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,


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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