We report on a wintering area off the Pacific coast of Central America for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrating from feeding areas off Antarctica. We document seven individuals, including a mother/calf pair, that made this migration (approx. 8300km), the longest movement undertaken by any mammal. Whales were observed as far north as 11 degrees N off Costa Rica, in an area also used by a boreal population during the opposite winter season, resulting in unique spatial overlap between Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations. The occurrence of such a northerly wintering area is coincident with the development of an equatorial tongue of cold water in the eastern South Pacific, a pattern that is repeated in the eastern South Atlantic. A survey of location and water temperature at the wintering areas worldwide indicates that they are found in warm waters (21.1-28.3 degrees C), irrespective of latitude. We contend that while availability of suitable reproductive habitat in the wintering areas is important at the fine scale, water temperature influences whale distribution at the basin scale. Calf development in warm water may lead to larger adult size and increased reproductive success, a strategy that supports the energy conservation hypothesis as a reason for migration.
These datasets and accompanying syntheses provide a greater understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes in the Southern Ocean, support modelling of predator distributions under future climate scenarios and create inputs that can be incorporated into decision making processes by management authorities. In this data paper, we present the compiled tracking data from research groups that have worked in the Antarctic since the 1990s. The data are publicly available through biodiversity.aq and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System. The archive includes tracking data from over 70 contributors across 12 national Antarctic programs, and includes data from 17 predator species, 4060 individual animals, and over 2.9 million observed locations.Scientific Data | (2020) 7:94 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0406-x www.nature.com/scientificdata www.nature.com/scientificdata/ circum-Antarctic synthesis yet exists that crosses species boundaries. This deficiency prompted the Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals (EG-BAMM) and the Expert Group on Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics (EGABI) of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR; www.scar.org) to initiate in 2010 the Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data (RAATD). RAATD aims to advance our understanding of fundamental and applied questions in a data-driven way, matching research priorities already identified by the SCAR Horizon Scan 9,21 and key questions in animal movement ecology 22 . For these reasons, we worked on the collation, validation and preparation of tracking data collected south of 45 °S. Data from over seventy contributors (Data Contacts and Citations 23 ) were collated. This database includes information from seventeen predator species, 4,060 individuals and over 2.9 million at-sea locations. To exploit this unique dataset, RAATD is undertaking a multi-species assessment of habitat use for higher predators in the Southern Ocean 24 .RAATD will provide a greater understanding of predator distributions under varying climate regimes, and provide outputs that can inform spatial management and planning decisions by management authorities such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR; www.ccamlr.org). Our synopsis and analysis of multi-predator tracking data will also highlight regional or seasonal data-gaps.Scientific Data | (2020) 7:94 | https://doi.
Global climate change during the Late Pleistocene periodically encroached and then released habitat during the glacial cycles, causing range expansions and contractions in some species. These dynamics have played a major role in geographic radiations, diversification and speciation. We investigate these dynamics in the most widely distributed of marine mammals, the killer whale (Orcinus orca), using a global data set of over 450 samples. This marine top predator inhabits coastal and pelagic ecosystems ranging from the ice edge to the tropics, often exhibiting ecological, behavioural and morphological variation suggestive of local adaptation accompanied by reproductive isolation. Results suggest a rapid global radiation occurred over the last 350 000 years. Based on habitat models, we estimated there was only a 15% global contraction of core suitable habitat during the last glacial maximum, and the resources appeared to sustain a constant global effective female population size throughout the Late Pleistocene. Reconstruction of the ancestral phylogeography highlighted the high mobility of this species, identifying 22 strongly supported long-range dispersal events including interoceanic and interhemispheric movement. Despite this propensity for geographic dispersal, the increased sampling of this study uncovered very few potential examples of ancestral dispersal among ecotypes. Concordance of nuclear and mitochondrial data further confirms genetic cohesiveness, with little or no current gene flow among sympatric ecotypes. Taken as a whole, our data suggest that the glacial cycles influenced local populations in different ways, with no clear global pattern, but with secondary contact among lineages following long-range dispersal as a potential mechanism driving ecological diversification.
The reproductive success of southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) depends on body condition and, therefore, on foraging success. This, in turn, might be affected by climatically driven change in the abundance of the species main prey, krill (Euphausia superba), on the feeding grounds. Annual data on southern right whale number of calves were obtained from aerial surveys carried out between 1997 and 2013 in southern Brazil, where the species concentrate during their breeding season. The number of calves recorded each year varied from 7 to 43 ( = 21.11 ± 11.88). Using cross-correlation analysis we examined the response of the species to climate anomalies and krill densities. Significant correlations were found with krill densities (r = 0.69, p = 0.002, lag 0 years), Oceanic Niño Index (r = −0.65, p = 0.03, lag 6 years), Antarctic Oscillation (r = 0.76, p = 0.01, lag 7 years) and Antarctic sea ice area (r = −0.68, p = 0.002, lag 0 years). Our results suggest that global climate indices influence southern right whale breeding success in southern Brazil by determining variation in food (krill) availability for the species. Therefore, increased frequency of years with reduced krill abundance, due to global warming, is likely to reduce the current rate of recovery of southern right whales from historical overexploitation.
Reconstruction of the demographic and evolutionary history of populations assuming a consensus tree‐like relationship can mask more complex scenarios, which are prevalent in nature. An emerging genomic toolset, which has been most comprehensively harnessed in the reconstruction of human evolutionary history, enables molecular ecologists to elucidate complex population histories. Killer whales have limited extrinsic barriers to dispersal and have radiated globally, and are therefore a good candidate model for the application of such tools. Here, we analyse a global data set of killer whale genomes in a rare attempt to elucidate global population structure in a nonhuman species. We identify a pattern of genetic homogenisation at lower latitudes and the greatest differentiation at high latitudes, even between currently sympatric lineages. The processes underlying the major axis of structure include high drift at the edge of species' range, likely associated with founder effects and allelic surfing during postglacial range expansion. Divergence between Antarctic and non‐Antarctic lineages is further driven by ancestry segments with up to four‐fold older coalescence time than the genome‐wide average; relicts of a previous vicariance during an earlier glacial cycle. Our study further underpins that episodic gene flow is ubiquitous in natural populations, and can occur across great distances and after substantial periods of isolation between populations. Thus, understanding the evolutionary history of a species requires comprehensive geographic sampling and genome‐wide data to sample the variation in ancestry within individuals.
The mortality of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, on the southern portion of Rio Grande do Sul State coast was investigated based on 914 beach surveys conducted between 1969 and 2006. A total of 188 stranded bottlenose dolphins were recorded during this period, indicating a 1.8M:1F sex-ratio of those animals sexed (N = 79). Mortality was low in calves, high in juveniles and sub-adults and slightly lower than in adults. The overall mortality was clearly seasonal overlapping with higher fishing efforts in the Patos Lagoon Estuary and adjacent coastal areas, where most individuals washed ashore. Analysis of a continuous 14-year long subset (1993–2006) of the data indicated relatively low levels of mortality between 1995 and 2000 and a marked increase between 2002 and 2005 followed by an apparent drop in 2006. By-catch was responsible for at least 43% of the recorded mortality between 2002 and 2006. Juvenile males were more susceptible to incidental catches. Among females, by-catch of adults represented 75%. Results of a potential biological removal analysis suggest that current levels of fishing-related mortality are unsustainable for the small resident population of bottlenose dolphins that inhabits the Patos Lagoon Estuary, and that this population may be declining.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2023 scite Inc. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers