Ken Findlay

Ken Findlay
Cape Peninsula University of Technology | CPUT · Department of Conservation and Marine Sciences

PhD

About

97
Publications
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Publications

Publications (97)
Conference Paper
The world’s oceans are negatively impacted by humans, resulting in continual threats to ocean ecosystem health. South African oceans are no exception and with the need for economic growth in the country, pressures on ocean resources are increasing. In this study we aimed to determine the trends between 2003 and 2013 of 14 individual stressors, and...
Article
Full-text available
Antarctic blue and fin whales were once abundant in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean, yet their occurrence and ecology in this region is still poorly understood. Seasonal acoustic occurrence and behaviour of Antarctic blue and fin whales off the South African west coast were determined using bio-acoustic data collected through two autonomous acousti...
Article
Ocean decision-makers are tasked with balancing social, economic, and environmental considerations when addressing complex policy challenges and achieving strategic objectives, such as conservation targets, or sustainable and ocean-based economic development agendas. Like many common environmental assets, oceans have been impacted by a history of i...
Article
Large groups of animals aggregate around resource hotspots, with group size often influenced by the heterogeneity of the environment. In most cases, the foraging success of individuals within groups is interdependent, scaling either constructively or destructively with group size. Here we used biologging tags, acoustic prey mapping, passive acousti...
Article
Full-text available
Seasonal feeding behaviour of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) has been observed in the coastal waters of the Southern Benguela where the species has been observed forming super-groups during the austral spring in recent years since 2011. Super-groups are unprecedented densely-packed aggregations of between 20 and 200 individuals in low-lat...
Article
The Antarctic blue whale Balaenoptera musculus intermedia was hunted to near extinction in the twentieth century. Current data on the abundance and distribution of the species are lacking owing to the difficulty and expense of surveys under adverse weather conditions in open-ocean habitats, and to the small population size. The most recently accept...
Article
Animals are distributed relative to the resources they rely upon, often scaling in abundance relative to available resources. Yet, in heterogeneously distributed environments, describing resource availability at relevant spatial scales remains a challenge in ecology, inhibiting understanding of predator distribution and foraging decisions. We inves...
Article
Full-text available
Since 2001, hundreds of thousands of hours of underwater acoustic recordings have been made throughout the Southern Ocean south of 60° S. Detailed analysis of the occurrence of marine mammal sounds in these circumpolar recordings could provide novel insights into their ecology, but manual inspection of the entirety of all recordings would be prohib...
Conference Paper
Algoa Bay, South Africa has a diverse array of marine top-predators, including Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea), long-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus capensis), Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera brydei), southern right whale (Eubalaena australis), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), A...
Chapter
Worldwide, nations and regions are increasingly advancing their oceans or blue economies to expand their economic growth and food and energy security through the growth of established marine sectors, the expansion of historically terrestrial sectors into the marine space, or as emergent sector technologies advance marine resource accessibility. Suc...
Article
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are important for the preservation of ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity around the world. In South Africa, the role of MPAs in the protection of cetaceans is poorly understood, a knowledge gap that may affect management decisions and future cetacean conservation. Here, we used prese...
Preprint
Full-text available
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) carried out blue whale research within its annual austral summer Southern Ocean Whale and Ecosystem Research (SOWER) cruises between 1996 and 2010. Over 700 sonobuoys were deployed to record blue whale vocalisations during 11 Antarctic and three low latitude blue whale cruises off Australia, Madagascar and...
Technical Report
Full-text available
South African coastline surveys conducted since 1972 reveal fluctuations and a recent reversal in a long-running increasing trend in regional abundance of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis, hereafter SRWs), whose populations have been recovering from historic whaling. Furthermore, the surveys reveal that the typical three-year calving cycl...
Article
Passive acoustic monitoring was used to detect the sounds of rarely sighted Antarctic blue and fin whales to investigate their seasonal occurrence (as presence or absence of whale calls) and behaviour (as determined from call rates) in the Benguela ecosystem. Data were collected using autonomous acoustic recorders deployed on oceanographic moorings...
Article
Full-text available
North Atlantic right whales (NARW), Eubalaena glacialis, were nearly exterminated by historical whaling. Their abundance slowly increased up until 2010, to a maximum of fewer than 500 whales, and since then they have been in decline. We assessed the extent to which the relatively slow increase demonstrated by NARW was intrinsic, and how much could...
Article
Understanding how dispersal and gene flow link geographically separated the populations over evolutionary history is challenging, particularly in migratory marine species. In southern right whales (SRWs, Eubalaena australis), patterns of genetic diversity are likely influenced by the glacial climate cycle and recent history of whaling. Here we use...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Report of the 2017 South African southern right whale aerial survey
