Habitat utilization by minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/st74cv71r

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  • Characteristics of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) habitat at the head of the Laurentian Channel in the St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada were identified by quantifying environmental and temporal habitat variables and comparing them to the presence or absence of minke whales during the summer of 1996. Identification photographs of minke whales taken during the summers of 1995 and 1996 were used to examine intra-annual and year to year habitat use by individual minke whales. Minke whales were primarily distributed between the 50 m and 100 m bathymetric contours which corresponds to the ridge of the Laurentian Channel. This region is characterized by a steep slope in bottom topography which causes predictable accumulations of euphausiids and capelin (Mal lotus villosus), the principal prey species of minke whales. Tide phase, lunar phase and time of season, all of which cause slight fluctuations in prey abundance did not appear to have a significant influence on minke whale presence or movements. Individual minke whales exhibited site tenacity in returning to a localized area both within a season and in consecutive years.
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