Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New, higher estimates of endangered humpback whales in the North Pacific

19.10.2011
Scientists have increased the estimate on the number of humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean in a paper published in the journal Marine Mammal Science. The increase follows a refined statistical analysis of data compiled in 2008 from the largest whale survey ever undertaken to assess humpback whale populations throughout the North Pacific.

The number of North Pacific Humpback Whales in the 2008 study known as the Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks, or SPLASH, was estimated at just under 20,000 based on a preliminary look at the data. This new research indicates the population to be over 21,000 and possibly even higher – a significant improvement to the scant 1400 humpback whales estimated in the North Pacific Ocean at the end of commercial whaling in 1966.


A humpback whale calf breaching off Hawaii. Credit: HIHWNMS NOAA Fisheries Permit #782-1438

"These improved numbers are encouraging, especially after we have reduced most of the biases inherent in any statistical model," said Jay Barlow, NOAAs Fisheries Service marine mammal biologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif. "We feel the numbers may even be larger since there have been across-the-board increases in known population areas and unknown areas have probably seen the same increases."

The SPLASH research was a three-year project begun in 2004 involving NOAA scientists and hundreds of other researchers from the United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala and was the first systematic survey ever attempted to determine the humpback whales' overall population, structure, and genetic makeup in the North Pacific.

Researchers were able to quantify the number of humpback whales by photographing and cataloguing over 18,000 pictures of the animals' tail, or fluke because the pigmentation patterns on the fluke act like a fingerprint and are unique to each animal. Scientists determined population numbers by comparing photographs taken in northern feeding grounds (around the Pacific Rim from California to Kamchatka) compared with matches of the same animals in the warm tropical waters of southern breeding areas as far as 3000 miles away.

"This latest revision to the study provides an accurate estimate for humpback whales in an entire ocean that could not have been possible without researchers working together to pool data," said John Calambokidis, senior research biologist and co-founder of Cascadia Research. "While populations of some other whale species remain very low this shows that humpback whales are among those that have recovered strongly from whaling."

Barlow. J, Calambokidis. J, Falcone. E, Baker. C. S, Burdin. A. Clapham. P, Ford. J, Gabriele. C, LeDuc. R, Mattila. D, Quinn II. T, Rojas-Bracho. L, Straley. J, Taylor. B, Urbán. J, Wade. P, Weller. D, Witteveen. B, Yamaguchi. M, "Humpback whale abundance in the North Pacific estimated by photographic capture-recapture with bias correction from simulation studies", Marine Mammal Science, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, DOI:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00444.x http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-7692.2010.00444.x/abstract

Jim Milbury | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.noaa.gov

Further reports about: Fisheries Marine science NOAA Pacific Ocean Pacific coral Science TV Splash humpback whale

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>