Publications

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2017
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.

2015
Širović, A, Rice A, Chou E, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM, Roch MA.  2015.  Seven years of blue and fin whale call abundance in the Southern California Bight. Endangered Species Research. 28:61-76.   10.3354/esr00676   AbstractWebsite

Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus and fin whales B. physalus are common inhabitants of the Southern California Bight (SCB), but little is known about the spatial and temporal variability of their use of this area. To study their distribution in the SCB, high-frequency acoustic recording packages were intermittently deployed at 16 locations across the SCB from 2006 to 2012. Presence of blue whale B calls and fin whale 20 Hz calls was determined using 2 types of automatic detection methods, i.e. spectrogram correlation and acoustic energy detection, respectively. Blue whale B calls were generally detected between June and January, with a peak in September, with an overall total of over 3 million detections. Fin whale 20 Hz calls, measured via the fin whale call index, were present year-round, with the highest values between September and December, with a peak in November. Blue whale calls were more common at coastal sites and near the northern Channel Islands, while the fin whale call index was highest in the central and southern areas of the SCB, indicating a possible difference in habitat preferences of the 2 species in this area. Across years, a peak in blue whale call detections occurred in 2008, with minima in 2006 and 2007, but there was no long-term trend. There was an increase in the fin whale call index during this period. These trends are consistent with visual survey estimates for both species in Southern California, providing evidence that passive acoustics can be a powerful tool to monitor population trends for these endangered species.