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Diving and surface feeding events of Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) observed in the south-western part of Iceland

Lukas, Adomas (2013) BION35 20121
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
Abstract
Mean dive duration and probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding were estimated throughout three consecutive feeding seasons in Faxafloy bay, Iceland. Observations were done using manual theodolite and binoculars each season from June to August. Surfacings of the whale as well as behavioural notes were fixed into Pythagoras program. Mean dive duration was significantly longer in June compared with July and August by approximately 4.5 seconds. Probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding was highest with 0.06% value in June compared with consecutive summer months. In July Probability decreased more than double down to 0.02%, while in August declined even more – 0.01%. Years and average monthly sunshine hours did... (More)
Abstract
Mean dive duration and probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding were estimated throughout three consecutive feeding seasons in Faxafloy bay, Iceland. Observations were done using manual theodolite and binoculars each season from June to August. Surfacings of the whale as well as behavioural notes were fixed into Pythagoras program. Mean dive duration was significantly longer in June compared with July and August by approximately 4.5 seconds. Probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding was highest with 0.06% value in June compared with consecutive summer months. In July Probability decreased more than double down to 0.02%, while in August declined even more – 0.01%. Years and average monthly sunshine hours did not have any effect on probability of observing surface feeding event. Significant diel differences of the occurrence of Surface feeding events were found. Changes in diving and feeding behaviours were associated with likely shifts in prey preference, distribution and abundance in a water column. These associations were supported by previously done studies on cetacean species behaviour, including Minke whale.

Popular science summary:

Diving and Surface Feeding of Minke whale Observed in the south-western part of Iceland

The Minke whale, like many other baleen whales is a very good Bio-indicator species. Since this species is known to be a generalist feeder, understanding feeding behaviour of Minke whales and their interactions with prey are very important when changes in marine ecosystems are apparent.

Data was collected during all summer 2012, in Faxafloi bay, south-western part of Iceland. A 27 meters tall lighthouse was used as a land based research platform. A manual theodolite was used to record Minke whale tracks and observe feeding behaviors.

Results showed that Minke whales tend to exhibit surface feeding behavior more often in June when compared with July and August. In addition, recorded mean dive duration was longest in June then compared with the rest of the summer months. Also, there was a clear variation in surface feeding occurrence throughout the day. Surface feeding events occurred more often in the afternoon compared with morning time.

These findings suggest that differences in occurrence of surface feeding behavior and dive duration are strongly affected by seasonality. Minke whales most likely react to shifts in prey species composition, abundance and distribution – factors that vary throughout the feeding season.



Advisors: Marianne Helene Rasmussen, Per Carlsson.
Master´s Degree project 45 credits in Aquatic Ecology 2013
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lukas, Adomas
supervisor
organization
course
BION35 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
3601337
date added to LUP
2013-03-19 15:04:37
date last changed
2013-03-25 08:58:55
@misc{3601337,
  abstract     = {Abstract
Mean dive duration and probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding were estimated throughout three consecutive feeding seasons in Faxafloy bay, Iceland. Observations were done using manual theodolite and binoculars each season from June to August. Surfacings of the whale as well as behavioural notes were fixed into Pythagoras program. Mean dive duration was significantly longer in June compared with July and August by approximately 4.5 seconds. Probability of observing Minke whale surface feeding was highest with 0.06% value in June compared with consecutive summer months. In July Probability decreased more than double down to 0.02%, while in August declined even more – 0.01%. Years and average monthly sunshine hours did not have any effect on probability of observing surface feeding event. Significant diel differences of the occurrence of Surface feeding events were found. Changes in diving and feeding behaviours were associated with likely shifts in prey preference, distribution and abundance in a water column. These associations were supported by previously done studies on cetacean species behaviour, including Minke whale.

Popular science summary:

Diving and Surface Feeding of Minke whale Observed in the south-western part of Iceland

The Minke whale, like many other baleen whales is a very good Bio-indicator species. Since this species is known to be a generalist feeder, understanding feeding behaviour of Minke whales and their interactions with prey are very important when changes in marine ecosystems are apparent.

Data was collected during all summer 2012, in Faxafloi bay, south-western part of Iceland. A 27 meters tall lighthouse was used as a land based research platform. A manual theodolite was used to record Minke whale tracks and observe feeding behaviors.

Results showed that Minke whales tend to exhibit surface feeding behavior more often in June when compared with July and August. In addition, recorded mean dive duration was longest in June then compared with the rest of the summer months. Also, there was a clear variation in surface feeding occurrence throughout the day. Surface feeding events occurred more often in the afternoon compared with morning time.

These findings suggest that differences in occurrence of surface feeding behavior and dive duration are strongly affected by seasonality. Minke whales most likely react to shifts in prey species composition, abundance and distribution – factors that vary throughout the feeding season.



Advisors: Marianne Helene Rasmussen, Per Carlsson.
Master´s Degree project 45 credits in Aquatic Ecology 2013
Department of Biology, Lund University},
  author       = {Lukas, Adomas},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Diving and surface feeding events of Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) observed in the south-western part of Iceland},
  year         = {2013},
}