The use of underwater viewing deck of the semi-submersible whalewatching vessel Yellow Submarine at Península Valdés, Argentina as a platform of opportunity for scientifc research with the southern right whale, Eubalaena australis

Mariano Sironi, Lucía Alzugaray, Agustina Saez, Florencia Ornela Vilches, Alejandro Fernández Ajó, Paula Faiferman

Abstract


Whale-watching vessels can be used as platforms to collect scientific data on the natural history of cetaceans. Vessels with underwater viewing decks are exceptional and offer a unique view of the whales. We assessed the underwater viewing platform of the semi-submersible vessel Yellow Submarine that operates off Puerto Pirámides, Península Valdés, Argentina as a platform of opportunity for southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) research. The variables considered during observations included, among others, the age class and sex of the animals observed, behavioral patterns, opportunities for individual photo-identification, distance and duration of the underwater observations and how weather conditions affected data collection. The Yellow Submarine offers a unique platform to make underwater observations of southern right whales in this calving ground. The main limitations are the relatively short duration of the observations and reduced visibility in spring.


Keywords


Whale watching; Southern right whale; Behavior; Underwater research platform; Península Valdés; Argentina

Full Text:

PDF

References


Argüelles, M.B., Coscarella, M., Fazio, A. and Bertellotti, M. (2016). Impact of whale-watching on the short-term behavior of Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) in Patagonia, Argentina. Tourism Management Perspectives 18: 118–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2016.02.002

Bejder. L. (2005). Linking short and long-term effects of nature-based tourism on cetaceans. Ph.D. dissertation. Dalhousie University. Halifax, Canada. 158pp. Available in: https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/54676/NR00948.PDF?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Best, P.B. (1994). Seasonality of reproduction and the length of gestation in southern right whales Eubalaena australis. Journal of Zoology, London 232: 175-189. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1994.tb01567.x

Carlson, C., Kaufman, G., Ritter, F., Rodriguez-Fonseca, J., Robbins, J., Rose, N., Vinding Petersen, K. and Weinrich, M. (2016). Guiding principles for data collection from whalewatching vessels as platforms of opportunity. Document SC66b/WW3. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee. Available in: https://archive.iwc.int/?r=5953

Christiansen, F., Rasmussen M. H. and Lusseau D. (2014). Inferring energy expenditure from respiration rates in minke whales to measure the effects of whale watching boat interactions. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 459: 96–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2014.05.014

Coscarella, M., Dans, S., Crespo, E. and Pedraza, S. (2003). Potential impact of unregulated dolphin watching activities in Patagonia. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 5(1): 77–84. Available in: https://archive.iwc.int/?r=250

Fazio, A., Argüelles, M.B. and Bertellotti, M. (2016). Spatial and temporal dynamics of whale watching in Península Valdés, Patagonia, Argentina. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 15: 69–76. Available in: https://archive.iwc.int/?r=5745&k=a1f26ca0a6

Hoffmeyer, M.S., Lindner M.S., Carribero A., Fulco K., Menéndez, M.C., Fernández Severini, M.D., Diodato, S.L., Berasategui, A.A., Biancalana, F. and Berrier E. (2010). Planktonic food and foraging of Eubalaena australis, on Península Valdés (Argentina) nursery ground. Revista de Biología Marina y Oceanografía 45: 131–139. Available in: http://www.redalyc.org/html/479/47915589013/

Hunt, K.E., Moore, M.J., Rolland, R.M., Kellar, N.M., Hall, A.J., Kershaw, J., Raverty, S.A., Davis, C.E., Yeates, L.C., Fauquier, D.A., Rowles, T.K. and Kraus, S.D. (2013). Overcoming the challenges of studying conservation physiology in large whales: a review of available methods. Conservation Physiology 1: 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/cot006

Payne, R., Brazier, O., Dorsey, E.M., Perkins, J.S., Rowntree, V.J. and Titus, A. (1983). External features in southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, and their use in identifying individuals. Pages 371-445 in Payne, R. (Ed) Communication and behavior of whales. AAAS Selected Symposium 76, Westview Press, Inc., Boulder, CO.

Payne, R. (1986). Long term behavioral studies of the southern right whale, Eubalaena australis. Reports of the International Whaling Commission (Special Issue) 10: 161-167. Available in: http://www.icb.org.ar/descargas/Long%20term%20behavioral%20studies%20of%20the%20southern%20right%20whale%20(Eubalaena%20australis).pdf

Peters, K.J., Parra, G.J., Skuza, P.P. and Möller, L.M. (2013). First insights into the effects of swim-with-dolphin tourism on the behavior, response, and group structure of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins. Marine Mammal Science 29: 484–497. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12003

Rivarola, M., Campagna, C. and Tagliorette, A. (2001). Demand-driven commercial whalewatching in Península Valdés (Patagonia): conservation implications for right whales. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management (Special Issue) 2: 145-151. Available in: https://archive.iwc.int/?r=278&k=2718c7a44f

Robbins, J. (2000). A review of scientific contributions from commercial whale watching platforms. Document SC52/WW9. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee.

Robbins, J. and Mattila, D.K. (2000). The use of commercial whale watching platforms in the study of cetaceans: benefits and limitations. Document SC52/WW8. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee.

Sironi, M. (2004). Behavior and social development of juvenile southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) and interspecific interactions at Península Valdés, Argentina. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Wisconsin. Madison, WI, USA. 198pp. Available in: http://www.icb.org.ar/descargas/BEHAVIOR%20AND%20SOCIAL%20DEVELOPMENT%20OF%20JUVENILE%20SOUTHERN.pdf

Sironi, M., Schteinbarg, R., Losano, P. and Carlson, C. (2005). Sustainable whale watching at Península Valdés, Argentina: An assessment by owners and captains of local whale watch companies. Document SC57/WW2. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee. Available in: http://www.icb.org.ar/descargas/Sustainable%20ww%20at%20Peninsula%20Valde%20An%20assessment%20by%20owners%20and%20captains%20of%20local%20ww%20companies%202005.pdf

Sironi, M., Leske, N., Rivera, S., Taboada, D. and Schteinbarg, R. (2009). New regulations for sustainable whalewatching at Peninsula Valdes, Argentina. Document SC61/WW10. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee. Available in: http://www.icb.org.ar/descargas/New%20regulations%20for%20sustainable%20whalewatching%20at%20_2009.pdf

Tagliorette, A., Janeiro, C., Fernández Ajó, A., Harris, G., Bandieri, L. and Giese, C. (2008). Monitoreo de avistaje de ballenas embarcado y costero en Puerto Pirámides y El Doradillo, Chubut. Proyecto “Consolidación e Implementación del Plan de Manejo de la Zona Costera Patagónica para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad”, Fundación Patagonia Natural. ARG/02/G31 GEF– PNUD, Chubut, Argentina. 60 pp. Available in: http://www.patagonianatural.org/publicaciones/archivos/informes-tecnicos/item/1125-pmzcp-2-informe-tecnico-n-16

Vinding, K., Christiansen, M. and Rose, N. (2014). Data collection from commercial whale watching vessels: The need for international guidelines and systematic quality control. Document SC65b/WW07. International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee. Available in: https://archive.iwc.int/?r=4832&k=498a169336

Williams, R. (2003). Cetacean studies using platforms of opportunity. Ph.D. dissertation. University of St Andrews. Scotland, UK.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5597/00242

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.

Comments on this article

View all comments




footer_lajam_eb_540_540