MMR Publication - humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Jervis Bay

Article title: Distribution patterns of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Jervis Bay, Australia: A spatial analysis using geographical citizen science data
Reference: JAPG1145
Journal title: Applied Geography
Corresponding author: Dr. Eleanor Bruce
First author: Dr. Eleanor Bruce
Final version published online: 15-AUG-2014 Full bibliographic details: Applied Geography (2014), pp. 83-95
DOI information: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.06.014

Distribution patterns of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Jervis Bay, Australia: A spatial analysis using geographical citizen science data

Eleanor Bruce a, b, *, Lindsey Albright a, Scott Sheehan c, Michelle Blewitt b, c
a Geocoastal Research Group, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Madsen Building F09, 2006, NSW, Australia
b University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science (USIMS), University of Sydney, Australia
c Marine Mammal Research, PO Box 117 Huskisson, Jervis Bay, NSW, 2540, Australia

Highlights

• Investigation of spatio-temporal distribution of humpback whales in Jervis Bay, Australia.
• Mother-calf pods showed a preference for shallow waters during their southern migration.
• Sampling bias associated with geographical citizen science data can influence spatial cluster detection.
• Variability in whale pod distribution patterns has important conservation implications.

Abstract

Increases in east Australian humpback whale populations, specifically in areas where sightings were previously infrequent, highlight the importance of understanding the usage patterns and habitat preferences for resting grounds along migration pathways. This study investigates the spatio-temporal distribution of humpback whales in Jervis Bay, Australia, based on pod composition, providing insight on the role of this shallow coastal embayment for mother-calf pods during the southern migration to polar feeding grounds. Geographical citizen science-based sighting data, collected from a commercial whale-watch platform during the 2007–2010 migration seasons, were used to examine variations in bay usage and pod composition. Differences in the distribution patterns of mother-calf and non-calf pod sightings were examined using spatial cluster analysis. The impact of sampling bias, introduced through non-specialist volunteer collected data, on spatial cluster detection was simulated. Observation error and spatial sampling bias may affect local spatial cluster detection. Sampling processes with potential to contribute to this bias should be recorded in the survey design of geographical citizen science based data collection programmes. Mother-calf pods showed a significant preference for the shallow waters of Jervis Bay during October and November, indicating the bay may function as a preferred resting location during their southern migration with important marine management implications.

Supplementary Geospatial Data Keywords
Humpback whale; GIS; Spatial statistics; Marine management; Geographical citizen science; Jervis Bay

 

Contact senior author Dr Eleanor Bruce

DR ELEANOR BRUCE| Senior Lecturer| Marine Science and Management Postgraduate Coordinator
School of Geosciences | Faculty of Science
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
Rm 458, Madsen Building F09 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
T +61 2 9351 6443 | F +61 2 9351 2442
E eleanor.bruce @ sydney.edu.au | W http://www.geosci.usyd.edu.au

 

PAPER DOWNLOAD
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Bruce, E., Albright, L., Sheehan, S., Blewitt, M., (2014). Distribution patterns of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Jervis Bay, Australia: A spatial analysis using geographical citizen science data. Applied Geography, Volume 54, Pages 83-95.

Other links

Poster presented at the AMSA 2013 Golden Jubilee Conference, QLD, Australia.

JERVIS BAY: AN AREA OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR SOUTHWARD MIGRATING
HUMPBACK WHALE COW/CALF PAIRS?

Scott Sheehan & Michelle Blewitt
scott @ marinemammalresearch.com

 

POSTER DOWNLOAD

Sheehan, S., Blewitt, M., (2013). Jervis Bay: An Area of Significance for Southward Migrating Humpback whale Cow/Calf Pairs? Poster presented at the AMSA 2013 Golden Jubilee Conference, QLD, Australia.

MMR Projects 2014- Jervis Bay Humpback Whale Project

NEW
VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED FOR PROJECT ON HUMPBACK WHALES IN JERVIS BAY NSW AUSTRALIA

The Marine Mammal Research Unit (MMR) is seeking applications from volunteers for a 1 to 3 weeks distribution and behaviour study on humpback whales in October 2014.