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Photo-identification confirms that humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) from eastern Australia migrate past New Zealand but indicates low levels of interchange with breeding grounds of Oceania
The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management
  • Wally Franklin, Southern Cross University
  • Trish Franklin, Southern Cross University
  • Nadine Gibbs
  • Simon Childerhouse, University of Otago
  • Claire Garrigue
  • Rochelle Constantine, University of Auckland
  • Lyndon O Brooks, Southern Cross University
  • Daniel Burns, Southern Cross University
  • David Paton, Southern Cross University
  • Michael Poole
  • Nan Hauser, Southern Cross University
  • Michael Donoghue
  • Kirsty Russell, University of Auckland
  • David K Mattila
  • Jooke Robbins
  • Meagan Anderson, Southern Cross University
  • Carlos Olavarria, University of Auckland
  • Jennifer Jackson, University of Auckland
  • Michael Noad, University of Queensland
  • Peter Lynton Harrison, Southern Cross University
  • Peter R Baverstock, Southern Cross University
  • Russell Leaper
  • Scott Baker, Oregon State University
  • Phil Clapham
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-2014
Peer Reviewed
Peer-Reviewed
Abstract
Recent photo-identification and genetic studies have identified at least five discrete breeding populations in Australia and Oceania: western Australia (D), eastern Australia (E (i)), New Caledonia (E (ii)), Tonga (E (iii)), French Polynesia and the Cook Islands (F). Also evident are low levels of intermingling among breeding populations consistent with the degree of genetic differentiation. Photo-identification has confirmed linkages between Area V feeding areas and eastern Australia breeding grounds and one genotype match has been reported between Area V feeding areas and Oceania breeding grounds. Recent abundance estimates show strong increases in the eastern Australian population, and some recovery in the New Caledonia and Tonga populations, but with little evidence of recovery at other known Oceania breeding grounds or New Zealand. Studies to date have provided no conclusive evidence of the migratory destination of humpback whales passing through New Zealand waters en route between Antarctic feeding areas and tropical breeding grounds. Photo-identification comparisons were undertaken between humpback whale fluke catalogues from eastern Australia (EA, 1315), Oceania east (OE, 513), Oceania west (OW, 166) and New Zealand (NZ, 13). Five matches were found between OE/OW, four matches between OW/EA and three matches between NZ/EA. The data are used to investigate and discuss the migratory destination and breeding ground migratory interchange of humpback whales travelling through New Zealand waters. The data confirm that humpback whales with site fidelity to eastern Australia migrate past New Zealand including through the Cook Strait and Foveaux Strait.
Citation Information

Franklin, W, Franklin, T, Gibbs, N, Childerhouse, S, Garrigue, C, Constantine, R, Brooks, L, Burns, D, Paton, D, Poole, M, Hauser, N, Donoghue, M, Russell, K, Mattila, DK, Robbins, J, Anderson, M, Olavarria, C, Jackson, J, Noad, M, Harrison, P, Baverstock, P, Leaper, R, Baker, S & Clapham, P 2014, 'Photo-identification confirms that humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) from eastern Australia migrate past New Zealand but indicates low levels of interchange with breeding grounds of Oceania', The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, vol. 14, pp. 133-140.