Occurrence, distribution and abundance of cetaceans off the western Eyre Peninsula in the Great Australian Bight

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Abstract

This study provides the first assessment of the occurrence, distribution and abundance of cetaceans in shelf and coastal waters off the western Eyre Peninsula, eastern Great Australian Bight, South Australia. We undertook aerial line transect surveys to estimate the abundance of common dolphins, and to assess the occurrence and distribution of other small and large cetaceans. Two along shore surveys were also flown to assess occurrence of endangered southern right whales in coastal waters. Five cetacean species were detected: seven southern right whales, three humpback whales, one minke whale (unknown species), 71 schools of common dolphins, and 14 schools of bottlenose dolphins. Abundance of common dolphins was estimated to be 20,000–22,000 using distance sampling methods with densities of 0.67–0.73 dolphin/km2. Comparisons of common dolphin densities off the Eyre Peninsula in the eastern GAB with other regions around the world show that shelf waters off the Eyre Peninsula represent an important habitat for common dolphins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume157-158
Early online date10 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Aerial survey
  • Biodiversity
  • Coastal waters
  • Conservation
  • Continental shelves
  • Distance sampling
  • Dolphin
  • Marine ecology
  • Whale

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