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Theses

Satellite telemetry and humpback whales : A tool for determining the habitat use, distribution and behavior of an endangered large whale species

Abstract : This dissertation has been prepared in manuscript format and contains four individual papers. Each paper/chapter is formatted for the journal to which it has been, or will be, submitted. In the first manuscript, “From Whaling to Tagging: The evolution of knowledge regarding humpback whales in their North Atlantic breeding grounds”, I describe the evolution of humpback whale research from the days of Yankee whaling to the most recent satellite telemetry project in the West Indies breeding grounds. The humpback whales that over-winter in the West Indies are part of one of the most heavily studied whale populations in the world; projects conducted in this area have served as models for humpback whale research world-wide. This manuscript will be submitted for publication in Mammal Review in 2014. In my second manuscript, “Local and migratory movements of humpback whales satellite tracked in the North Atlantic Ocean”, I report the results of a satellite telemetry project that was conducted in the winters of 2008 through 2012 in the breeding areas of Silver Bank (Dominican Republic) and Guadeloupe (French West Indies). The results from this project add a level of detail to the current knowledge about North Atlantic humpback whale habitat use, migration, and population structure that could not be obtained without current satellite tagging technology. This paper has been reviewed and accepted for publication by the Canadian Journal of Zoology and will be published by November, 2013 ii In my third manuscript, “Individual variation in movements of humpback whales satellite tracked in the eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea”, I report the results from a satellite telemetry project conducted off Dutch Harbor, (Alaska, USA) in the summers of 2007 through 2011. Satellite telemetry from this project showed the fine-scale use of foraging habitat in a North Pacific feeding ground. Additionally, a long-distance, within-season travel event was recorded in 2010, prompting speculation about the humpback population structure throughout the Bering Sea. This manuscript has been reviewed and accepted for publication by Endangered Species Research and will be published by November, 2013. In the fourth manuscript, “Assessing implantable satellite tag extrusion using light sensors”, I report the results of a novel approach for remotely quantifying tag rejection; the use of tag-mounted light sensors to indicate extrusion rate. The data for this paper were collected during a 2011 follow-up study aimed at assessing the behavioral and physiological responses of Gulf of Maine humpback whales to current tagging methods. Tag diagnostic technology like this, while still being developed, could significantly improve future telemetry work by updating tag design and placement methods to increase overall project efficiency. This paper has been accepted as a poster presentation at the 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (December 2013, Dunedin New Zealand). It will be updated with the results from the 2013 Gulf of Maine tagging field season and submitted to a peer reviewed journal in 2014.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 12, 2014 - 11:02:08 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:41:48 AM
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Amy Kennedy. Satellite telemetry and humpback whales : A tool for determining the habitat use, distribution and behavior of an endangered large whale species. Agricultural sciences. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA11T086⟩. ⟨tel-00989629⟩

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