Phillip J. Clapham's research while affiliated with Cook Islands Whale Research Center and other places

Publications (189)

Article
Context. Previous research has shown the presence of an endangered humpback whale population breeding off the Pacific coast of Central America. However, little is known about the density, size, social-group structure and spatial habitat use of this subpopulation. Aim. The study goal was to characterise a potential breeding subpopulation of humpback...
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Global warming is affecting the population dynamics and trophic interactions across a wide range of ecosystems and habitats. Translating these real-time effects into their long-term consequences remains a challenge. The rapid and extreme warming period that occurred after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition (7–...
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Agonistic competitive social behaviour in humpback whales [ Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)] has been extensively studied and reported in previous research. However, non-agonistic social behaviour in humpback whale pods has not been systematically studied. We investigated the social behaviour of 3,949 humpback whale pods over a period of 14...
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Documenting marine mammal strandings provides important information needed to understand the occurrence and distribution patterns of species. Here, we report on strandings of cetaceans on the Pacific ( n = 11) and Caribbean ( n = 2) coasts of Nicaragua, documented opportunistically from 2014 to 2021. Strandings included three species of baleen whal...
Article
Introduction: The yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus, formerly Pelamis platurus) is known to occur along the Pacific coast of Central America. However, there are no marine records of this species off the coast of Nicaragua. Objective: Report the first in situ marine observations of the yellow-bellied sea snake observed on three occasions...
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Introduction: The yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus, formerly Pelamis platurus) is known to occur along the Pacific coast of Central America. However, there are no marine records of this species off the coast of Nicaragua. Objective: Report the first in situ marine observations of the yellow-bellied sea snake observed on three occasions...
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The recovery of whale populations from centuries of exploitation will have important management and ecological implications due to greater exposure to anthropogenic activities and increasing prey consumption. Here, a Bayesian population model integrates catch data, estimates of abundance, and information on genetics and biology to assess the recove...
Preprint
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The demography of baleen whales and their prey during the past 30 thousand years was assessed to understand the effects of past rapid global warming on marine ecosystems. Mitochondrial and genome-wide DNA sequence variation in eight baleen whale and seven prey species revealed strong, ocean-wide demographic changes that were correlated with changes...
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Little is known about the winter distribution of the Critically Endangered eastern population of North Pacific right whale Eubalaena japonica (NPRW), but it has been proposed that the eastern Aleutian Islands, specifically Unimak Pass, constitute a plausible migratory route for individuals. This is a major point of concern given the high shipping t...
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Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) congregate to breed during the austral winter near tropical islands of the South Pacific (Oceania). It has long been assumed that humpback whales from Oceania migrate primarily to Antarctic feeding grounds directly south (International Whaling Commission Management Areas V and VI); however, there are few rec...
Article
Obtaining direct measurements to characterise ecosystem function can be hindered by remote or inaccessible regions. Next-generation satellite tags that inform increasingly sophisticated movement models, and the min-iaturisation of animal-borne loggers, have enabled the use of animals as tools to collect habitat data in remote environments, such as...
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North Atlantic humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, migrate from summer feeding grounds across the temperate and high latitudes to breeding grounds in the West Indies each winter. Humpbacks over-wintering near the Antillean islands comprise one of the most intensely studied populations of large whales in the world. Since scientific research beg...
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The conservation and protection of marine megafauna require robust knowledge of where and when animals are located. Yet, our ability to predict animal distributions in space and time remains limited due to difficulties associated with studying elusive animals with large home ranges. The widespread deployment of satellite telemetry technology create...
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To effectively protect and manage marine mammals, contemporary information on their abundance and distribution is essential. Several factors influence present-day insight including the accessibility of the study area and the degree of difficulty in locating and studying target species. The offshore waters of the Gulf of Alaska are important habitat...
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Falsification of reports on Japanese catches of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) is known to have occurred at both land whaling stations and in North Pacific factory fleets. Here, we conduct an analysis of pelagic sperm whale catches in the Southern Hemisphere: we compare true Soviet length data from the Yuri Dolgorukiy factory fleet during 19...
