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Davis, GE, Baumgartner MF, Bonnell JM, Bell J, Berchok C, Thornton JB, Brault S, Buchanan G, Charif RA, Cholewiak D, Clark CW, Corkeron P, Delarue J, Dudzinski K, Hatch L, Hildebrand J, Hodge L, Klinck H, Kraus S, Martin B, Mellinger DK, Moors-Murphy H, Nieukirk S, Nowacek DP, Parks S, Read AJ, Rice AN, Risch D, Sirovic A, Soldevilla M, Stafford K, Stanistreet JE, Summers E, Todd S, Warde A, Van Parijs SM.  2017.  Long-term passive acoustic recordings track the changing distribution of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from 2004 to 2014. Scientific Reports. 7   10.1038/s41598-017-13359-3   AbstractWebsite

Given new distribution patterns of the endangered North Atlantic right whale (NARW; Eubalaena glacialis) population in recent years, an improved understanding of spatio-temporal movements are imperative for the conservation of this species. While so far visual data have provided most information on NARW movements, passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) was used in this study in order to better capture year-round NARW presence. This project used PAM data from 2004 to 2014 collected by 19 organizations throughout the western North Atlantic Ocean. Overall, data from 324 recorders (35,600 days) were processed and analyzed using a classification and detection system. Results highlight almost year-round habitat use of the western North Atlantic Ocean, with a decrease in detections in waters off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in summer and fall. Data collected post 2010 showed an increased NARW presence in the mid-Atlantic region and a simultaneous decrease in the northern Gulf of Maine. In addition, NARWs were widely distributed across most regions throughout winter months. This study demonstrates that a large-scale analysis of PAM data provides significant value to understanding and tracking shifts in large whale movements over long time scales.

Guass, O, Haapanen LM, Dowd SE, Širović A, McLaughlin RW.  2016.  Analysis of the microbial diversity in faecal material of the endangered blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology. 109:1063-1069.   10.1007/s10482-016-0698-1   AbstractWebsite

Using bacterial and fungal tag-encoded FLX-Titanium amplicon pyrosequencing, the microbiota of the faecal material of two blue whales living in the wild off the coast of California was investigated. In both samples the most predominant bacterial phylum was the Firmicutes with Clostridium spp. being the most dominant bacteria. The most predominant fungi were members of the phylum Ascomycota with Metschnikowia spp. being the most dominant. In this study, we also preliminarily characterised the culturable anaerobic bacteria from the faecal material, using traditional culture and 16S rRNA gene sequencing approaches. In total, three bacterial species belonging to the phylum Firmicutes were identified.