Technical Report
Full-text available
This paper extends the analyses of Brandão et al. (2013) which applied the three-mature-stages (receptive, calving and resting) model of Cooke et al. (2003) to photo-identification data available from 1979 to 2012 for southern right whales in South African waters, by taking five further years of data into account. The lower counts of calving female...
Conference Paper
South Africa has 2800 km of coast line which provides important ecological and economic services to the country. With increasingly innovative technologies being applied to resource identification and use within the regional oceans economy, ocean health is fast declining. This coupled with Operation Phakisa which is a recent South African Government...
Presentation
South Africa has 2800 km of coast line which provides important ecological and economic services to the country. With increasingly innovative technologies being applied to resource identification and use within the regional oceans economy, ocean health is fast declining. This coupled with Operation Phakisa which is a recent South African Government...
Article
Full-text available
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Sousa plumbea. 2017
Article
A central paradigm of aquatic locomotion is that cetaceans use fluke strokes to power their swimming while relying on lift and torque generated by the flippers to perform maneuvers such as rolls, pitch changes and turns [1] . Compared to other cetaceans, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have disproportionately large flippers with added stru...
Article
Full-text available
The description of genetic population structure over a species’ geographic range can provide insights into its evolutionary history and also support effective management efforts. Assessments for globally distributed species are rare, however, requiring significant international coordination and collaboration. The global distribution of demographica...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The 2016/17 Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE), conducted by the newly-created Swiss Polar Institute, took place from 20 December 2016 – 19 March 2017, aboard the Russian icebreaker RV Akademik Treshnikov. Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division conducted acoustic monitoring for marine mammals during Legs 2 and 3 of the ACE voyag...
Article
Full-text available
Southern Hemisphere humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) generally undertake annual migrations from polar summer feeding grounds to winter calving and nursery grounds in subtropical and tropical coastal waters. Evidence for such migrations arises from seasonality of historic whaling catches by latitude, Discovery and natural mark returns, and r...
Data
Dedicated and incidental sightings of “super-groups” of humpback whales reported in this study. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Harvested to perilously low numbers by commercial whaling during the past century, the large scale response of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia to environmental variability is poorly understood. This study uses acoustic data collected from 586 sonobuoys deployed in the austral summers of 1997 through 2009, south of 38˚S, coupl...
Article
Full-text available
Elucidating patterns of population structure for species with complex life histories, and disentangling the processes driving such patterns, remains a significant analytical challenge. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations display complex genetic structures that have not been fully resolved at all spatial scales. We generated a data s...
Conference Paper
South Africa has 2800 km of coast line which provides important ecological and economic services. Increasingly innovative technologies are being applied to resource identification and use within the regional oceans economy resulting in decreasing ocean health. Operation Phakisa is a recent SA Government initiative to unlock the oceans economic pote...
Article
Daily charts of the aerial search effort (432 206 nautical miles) of the Union Whaling Company and 1 099 sightings of 10 497 whales were available from 628 flights off Durban between 1972 and 1975. Densities of whales were analysed by month and water depth distribution over the four-year period. Low observed densities of blue Balaenoptera musculus,...
Article
Full-text available
Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) are obligate shallow-water dolphins that occur exclusively in the near-shore waters of the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to the Bay of Bengal. They have a narrow habitat preference, restricted distribution and do not appear very abundant across any part of their range. There is no estimate of total s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A dedicated dual-vessel cetacean survey cruise targeted humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off the west coast of South Africa between 28 October 2014 and 8 November 2014. The overarching objective of the cruise was the determination of the distribution of whales between Dassen Island (33° 25' 34.32" S, 18° 5' 20.04" E) and Groenriviermond (30...
Article
Full-text available
A clear understanding of population structure is essential for assessing conservation status and implementing management strategies. A small, non-migratory population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an assessment constrained by a lack of data, including limited understa...
Chapter
Full-text available
Marine mammals, and in particular Antarctic blue whales, represent an important predator component of marine ecosystems. These mammals are considered to be critically endangered due to unsustainable whaling practices in the previous century. Currently, it is also difficult to monitor the species’ population recovery through the use of sighting surv...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Antarctic krill is an essential component of the Southern Ocean ecosystem, forming an integral part of the prey assemblages of numerous marine mammals and seabirds. Hydro-acoustic technology is an effective method for assessing the diurnal and seasonal abundance, distribution and behaviour of planktonic organisms in hostile environments like the So...
