The Environmental Drivers of Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Movement and Habitat Utilization

Speed talk
Part of:
11:05, Friday 20 Dec 2019 (5 minutes)
Room EFG
Assessing the environmental drivers of the movement patterns and habitat utilization of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) is a requirement for the conservation and management of this wide ranging, philopatric species. Satellite telemetry and animal movement models advance our understanding of the behaviour of humpback whales. To investigate how different environmental parameters shape the movements of this species, we deployed satellite tags on the whales in the waters surrounding Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. The interaction between whale behaviour (transiting vs. localized) and eight environmental variables including: sea surface height, current velocity, temperature, seabed depth, sea floor slope, distance from shore, ocean current speed, and chlorophyll a concentration was then modelled using linear mixed-effect models. The results of this study expand the knowledge on humpback whale habitat use, and their behavioural response under dynamic environmental conditions.

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