Spatial Use by Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, and Short-beaked Common Dolphins Satellite Tagged off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 2014
Baird, R.W., D.L. Webster, Z. Swaim, H.J. Foley, D.B. Anderson, and A.J. Read. 2015. Spatial Use by Cuvier’s Beaked Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Common Bottlenose Dolphins, and Short-beaked Common Dolphins Satellite Tagged off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 2014. Prepared for U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Submitted to Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, under Contract No. N62470-10-3011, Task Orders 14 and 21, issued to HDR Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia. 17 July 2015.
The purpose of this report is to summarize information obtained through the remote deployment of Low-Impact Minimally-Percutaneous External-electronics Transmitter (LIMPET) satellite tags on odontocete cetaceans off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 2014. This study was undertaken to provide information on spatial use and diving behavior of a number of species of odontocetes, with particular emphasis on Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) and short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus).
The present work was intended to complement ongoing research by Duke University off Cape Hatteras (herein referred to as the Duke program) by providing information on the movement and diving behavior of these species over the medium term (weeks to months). The Duke program is focusing on shorter-term dive behavior (i.e., hours to days) using Digital Acoustic Tags and longer-term movements (i.e., months to years) using photo-identification (photo-ID) techniques (Swaim et al. 2014). The photo-ID work has demonstrated a surprisingly high degree of re-sightings, in particular, of short-finned pilot whales, suggesting some degree of residency in the Cape Hatteras Study Area. Attempts were made in the field to obtain digital images of all tagged animals to ensure that linkages could be drawn between the photo-ID and satellite tagging work. Photographic matches of tagged animals and their associates are presented in the annual report of the Duke program (Foley et al. 2015).