Data from: Satellite tracking reveals novel migratory patterns and the importance of seamounts for endangered South Pacific humpback whales
Garrigue, Claire; Clapham, Phillip J.; Kennedy, Amy S.; Zerbini, Alexandre N. (2015), Data from: Satellite tracking reveals novel migratory patterns and the importance of seamounts for endangered South Pacific humpback whales, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hh205
The humpback whale population of New Caledonia appears to display a novel migratory pattern characterized by multiple directions, long migratory paths and frequent pauses over seamounts and other shallow geographical features. Using satellite-monitored radio tags, we tracked 34 whales for between 5 and 110 days, travelling between 270 and 8540 km on their southward migration from a breeding ground in southern New Caledonia. Mean migration speed was 3.53±2.22 km h−1, while movements within the breeding ground averaged 2.01±1.63 km h−1. The tag data demonstrate that seamounts play an important role as offshore habitats for this species. Whales displayed an intensive use of oceanic seamounts both in the breeding season and on migration. Seamounts probably serve multiple and important roles as breeding locations, resting areas, navigational landmarks or even supplemental feeding grounds for this species, which can be viewed as a transient component of the seamount communities. Satellite telemetry suggests that seamounts represent an overlooked cryptic habitat for the species. The frequent use by humpback whales of such remote locations has important implications for conservation and management.