Robert Brownell

Robert Brownell
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | NOAA · Southwest Fisheries Science Center

About

326
Publications
72,784
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7,267
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 1993 - present
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (326)
Article
1. Demographic parameters were estimated for southern right whales (SRWs), Eubalaena australis, using photo-identification (photo-ID) and count data collected during annual cliff-based surveys at the Head of the Great Australian Bight (HoB), South Australia between 1991 and 2016. Photo-ID and count data were contributed from the annual aerial surve...
Article
Full-text available
On 20 July 2020, the partial skeletal of a gray whale was found on the coast near the mouth of Notoro Lagoon in Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan, facing the southern Okhotsk Sea (44.105° N, 144.175° E). This is the first confirmed stranding of a gray whale on the Hokkaido coast of the Okhotsk Sea. The recovered bones were a posterior part of skull, the ri...
Article
Recent findings that some gray whales that feed off Sakhalin Island (SI), Russia, in the western North Pacific (WNP) overwinter in the eastern North Pacific (ENP) indicate that population structure in this species is more complex than originally thought. We generated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences and microsatellite genotypes (n...
Article
The phylogeny and systematics of fur seals and sea lions (Otariidae) have long been studied with diverse data types, including an increasing amount of molecular data. However, only a few phylogenetic relationships have reached acceptance because of strong gene-tree species tree discordance. Divergence times estimates in the group also vary largely...
Article
Full-text available
Speciation is a fundamental process in evolution and crucial to the formation of biodiversity. It is a continuous and complex process, which can involve multiple interacting barriers leading to heterogeneous genomic landscapes with various peaks of divergence among populations. In this study, we used a population genomics approach to gain insights...
Preprint
Full-text available
A bstract The phylogeny and systematics of fur seals and sea lions (Otariidae) have long been studied with diverse data types, including an increasing amount of molecular data. However, only a few phylogenetic relationships have reached acceptance pointing at strong gene-tree species tree discordance. Divergence times in the group also vary largely...
Article
Full-text available
Background The vaquita of Mexico is critically endangered, with a population less than 19 individuals in 2018. The population continues to decline and gillnet use continues in vaquita habitat. Methods Nine vaquita carcases were examined from 2016 to 2018 to establish cause of death. Concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDTs and poly...
Article
Full-text available
Mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS), used for antisubmarine warfare (ASW), has been associated with multiple beaked whale (BW) mass stranding events. Multinational naval ASW exercises have used MFAS offshore of the Mariana Archipelago semi-annually since 2006. We report BW and MFAS acoustic activity near the islands of Saipan and Tinian from March 20...
Chapter
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The South Asian River dolphin (Platanista gangetica) consists of two subspecies, the Indus (Platanista gangetica minor) River dolphin endemic to the Indus River system primarily in Pakistan and the Ganges (Platanista gangetica gangetica) River dolphins which occurs only in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli-Sangu River systems of India, Banglad...
Article
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The conservation status of small cetaceans has significantly worsened since the 1980s, when the baiji was the only species of small cetacean listed as Endangered by IUCN. Now the baiji is almost certainly extinct and 13 other species, subspecies, or populations (hereafter units-to-conserve or units) of small cetaceans are listed as Critically Endan...
Article
Full-text available
The Gulf of California, Mexico is home to many cetacean species, including a presumed resident population of fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus. Past studies reported very low levels of genetic diversity among Gulf of California fin whales and a significant level of genetic differentiation from con-specifics in the eastern North Pacific. The aim of...
Article
Three subspecies of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) are currently recognized, including the northern fin whale (B. p. physalus), the southern fin whale (B. p. quoyi), and the pygmy fin whale (B. p. patachonica). The Northern Hemisphere subspecies encompasses fin whales in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. A recent analysis of 154...
Article
Full-text available
1. South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis australis) are widely distributed, yet surprisingly little is known about their ecology. In particular, population data are sparse and outdated for many breeding locations, including the Falkland Islands. Data deficiency impedes the development of coherent conservation and management strategies....
