Abstract: humpback whales in Samana Bay,

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 8 Jun 1995 19:15:16

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Abstract: humpback whales in Samana Bay,
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Subj:	Abstract - humpback whales
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From:         Phil Clapham <pclapham@caliban.ucsd.edu>
Subject:      Abstract - humpback whales
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MATTILA, D.K., CLAPHAM, P.J., VASQUEZ, O. & BOWMAN, R.S.  1994.  Occurrence,
population composition and habitat use of humpback whales in Samana Bay,
Dominican Republic.  Can. J. Zool. 72: 1898-1907.
  A study of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) was conducted between
1988 and 1991 in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic.  Humpbacks were observed as
early as the earliest survey (3 January) and as late as the latest (16
March).  Local abundance varied from 0 whales per hour to a maximum of 3.2
whales per hour (mean = 1.70, SD = 0.79), and densities calculated from
track surveys ranged from 0.09 to 0.82 whales per square nautical mile (mean
= 0.31).  Abundance generally peaked in February, but variation was observed
both within a season and between years. Almost all whales were observed in
the eastern part of the bay, towards or at its mouth.  In all, 397
individuals were photographically identified during the study period.  Of
these, 18 were observed in more than one year (17 in 2 years, 1 in 3 years).
 A total of 15.8% of identified individuals were observed on more than 1 day
in a year (maximum 5 days), with mothers representing 33.3% of all
resightings.  Observed occupancies of resighted animals ranged from 1 to 33
days (mean = 6.3 days, SD = 7.14).  The mean group size was 1.95 (range:
1-15, SD = 1.30, n = 652 groups).  Ninety-nine groups contained a calf, and
all groups larger than three (n = 45) were competitive in nature.
Comparisons of fluke photographs with the North Atlantic Humpback Whale
Catalogue revealed 141 matches of 118 individuals to other areas.  Of these,
76 were to high-latitude feeding grounds (including the Gulf of Maine,
Newfoundland, Labrador, the Gulf of St Lawrence, and west Greenland), while
the remaining 65 were to other areas of the West Indies (Silver Bank,
Navidad Bank, Puerto Rico, Virgin Bank or Anguilla Bank) or to Bermuda.  We
suggest that Samana Bay is one of the most important winter habitats in the
West Indies for humpback whales from all over the western North Atlantic,
although whaling records suggest that the abundance of whales in this area
may be a relatively recent phenomenon.  Sighting of other marine mammal
species in Samana Bay are summarized.
   Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
   SW Fisheries Science Center        phone:    619-546-7173
   8604 La Jolla Shores Drive          fax:         619-546-5653
   La Jolla, CA  92037                     internet:  pclapham@caliban.ucsd.edu