Development and Testing of Tagging and Attachment Equipment for Harbour Porpoises in the Southwestern Bay of Fundy.
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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This report outlines work performed during 1995-6 under ONR grant NOOOI4-94-1-1 189 entitled Development and testing of tagging and attachment equipment for harbour porpoises in the southwestern Bay of Fundy. The objectives were to 1 test long-term tag attachment systems for harbour porpoises, 2 monitor the movements of harbour porpoises using satellite telemetry and 3 collect data on the postmortem cooling rates of harbour porpoises. We deployed satellite-linked transmitters PTTs on two adult female and seven adult male harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena released from herring weirs in the Bay of Fundy during the summers of W94 and 1995. Our objectives were to evaluate the potential for monitoring long-term movements of these animals with satellite telemetry and to collect information on movements and patterns of habitat use of these animals. We used Telonics ST- 10 transmitters in two configurations, a front mounted cylinder type and a side mounted box type. We received uplinks from each of the nine porpoises, allowing us to estimate reliable positions and monitor time spent at the surface. Transmissions were received for between 2 and 212 days. The side mounted design provided a more suitable long-term tag for harbour porpoises. Four male porpoises travelled into the Gulf of Maine, and one porpoise moved as far south as northern Georges Bank. Generally, porpoises exhibited a high degree of individual variability in both habitat utilisation and movement patterns. Movements of porpoises between the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine are consistent with the hypothesis that this represents a single sub-population.
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