Migrating eastern North Pacific gray whale call and blow rates estimated from acoustic recordings, infrared camera video, and visual sightings

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:Guazzo, Weller, Europe, D’Spain
Journal:Scientific Reports
Date Published:Jan-12-2019

During the eastern North Pacific gray whale 2014–2015 southbound migration, acoustic call recordings, infrared blow detections, and visual sightings were combined to estimate cue rates, needed to convert detections into abundance. The gray whale acoustic call rate ranged from 2.3–24 calls/whale/day during the peak of the southbound migration with an average of 7.5 calls/whale/day over both the southbound and northbound migrations. The average daily calling rate increased between 30 December–13 February. With a call rate model, we estimated that 4,340 gray whales migrated south before visual observations began on 30 December, which is 2,829 more gray whales than used in the visual estimate, and would add approximately 10% to the abundance estimate. We suggest that visual observers increase their survey effort to all of December to document gray whale presence. The infrared camera blow rate averaged 49 blows/whale/hour over 5–8 January. Probability of detection of a whale blow by the infrared camera was the same at night as during the day. However, probability of detection decreased beyond 2.1 km offshore, whereas visual sightings revealed consistent whale densities up to 3 km offshore. We suggest that future infrared camera surveys use multiple cameras optimised for different ranges offshore.

Short Title:Sci Rep
BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith