential feeding sites and trends in foraging activity.

Loading Sea Watch Foundation collaborators
Loading Sea Watch Foundation collaborators