Sunday, 4 August 2019

Modeling predicts blue whales' foraging behavior, aiding population management efforts


JULY 18, 2019
Scientists can predict where and when blue whales are most likely to be foraging for food in the California Current Ecosystem, providing new insight that could aid in the management of the endangered population in light of climate change and blue whale mortality due to ship strikes, a new study shows.
The statistical model used for the predictions combines long-term satellite tracking data of the whales' movement patterns with environmental data such as ocean temperatures and depth, which helps researchers understand how climate variations might impact blue whales over time from a larger "ecosystem" view of the population.
"Most management decisions up to now have been based on locations where the whales tend to be found," said Daniel Palacios, who holds the Endowed Faculty in Whale Habitats position at Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute, and is lead author of the study.

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