Article
Southern right whales (SRW), Eubalaena australis, have reoccupied historically important winter habitat ranges (calving grounds) in recent years along the southern Australian coast. Here we present findings of increased abundance of SRW at Fowlers Bay, South Australia, a previous shore‐based whaling station. This study investigates: SRW inter‐ and...
Article
Full-text available
When the Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was first described in 2003, it was known from only three locations: the southern Sea of Japan, and the vicinities of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Solomon Islands. Work over the following decade suggested a range limited to the eastern Indo-Pacific, but more recent discoveries in the western Indian Oc...
Article
• Seasonal trends in the distribution and relative abundance of southern right whales (SRWs) Eubalaena australis, were assessed in Australia's largest calving aggregation ground at the Head of the Great Australian Bight, in the Commonwealth Marine Reserve, South Australia. Annual cliff‐based surveys were undertaken between June and October from 199...
Article
Evolutionary relationships among cetaceans within the family Delphinidae have been difficult to resolve due to the high number of species and their relatively rapid radiation. This is the case for the dolphin species currently placed in the genus Lagenorhynchus, and their relations to Cephalorhynchus and Lissodelphis species. Phylogenetic relations...
Article
Full-text available
Mass stranding events (MSEs) of beaked whales (BWs) were extremely rare prior to the 1960s but increased markedly after the development of naval mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS). The temporal and spatial associations between atypical BW MSEs and naval exercises were first observed in the Canary Islands, Spain, in the mid-1980s. Further research on...
Article
Full-text available
The vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is Mexico’s only endemic, and the world’s most endangered marine mammal. With a population of fewer than 30 individuals (Thomas et al. 2017; IUCN 2018), any delay in taking needed conservation actions will result in its extinction. A recent article (Manjarrez-Bringas et al. 2018) re-asserts, without providing a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The systematics and phylogeny of Otariidae have been extensively studied for over two centuries. Yet, several relationships, in particular, the monophyly within Arctocephalus, remain unclear. Recent molecular phylogenies only used few concatenated mitochondrial or nuclear genes. Here we reconstructed the Otariidae phylogeny based on whole-genome se...
Article
Steroid hormone assessment using non-invasive sample collection techniques can reveal the reproductive status of aquatic mammals and the physiological mechanisms by which they respond to changes in their environment. A portion of the eastern North Pacific blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) population that seasonally visits the Gulf of California, M...
Research
Full-text available
Statement regarding the inadequacy of Japan's latest scientific whaling programs.
Article
Obtaining the representative morphological data required for traditional taxonomy is difficult, and sometimes impossible, for cetaceans, especially large ones. As a result, three quarters of the 88 currently recognized extant species have no subspecies and 40 taxa likely have additional unnamed taxa. Conservation needs give urgency to improving tax...
Article
Full-text available
As awareness of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals has grown, research has broadened from evaluating physiological responses, including injury and mortality, to considering effects on behavior and acoustic communication. Most mitigation efforts attempt to minimize injury by enabling animals to move away as noise levels are increas...
Article
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The Bay of Bengal is one of the most productive ecosystems in the northern Indian Ocean and it harbours a rich community of cetaceans, including Indo-Pacific bottlenose (Tursiops aduncus) and humpback (Sousa spp.) dolphins. The taxonomy of these genera has been controversial, but within the Indian Ocean both seem to be divided into phylogenetically...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has identified the need to produce a Strategic Plan describing its activities intended to reduce the threat of ship strikes with cetaceans in the near and distant future. This document provides the necessary background, information and recommendations to help the IWC develop approaches and solutions by 202...
Article
Full-text available
R. Stone's In Depth News story “Dambuilding threatens Mekong fisheries” (2 December, p. [1084][1]) explains why the scores of dams planned for the Mekong River are likely to have major impacts on eight of the world's largest freshwater fishes, all of which are already at risk of extinction.
Article
Full-text available
Human activities are creating conservation challenges for cetaceans. Spatially explicit risk assessments can be used to address these challenges, but require species distribution data, which are limited for many cetacean species. This study explores methods to overcome this limitation. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are used as a case study be...
