Satellite tracking and diving behaviour of sub-adult narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in Svalbard, Norway

Three juvenile narwhals captured during August 1998 in the northeast of Svalbard, Norway, were equipped with satellite-relayed data loggers (SRDLs) that transmitted diving and swim-speed data, in addition to location, for up to 46 days. A total of 1,354 complete dive cycles were recorded. Most of the diving was shallow and of short duration. Maximum recorded dive depth was 546 m, maximum recorded dive duration was 24.8 min, and maximum recorded swim-speed was 4.7 ms−1. Ascent speed, vertical ascent speed, descent speed and vertical descent speed were all significantly higher during deep dives (>200 m) than for shallow dives (<200 m). In addition both ascent and descent angles were much steeper for deep dives than during shallow dives. Most of the shallow diving seemed to be associated with travelling, with the animal shifting between various locations, while the deep diving (often to the bottom) for extended periods in some specific areas might have been associated with foraging. Even though the sample size in this study is small, the data are the first information available for movements and diving behaviour of narwhals near Svalbard.


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Authors: Lydersen, Christian, Martin, Anthony, Gjertz, Ian, Kovacs, Kit

1 January, 2007
Polar Biology / 30
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