Friday, 11 April 2014

Pygmy blue whale tracked for first time

April 2014: The route pygmy blue whale take during their annual migration has been tracked by scientists for the first time. Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division, who tagged 11 whales in April 2009 and March 2011, say that the results have identified their migratory route along the Australian coastline to Indonesia.

“These 11 satellite tracks line up closely with blue whale positional information collected by researchers both pre- and post-whaling, through sightings, strandings, acoustic recordings and mark-recapture,” Australian Antarctic Division scientist and co-author of the research, Dr Virginia Andrews-Goff,said.

The research, published in PLOS ONE , will allow environmental managers and industry to assess what impacts human activities might have on these gigantic animals during their more than 10 000 km round-trip migration.

Australian Antarctic Division marine mammal scientist and lead author of the research, Dr Mike Double, said the published migratory movements could be used in a precautionary way, to identify and manage risks within the pygmy blue whale migratory range, such as vessel traffic, oil and gas field locations and increased ambient noise from development, shipping and fishing.

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