Foraging activity of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) off the east coast of New Zealand

TitleForaging activity of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) off the east coast of New Zealand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGiorli, Giacomo, and Goetz Kimberly T.
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Pagination12182
ISBN Number2045-2322
EndNote Rec Number12905
Abstract

The occurrence and distribution of sperm whales in New Zealand waters is mainly known from whaling records or opportunistic sightings by the public and a systematic estimation of the abundance and distribution has never been conducted. In this study, we investigated the foraging activity and occurrence of sperm whales off the Eastern coast of New Zealand using passive acoustic monitoring techniques. Three acoustic recorders were moored to the ocean floor at different locations on the east side of the North and South Island to collect passive acoustic data from June 2016 until August 2017. A total of 53,823 echolocation click trains were recorded and analyzed to understand the spatial and temporal variation of sperm whale foraging activity. No difference in the foraging activity was found between night-time and day-time periods at any of the locations. Click train detections increased toward the south, suggesting increased foraging activity near Kaikoura. At each station, sperm whale foraging activity varied by month.