Seasonal and diel acoustic presence of North Atlantic minke whales in the North Sea

Despite frequent records from other parts of the North Atlantic, minke whales have never been acoustically recorded in the North Sea. This study investigated the detectability of pulse trains previously associated with this species in other regions, in acoustic data from ten sites along the east coast of Scotland. Since preliminary results confirmed pulse train presence, subsequently, an automated detector was applied to these data to record the seasonal and diel presence of minke whale pulse trains. Minke whales were detected from May to November, with most detections occurring in June, July and October. No acoustic detections were made in December, January or in the month of April, whilst no data were available for February and March. This pattern of acoustic presence supports available visual data and suggested an absence of minke whales from the study area during winter. Minke whale acoustic presence showed a statistically significant diel pattern, with a detection peak during night time. This study established the acoustic detectability of minke whales in the North Sea and highlights the potential of using passive acoustic monitoring to study the seasonal presence and spatial distribution of minke whales in the North Sea and wider Northeast Atlantic.

Authors:

Risch D, Wilson SC, Hoogerwerf M, vanGeel NCF, Edwards EWJ, Brookes KL

Scientific Reports 9: 3571
03, 5, 2019
Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39752-8