Development and assessment of a new dermal attachment for short-term tagging studies of baleen whales Baumgartner, Mark F. Hammar, Terence R. Robbins, Jooke 2015-04-28T19:16:21Z 2015-04-28T19:16:21Z 2014-12-18
dc.description © The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6 (2015): 289–297, doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12325. en_US
dc.description.abstract Current studies of fine-scale baleen whale diving and foraging behaviour rely on archival suction cup tags that remain attached over time scales of hours. However, skin irregularities can make suction cup attachment unreliable, and traditional pole deployment of suction cup tags is challenging in moderate sea conditions or when whales are evasive. We developed a new tag attachment to overcome these limitations. The attachment features a short (6·5–7·5 cm) needle that anchors in the whale's dermis (epidermis and blubber) to which a free-floating tag is attached via a severable tethered link. The needle, tag and a detachable ‘carrier rocket’ with fletching are fitted together to form a projectile that can be deployed at distances of up to 20 m using a compressed-air launcher. A corrosive release mechanism allows the tag to separate from the needle after a specified period of time so that the tag can be recovered. The dermal attachment was evaluated during a study of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Gulf of Maine and then subsequently deployed on bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) near Barrow, Alaska. Monitoring of tagged humpback whales indicated that the needle was shed several days after deployment, the attachment site healed shortly thereafter, and there were no discernible behavioural or health effects over time scales of days to months after tagging. Bowhead whales showed little immediate reaction to tagging; the most common response was a prolonged dive right after tag deployment. On average, respiration rates of tagged bowhead whales were elevated after tag attachment, but returned to the same rate as undisturbed bowheads within 1–1·5 h. When compared to suction cups, the dermal anchor provided a more reliable attachment and it can be applied from greater distances and in rougher sea conditions; it is therefore a useful alternative in circumstances where suction cup tags cannot be easily deployed. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This study was funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service (MMS; now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), through Inter-agency Agreement No. M08PG20021 with the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as part of the MMS Alaska Environmental Studies Program. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier.citation Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6 (2015): 289–297 en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1111/2041-210X.12325
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher John Wiley & Sons en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International *
dc.subject Behaviour en_US
dc.subject Bowhead whale en_US
dc.subject Foraging en_US
dc.subject Humpback whale en_US
dc.subject Mysticete en_US
dc.subject Suction cup en_US
dc.title Development and assessment of a new dermal attachment for short-term tagging studies of baleen whales en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dspace.entity.type Publication
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relation.isAuthorOfPublication.latestForDiscovery 144cb08f-d0d1-44f0-9f90-36a3e66d2a00
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