Conference Paper
Antarctic blue whales are one of the endangered large baleen whales recovering from the extensive whaling pressure experienced in the 20th century. Blue whales are very vocal marine mammals capable of producing powerful sounds that can travel from a hundred to thousand or so kilometers, and these sounds can be used to estimate the relative abundanc...
Article
Full-text available
The South African Blue Whale Project is aimed at estimating the relative abundance, distribution and seasonal movements of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) within the South Eastern Atlantic Ocean. As part of the project, we applied for, and received, the International Whaling Commission's International Decade of Cetacean Res...
Article
Full-text available
The South African Antarctic Blue Whale Project proposed two major research objectives during the 2013/2014 South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) 53 cruise to Queen Maud Land coastal region on the SA Agulhas II. An Autonomous Acoustic Recorder (AAR) mooring deployment was carried out on the Maud Rise at 65°00S; 002°30’E in water depths...
Article
Full-text available
Growing to 30 m long and weighing up to 163 tonnes, Antarctic blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus intermedia, are the largest animal that ever lived on the planet; yet despite their enormous size, they feed on small Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Blue whales are not easily seen at sea as their numbers are severely reduced, however, they are gr...
Article
Full-text available
Both historic whaling data and recent field research confirm the presence of a resident sub-population of humpback whales in the western Arabian Sea (Breeding Stock X). This endangered population is geographically, demographically and genetically isolated and is thought to have been greatly reduced in size by Soviet whaling in 1966; it likely remai...
Article
Full-text available
South Africa has a long track record in Southern Ocean and Antarctic research and has recently invested considerable funds in acquiring new infrastructure for ongoing support of this research. This infrastructure includes a new base at Marion Island and a purpose-built ice capable research vessel, which greatly expand research opportunities. Despit...
Article
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The Southern Ocean Research Partnership (SORP) is an international research program initiated within the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2009 to promote collaborative cetacean research, develop nov el research techniques, and conduct non-lethal research on whales in the Southern Ocean (CHILDERHOUSE 2009). One of the original research proj...
Article
Full-text available
Cetacean research, in terms of the number of papers, and areas for which data are available, has expanded considerably in the southern African subregion in the past decade, especially in the South-West Indian Ocean. We review cetacean research within this subregion from the 1800s to the present to provide an overview of findings, investigate trends...
Article
Full-text available
Shore-based surveys of migrating humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae were undertaken from Cape Vidal, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, each year between 1988 and 1991, and in 2002. Daily observations of migrating whale groups were carried out from an approx. 60 m-high platform during all surveys. Whale groups were tracked by position-fixing...
Article
Full-text available
The presence and movement of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins Tursiops aduncus were investigated using shore-based observations made during a humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae migration survey at Cape Vidal, South Africa, undertaken between June and October 1988–1991. Occurrence was analysed as counts of dolphin sightings per hour within a gene...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the distribution of dugongs Dugong dugon ranging across nearshore waters of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean, their distribution in the western Indian Ocean is highly fragmented and appears to be declining. The population of the Bazaruto Archipelago is believed to comprise the only viable po...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat models are tools for understanding the relationship between cetaceans and their environment, from which patterns of the animals space use can be inferred and management strate- gies developed. Can working with space use alone be sufficient for management, when habitat can- not be modeled? Here, we analyzed cetacean sightings data collected...
Article
Often abundance of rare species cannot be estimated with conventional design-based methods, so we illustrate with a population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) a spatial model-based method to estimate abundance. We analyzed data from line-transect surveys of blue whales off the coast of Chile, where the population was hunted to low levels. Fi...
Article
Full-text available
Previously published data on the occurrence of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Arabian Sea suggests that the region hosts a non-migratory population that adheres to a Northern Hemisphere breeding cycle. In order to investigate the distribution and abundance of this population, twelve small boat surveys were conducted in three main l...
Article
Full-text available
Humpback whales within the southwestern Indian Ocean undertake annual migrations from summer Antarctic/Southern Ocean feeding grounds to winter breeding grounds in the tropical and sub-tropical coastal waters of Mozambique, Madagascar and the central Mozambique Channel Islands. Little is known of the inter-relationship of humpback whales on each of...
Article
Full-text available
Twenty-eight odontocete species were identified as occupying sub-Antarctic and Antarctic habitat covered by the 1994 IWC-established Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Toothed whales evidently play an important part in the Antarctic polar ecosystem. Twenty-two species are autochthonous in showing a regular, apparently year-round, presence in the Sanctuary:...