Body shape changes associated with reproductive status, nutritive condition and growth in right whales Eubalaena glacialis and E. australis
Miller, Carolyn A.
Best, Peter B.
Perryman, Wayne L.
Baumgartner, Mark F.
Moore, Michael J.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordRight whale; Body shape; Body condition; Aerial photogrammetry; Reproduction; Energetics; Eubalaena
Mammalian reproduction is metabolically regulated; therefore, the endangered status and high variability in reproduction of North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis necessitate accurate assessments at sea of the nutritional condition of living individuals. Aerial photogrammetry was used to measure dorsal body width at multiple locations along the bodies of free-swimming right whales at different stages of the female reproductive cycle (E. glacialis) and during the initial months of lactation (mother and calf Eubalaena australis) to quantify changes in nutritional condition during energetically demanding events. Principal components analyses indicated that body width was most variable at 60% of the body length from the snout. Thoracic, abdominal and caudal body width of E. australis thinned significantly during the initial months of lactation, especially at 60% of body length from the snout, while their calves’ widths and width-to-length ratios increased. The body shape of E. glacialis that had been lactating for 8 mo was significantly thinner than non-lactating, non-pregnant E. glacialis. Body shape of E. glacialis measured in the eighth month of lactation was significantly thinner than that of E. australis in the first month, but did not differ from that of E. australis in the third and fourth months. Body width was comparable with diameter calculated from girth of carcasses. These results indicate that mother right whales rely on endogenous nutrient reserves to support the considerable energy expenditure during the initial months of lactation; therefore, photogrammetric measurements of body width, particularly at 60% of body length from the snout, are an effective way to quantitatively and remotely assess nutritional condition of living right whales.
Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 459 (2012): 135-156, doi:10.3354/meps09675.
Suggested CitationArticle: Miller, Carolyn A., Best, Peter B., Perryman, Wayne L., Baumgartner, Mark F., Moore, Michael J., "Body shape changes associated with reproductive status, nutritive condition and growth in right whales Eubalaena glacialis and E. australis", Marine Ecology Progress Series 459 (2012): 135-156, DOI:10.3354/meps09675, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/5296
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Blubber thickness in right whales Eubalaena glacialis and Eubalaena australis related with reproduction, life history status and prey abundance Miller, Carolyn A.; Reeb, Desray; Best, Peter B.; Knowlton, Amy R.; Brown, Moira W.; Moore, Michael J. (Inter-Research, 2011-10-05)The high variability in reproductive performance of North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis compared to southern right whales Eubalaena australis may reflect differences in lipid reserves. Amplitude-mode ultrasound ...
Parks, Susan E. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2003-09)The focus of this thesis is the use of sound for communication by the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). The surface active group (SAG) is the predominant social interaction in this species for which use ...
Klanjscek, Tin; Nisbet, Roger M.; Caswell, Hal; Neubert, Michael G. (Ecological Society of America, 2007-12)We present a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model for marine mammals, coupled with a pharmacokinetic model of a lipophilic persistent toxicant. Inputs to the model are energy availability and lipid-normalized toxicant ...