Describing spatial and temporal occurrence patterns of wild animal populations is important for understanding their evolutionary trajectories, population connectivity, and ecological niche specialization, with relevance for effective management. Throughout the world, blue whales produce stereotyped songs that enable identification of separate acoustic populations. We harnessed continuous acoustic recordings from five hydrophones deployed in the South Taranaki Bight (STB) region of Aotearoa New Zealand from January 2016 to February 2018. We examined hourly presence of songs from three different blue whale populations to investigate their contrasting ecological use of New Zealand waters. The New Zealand song was detected year-round with a seasonal cycle in intensity (peak February–July), demonstrating the importance of the region to the New Zealand population as both a foraging ground and potential breeding area. The Antarctic song was present in two distinct peaks each year (June–July; September–October) and predominantly at the offshore recording locations, suggesting northbound and southbound migration between feeding and wintering grounds. The Australian song was only detected during a 10-day period in January 2017, implying a rare vagrant occurrence. We therefore infer that the STB region is the primary niche of the New Zealand population, a migratory corridor for the Antarctic population, and outside the typical range of the Australian population.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 104 • No. 1