In 2014 a collaborative study between Cascadia Research Collective (CRC) and Duke University was initiated off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to examine the spatial use and diving behavior of a number of species of odontocetes using remotely deployed Low Impact Minimally Percutaneous External-electronics Transmitter (LIMPET) satellite tags. This work builds upon and complements longer-term studies of movements and site fidelity of both Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) off the North Carolina coast using photo-identification (photo-ID) (Swaim et al. 2014, Foley et al. 2015b, 2016, 2017a). While the primary focus has been on Cuvier’s beaked whales and short-finned pilot whales, in the first three years a number of other species have been tagged as well. From 2014 through 2016, satellite-tag data were obtained from 70 individuals of 7 species: 15 Cuvier’s beaked whales, 40 short-finned pilot whales, 10 common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), 2 common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), 1 Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), 1 Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene), and 1 sperm whale (Physeter microcephalus), ranging over periods from 1.3 to 354 days (Baird et al. 2015, 2016, 2017; Foley et al. 2015a; Thorne et al. 2017). In 2017, additional field efforts were undertaken focusing on the two primary species in May, August, and September as part of the Atlantic Behavioral Response Study (BRS), a collaborative effort between Duke University, Southall Environmental Associates, the University of St. Andrews, and CRC. Satellite tags were deployed on both Cuvier’s beaked whales and short-finned pilot whales in each of the three periods, prior to scheduled controlled exposure experiments (CEEs), although CEEs were only undertaken in August and September 2017. Given the CEEs and their potential influence on small-scale movements and diving behavior, this report summarizes results from satellite tagging, focusing on large-scale spatial use by tagged individuals as well as diving behavior prior to the CEEs. Detailed analyses of small-scale movements and diving behavior in relation to the CEEs can be found in Southall et al. 2018.
Baird, R.W., D.L. Webster, Z.T. Swaim, H.J. Foley, D.B. Anderson, and A.J. Read. 2018. Spatial use by Cuvier’s beaked whales and short-finned pilot whales satellite tagged off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina: 2017 Annual Progress Report. Prepared for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Submitted to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, under Contract No. N62470-15-D-8006, Task Order 50, issued to HDR Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia. March 2018.Download PDF
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