Dear MARMAM readers,

We have published a new paper in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Crowdsourcing Modern and Historical Data Identifies Sperm Whale (Physeter 
macrocephalus) Habitat Offshore of South-Western Australia
Authors: Christopher M. Johnson, Lynnath E. Beckley, Halina Kobryn, Genevieve 
E. Johnson, Iain Kerr and Roger Payne

The distribution and use of pelagic habitat by sperm whales (Physeter 
macrocephalus) is poorly understood in the south-eastern Indian Ocean off 
Western Australia. However, a variety of data are available via online portals 
where records of historical expeditions, commercial whaling operations, and 
modern scientific research voyages can now be accessed. Crowdsourcing these 
online data allows collation of presence-only information of animals and 
provides a valuable tool to help augment areas of low research effort. Four 
data sources were examined, the primary one being the Voyage of the Odyssey 
expedition, a 5-year global study of sperm whales and ocean pollution. From 
December 2001 to May 2002, acoustic surveys were conducted along 5200 nautical 
miles of transects off Western Australia including the Perth Canyon and 
historical whaling grounds off Albany; 60 tissue biopsy samples were also 
collected. To augment areas not surveyed by the RV Odyssey, historical Yankee 
whaling data (1712–1920), commercial whaling data (1904–1999), and citizen 
science reports of sperm whale sightings (1990–2003) were used. Using Maxent, a 
species distribution modeling tool, we found that the submarine canyons off 
Albany and Perth provide important habitat for sperm whales. Current 
technology, along with current understanding of sperm whale bioacoustics and 
habitat preferences, provides strong motivation for undertaking long-term 
passive acoustic studies that can monitor the sperm whale population within 
Australia's EEZ waters (Perth and Albany canyons) as a way of informing future 
marine management and policy decisions.

Any questions, feel free to contact me anytime. Sincerely, Chris

Chris Johnson
Manager, Ocean Sciences
60 Leicester St. Level 3, Carlton, Victoria 3053 AUSTRALIA
t: +61 437 226 011 | t:  +61 3 9016 7553
skype: chris.earthocean | tw: @earthocean | linkedin:

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