Behavioral Ecology of Cetaceans: The Relationship of Body Condition with Behavior and Reproductive Success
Limited scope rept. 21 Apr 2011-4 May 2012
SAINT ANDREWS UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM)
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In this one-year limited-scope study, the objectives were to test our ability to make key measures needed to study the role of nutritive body condition in the behavior and reproduction in the Northern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon ampullatus and the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae. Our approach was to collect animal-attached tag data, photographs, and tissue samples during three research trials in Canada and Norway and from opportunistic sources. Every one of the complex suite of measures was successfully carried out in at least one of the target species. Body density, the primary indicator of total body lipid store was successfully calculated from glides recorded by tags attached to three tagged bottlenose whales. We successfully measured progesterone levels in biopsy samples and detected it in non-invasively collected blow expirate samples to assess pregnancy status. This study demonstrated that it is feasible to conduct a multi-faceted study of body condition in free-ranging cetaceans.
- Biological Oceanography