Baleen Whale distribution and seasonal occurrence Revealed by an ocean bottom seismometer network in The Western Indian Ocean

Abstract : From the acoustic data acquired by the RHUM-RUM (Réunion Hotspot and Upper Mantle Réunions Unterer Mantel) Ocean Bottom Seismometer (OBS) network between October 2012 and November 2013, this study revealed baleen whale occurrence in the western Indian Ocean (IO). Low-frequency songs from three species (Antarctic Blue Whales, Pygmy Blue Whales and Fin Whales) as well as P-calls (or Spot-calls) from an unknown species were recorded on the dataset. The wide arrangement of the OBS network (2000 km × 2000 km) provided valuable information to draw seasonal patterns of occurrence and distribution all over the area. These species occurred sympatrically in the western IO, at least during austral autumn months emphasizing the importance of this region for these populations. This data set helped to refine the knowledge on their spatio-temporal distribution and complete the picture built by previous studies. A tighter sub-network of 8 OBSs deployed on the South West Indian Ridge provided ideal inter-sensor spacing for whale tracking. We demonstrated the capability of such array of detecting and tracking the three different whale species up to 50 km and for several hours. As a result and to understand the effect of acoustic wave propagation, songs from the tracking were described at a close and remote distance of the sensor. This work could also help to understand the local behavior of these species during austral autumn months in this area of the western Indian Ocean.
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http://hal.univ-reunion.fr/hal-01780315
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 8:01:13 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 4, 2019 - 3:10:45 AM

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Richard Dréo, Léa Bouffaut, Emmanuelle Leroy, Guilhem Barruol, Flore Samaran. Baleen Whale distribution and seasonal occurrence Revealed by an ocean bottom seismometer network in The Western Indian Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Elsevier, 2019, 161, pp.132-144. ⟨10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.04.005⟩. ⟨hal-01780315⟩

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