New publication: Avila, I.C., C.F. Dormann, C. García, L. F. Payán & M. X. Zorrilla. 2019. Humpbacks extend their stay in a breeding ground in the Tropical Eastern Pacific. ICES Journal of Marine Science, fsz251, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsz251.
Abstract: During the austral winter, G-stock humpback whales, *Megaptera novaeangliae*, migrate to the Tropical Eastern Pacific to breed. To analyse if the whale migration times have changed over time, we analysed 31 years (1988–2018) of arrival and departure times to Gorgona National Park, Colombia, an important breeding site. During this period, whales have significantly changed their arrival time, coming now earlier, but their departure time has not changed significantly. Hence, humpback whales now stay 1 month longer than 31 years ago. Humpbacks arrived in Gorgona at the earliest during the beginning of May and stayed at the most until late December. The change observed in the arrival time to breeding grounds could be related to ice sheet mass changes in autumn in Antarctica and increase in population size over the past decades but we were unable to determine which factor is more important in explaining the observed trend. Management decisions in Colombia need to account for a longer stay, specifically restricting anthropogenic activities from 1May to 31December. We urge other researchers to review their data, in case this shift is evident in other regions and management plans need to be updated.
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