Conference Paper
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Satellite transmitters were attached to seven southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) in their breeding grounds in Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés, Argentina, to monitor their movements and migration towards feeding destinations. Fifteen integrated transdermal implanted tags were deployed in juvenile and adult whales. Tag duration varied between...
Article
Japanese whalers are back in the Southern Ocean, aiming to kill 333 minke whales — ostensibly for the purposes of scientific research — under special permits issued by their government. In our view, the science behind Japan’s whaling activity has not passed a reasonable standard of peer review. We are members of the International Whaling Commission...
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Full list of co-signatories to a Correspondence published inhttp://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v529/n7586/extref/529283a-s1.pdf
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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 o...
Article
The Bering Sea is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world and an important habitat for various marine mammal species. Once abundant in this region, most baleen whale species were severely depleted by commercial whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Since their protection in mid-20th century, baleen whale populations have b...
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Understanding habitat use of critically endangered North Pacific right whales (NPRWs, Eubalaena japonica) is important to better evaluate the potential effects of anthropogenic activities and climate change on this species. Satellite transmitters were deployed on individual right whales in 2004, 2008 and 2009 to investigate whether their space-use...
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The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch sta...
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Late 19th century technological advances for capturing whales, when combined with the expansion of processing capabilities in the early 20th century, created an industry that could catch and quickly render virtually any whale in any ocean. Here, using the current International Whaling Commission (IWC) database and other sources, we provide the firs...
Article
Since 1987, Japan has conducted extensive special permit whaling (“scientific whaling”) in the Antarctic and North Pacific. This has been viewed by many as a way to circumvent the International Whaling Commission׳s (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling, which was implemented in 1985. Recently, Australia took Japan to the International Court of Jus...
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quite plausible) intrinsic rates of increase for each popu-lation. In the modeling scenarios, the demand for immi-grants would eventually exceed the supply and exhaust the source population, but the simulations demonstrated that high increase rates can be sustained over periods of more than 20 years. This hypothesis, if correct, would not only expl...
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From 1948 to 1979, the USSR conducted extensive illegal whaling worldwide. Data from the North Pacific (NP) were analyzed to correct falsified International Whaling Commission catch records and to investigate the distribution of sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus (NP catch = 157 680). Information was available on the distribution of 123 264 sperm...
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The social structure of humpback whales in their tropical wintering grounds is very fluid. To date, no information has been published for cases in which two whales were both satellite-tagged while in association. Here, we report the movements of four humpback whale pairs tagged together off the coast of Brazil. Fieldwork and satellite tagging of hu...
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Humpback whales utilize waters off the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea as foraging grounds during summer months. Currently, the fine-scale movements of humpback whales within these feeding grounds are poorly understood. In the summers of 2007 to 2011, 8 humpback whales were tracked with satellite tags deployed near Unalaska Bay. Individuals were tr...
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Blubber lipid concentrations of 14 organochlorine compounds (OCCs) and 10 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) were measured by gas chromatography with electron-capture detection (GC-ECD) in eastern North Atlantic humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae from Cape Verde (n = 20) and Ireland (n = 4). Concentrations were statistically compared to those from...
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We quantified the relative influence of maternal fidelity to feeding grounds and natal fidelity to breeding grounds on the population structure of humpback whales Megaptera novae -angliae based on an ocean-wide survey of mitochondrial (mt) DNA diversity in the North Pacific. For 2193 biopsy samples collected from whales in 10 feeding regions and 8...
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North Atlantic humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)) migrate from high-latitude summer feeding grounds to low-latitude winter breeding grounds along the Antillean Island chain. In the winters and springs of 2008 through 2012, satellite tags were deployed on humpback whales on Silver Bank (Dominican Republic) and in Guadeloupe (F...
