Feeding grounds of the western South Atlantic humpback whale population

The breeding and feeding grounds of most humpback whale populations are well known. Their preference for shallow, subtropical waters in winter, where they calve and mate (Clapham 1996), often brings them close to coasts or ship traffic, and their blows are readily seen in such relatively calm seas. Summer feeding grounds are mainly known through the activities of 20th-century whalers, who quickly discovered that this species was predictably found in discrete geographical patches, often on shelves around oceanic islands at cold-temperate and subpolar latitudes (Mackintosh 1965). Although breeding and respective feeding grounds have been paired in most Northern Hemisphere populations, there is considerable uncertainty about the migratory destination of many Southern Hemisphere breeding populations. Much less research effort has been focused on these whales,especially using the techniques that have produced most relevant results in the north—satellite-tracking, photographic matching, and genetics.


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Authors: Engel, M.H., Martin, A.R.

1 January, 2009
Marine Mammal Science / 25
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