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Encounter rates of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2010

Oliver Boisseau
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Claire Lacey
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Tim Lewis
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Anna Moscrop
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Magnus Danbolt
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Richard McLanaghan
Affiliation:
International Fund for Animal Welfare, 87–90 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UD
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

A series of visual–acoustic surveys were carried out in the Mediterranean Sea between 2003 and 2007 from RV ‘Song of the Whale’. Almost 21,000 km of trackline were surveyed between the longitudes of 14°W and 36°E with an emphasis on regions with low survey effort. Survey tracklines were designed to provide even coverage probability with random start points. Ten cetacean species were positively identified (sperm whale, fin whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, long-finned pilot whale, Risso's dolphin, common bottlenose dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, striped dolphin and short-beaked common dolphin). Several of these species, plus sei whale and harbour porpoise, were also encountered in the Atlantic contiguous area (the entrance waters of the Mediterranean between the Iberian Peninsula and north-west Morocco). These surveys expand and clarify the known distributions of cetaceans within the Mediterranean basin. New species documented from Libyan waters include sperm whale, striped dolphin and rough-toothed dolphin. False killer whales and rough-toothed dolphins were documented for the first time off Cyprus. Live harbour porpoises were seen for the first time on Morocco's Atlantic seaboard. It is suggested that the status of rough-toothed dolphins in the Mediterranean be revised from visitor to regular species. Substantial new information on encounter rates is now available for the planning of a basin-wide systematic survey of cetaceans within the Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic waters.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2010

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