Article
As part of the Bering Sea Project, cetacean surveys were conducted to describe distribution and estimate abundance on the eastern Bering Sea shelf. Three marine mammal observers conducted visual surveys along transect lines sampled during the Alaska Fisheries Science Center walleye pollock assessment survey in June and July of 2008 and 2010. Distri...
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Due to the seriously endangered status of North Pacific right whales Eubalaena japonica, an improved understanding of the environmental factors that influence the species' distribution and occurrence is needed to better assess the effects of climate change and industrial activities on the population. Associations among right whales, zooplankton, an...
Conference Paper
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Satellite telemetry has greatly improved understanding of large whale ecology and conservation. However, long-term attachments are typically invasive and systematic studies of their impacts have been limited. Additionally, satellite tag duration has been highly variable and shorter than battery capacity. The exact causes of tag failure are poorly u...
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The USSR conducted a global campaign of illegal whaling beginning in 1948. Catch records for Soviet pelagic operations in the Southern Hemisphere (and the northern Indian Ocean) have been largely corrected, but major gaps have remained for the North Pacific. Here, using newly discovered whaling industry reports, corrected figures for Soviet catches...
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Both bowhead Balaena mysticetus and North Pacific (NP) right whales Eubalaena japonica were reduced to low levels by historical whaling. Despite their protected status, it is known that the USSR illegally killed both species in the NP and Okhotsk Sea (OS). Here, we provide revised Soviet catch totals, as well as other new information on the distrib...
Article
The Bering Sea is an important area for many cetaceans. It functions as both summer feeding grounds for some species like humpback and right whales, and wintering grounds for more northern species such as bowhead and beluga whales. Passive acoustics is an important tool for monitoring the presence of these and other species in the Bering Sea, altho...
Article
The National Marine Mammal Laboratory has been collecting passive acoustic recordings of vocalizing marine mammals through much of the southeastern Bering Sea since 2000. The present analysis combines these recordings with those obtained in 2007 from a North Pacific Research Board-funded study (Stafford and Mellinger) to determine the long-term spa...
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Genetic analysis of 49 biopsy samples from North Pacific right whales Eubalaena japonica in the eastern (48) and western (1) North Pacific revealed 24 individual whales with 7 mitochondrial haplotypes. Three pairs of large and small individuals were identified in the field; genotype analysis indicated that 2 of these could represent mother-offsprin...
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Estimating the abundance of long-lived, migratory animals is challenging but essential for managing populations. We provide the first abundance estimates of endangered humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae from their breeding grounds in Oceania, South Pacific. Using fluke photo-identification (1999−2004, n = 660 individuals) and microsatellite gen...
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Estimating the abundance of long-lived, migratory animals is challenging but essential for managing populations. We provide the first abundance estimates of endangered humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae from their breeding grounds in Oceania, South Pacific. Using fluke photo-identification (1999−2004, n = 660 individuals) and microsatellite gen...
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Discovery mark tagging provided the first evidence of linkages between eastern Australian and Oceania Humpback whale breeding grounds and the Antarctic Area V feeding areas. Early investigation of movements of humpback whales in the Western Pacific led to the view that the Balleny Islands and the Ross Sea were the summer destinations for humpback w...
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Determining how vertebrates navigate during their long-distance migrations remains one of the most enduring and fundamental challenges of behavioral ecology. It is widely accepted that spatial orientation relative to a reference datum is a fundamental requirement of long-distance return migration between seasonal habitats, and a variety of viable p...
Article
The North Pacific right whale, (NPRW), is one of the most endangered baleen whales in the world and has been the focus of intensive population monitoring studies. In 2010 during transit through the Bering Sea right whale critical habitat (BSCH), near-24-h acoustic monitoring was conducted using DiFAR-capable sonobuoys. A new call pattern was detect...
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We investigated the characteristics and composition of 4,506 humpback whale pods observed in Hervey Bay between 1992 and 2005. We use these data to analyze and model the variability of pod size and composition, and to assess the importance of Hervey Bay for particular classes of humpback whales. Pods ranged in size from one to nine individuals. Pai...