Movements and habitat use of Cuvier's and Blainville's beaked whales in Hawai‘i: results from satellite tagging in 2009/2010

Citation

Baird, R.W., G.S. Schorr, D.L. Webster, D.J. McSweeney, M.B. Hanson and R.D. Andrews. 2010. Movements and habitat use of Cuvier's and Blainville's beaked whales in Hawai‘i: results from satellite tagging in 2009/2010. Report prepared under Order No. AB133F09SE4843 from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, CA.

Abstract

To assess movements and habitat use of beaked whales in Hawai‘i, satellite tags were remotely-deployed on two adult female Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and one adult female Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) between October 2009 and April 2010. All three individuals were photo-identified, but only one (a Cuvier’s) had been previously documented off the island and was known to be part of the resident population. Location data for the Cuvier’s beaked whales were received for 7.2 and 25.5 days, and location data for the Blainville’s beaked whale were received for 20.5 days. All three individuals remained associated with the island of Hawai‘i for the duration of tag attachments. Median water depth and distance from shore for the locations of the Blainville’s beaked whale were 1,098 m and 23.2 km, respectively. Median water depths and distances from shore for the locations of the two Cuvier’s beaked whales were 2,389 m and 14.4 km, and 1,970 m and 10.7 km. The shallower depths yet greater distances from shore for the Blainville’s beaked whale were due to that individual spending its time off the northwest part of the island, where shallower water extends further from shore. Movements of the Blainville’s beaked whale were restricted to the waters off the west and north side of the island, similar to earlier tagging results for this species that suggest the island-associated population rarely utilizes waters off the windward side of the island. One of the tags deployed on a Cuvier’s beaked whale also recorded and transmitted information on dive depth (72 hours total). This is the first satellite-dive tag deployed on a beaked whale, and it more than doubled the sample size of dive data available for Cuvier’s beaked whales in Hawai‘i. As was found previously for two Cuvier’s beaked whales tagged with time-depth recorders, long (maximum 86.9 min) and deep (maximum 1,752 m) dives were recorded both during the day and night, although there were diel differences in use of the water column.

Download PDF

Associated projects