Data
Cumulative resightings of Chilean blue whales off Isla de Chiloé from 2004–2011. (PDF)
Data
Summary of top identifiable Pradel models explored in MARK for Chilean blue whales. (DOCX)
Data
Right side mark resights of Chilean blue whales from Isla de Chiloé 2005–2012. (INP)
Data
Summary of Chilean blue whale sightings, sightings per unit effort (SPUE) and photo-identification after photo-quality control. (DOCX)
Data
Summary of Chilean blue whale results from U-CARE tests of goodness-of-fit between the left and right side datasets and various Cormack-Jolly-Seber models. (DOCX)
Data
Chilean blue whale abundance estimates from closed mark-recapture models calculated in CAPTURE for 2004/5-2012. (DOCX)
Data
Left side mark resights of Chilean blue whales from Isla de Chiloé 2004–2012. (INP)
Data
Summary of top p/ϕ-identifiable POPAN models explored in MARK for Chilean blue whales. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
Since 1970, blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) have been seen feeding in the waters off southern Chile during the summer and autumn (December to May). Investigation of the genetic, acoustic and morphological characteristics of these blue whales shows that they are a distinct but unnamed subspecies, called the Chilean blue whales. Photo-identificat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The South American fur seals (SAFS) have a disjunct distribution that encompasses at least two evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) along the South America, the Peruvian and Uruguayan ESUs. The precise data on spatial limits of this species is unknown, mainly in the southernmost colonies in the continent. The influence of limiting factors on its...
Article
Full-text available
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has identified the need to produce a Strategic Plan describing the direction of activities intended to reduce the threat of ship strikes with cetaceans in the near and distant future. The purpose of this document is to provide the IWC with a plan focusing on vessel-large whale collisions. Here, we: 1) Defi...
Article
Full-text available
Correlations between morphological and genetic data provide evidence to delineate species or evolutionarily significant units, which then become the units to conserve in management plans. Here, we examine the distribution and genetic differentiation of two morphotypes of short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in the Pacific Ocean. Mi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A population assessment of the Sakhalin feeding aggregation of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) was conducted using photo-identification data collected on their summer feeding ground off Sakhalin Island from 1994 to 2015, fitted to an individually-based population model. The model is structured by age, sex and reproductive status, and annual tra...
Article
Full-text available
Blue whales in the Northern Indian Ocean are a morphologically and acoustically distinct population restricted to these waters. Off Sri Lanka a portion of the population concentrates near shore where they are exposed to a range of anthropogenic threats. We review available data to determine anthropogenic threats/stressors faced by this population a...
Article
Full-text available
No global synthesis of the status of baleen whales has been published since the 2008 IUCN Red List assessments. Many populations remain at low numbers from historical commercial whaling, which had ceased for all but a few by 1989. Fishing gear entanglement and ship strikes are the most severe current threats. The acute and long-term effects of anth...
Article
Full-text available
A orca-pigmeia (Feresa attenuata) era conhecida por poucos registros há não mais que 60 anos atrás, mas, apesar do número de registros ter crescido recentemente em todos os oceanos tropicais, F. attenuata é ainda considerada uma espécie pouco estudada. No Brasil, mesmo em base a um pequeno número de registros, presume-se sua distribuição como pelág...
Research
Full-text available
Two pygmy blue whales were struck and killed in Sri Lankan waters within a 12-day period in early 2012. The first was found draped on the bow of a container ship in Colombo Harbour on 20 March 2012 and following its disposal 25 km offshore, washed up on a beach 10 km south two days later. The second whale was found floating dead at sea by one of us...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Historicamente a sistemática e a taxonomia do gênero do Arctocephalus tem sido tema de discussão, especialmente no caso de Arctocephalus australis. Com base em medidas cranianas King (1954) sugeriu a existência de três subespécies de A. australis: A. australis australis, A. australis gracilis e A. australis galapagoensis com localidades tipo as Ilh...