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      Low energy expenditure and resting behaviour of humpback whale mother-calf pairs highlights conservation importance of sheltered breeding areas

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          Abstract

          Understanding the behaviour of humpback whale mother-calf pairs and the acoustic environment on their breeding grounds is fundamental to assessing the biological and ecological requirements needed to ensure a successful migration and survival of calves. Therefore, on a breeding/resting ground, Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, we used animal-borne DTAGs to quantify the fine-scale behaviour and energetic expenditure of humpback whale mothers and calves, while sound recorders measured the acoustic environment. We show that: (i) lactating humpback whales keep their energy expenditure low by devoting a significant amount of time to rest, and their use of energy, inferred from respiration rates, is ~half than that of adults on their foraging grounds; (ii) lactating females mainly rest while stationary at shallow depths within reach of the hull of commercial ships, thus increasing the potential for ship strike collisions; (iii) the soundscape is dominated by biological sources; and (iv) even moderate increases of noise from vessels will decrease the communication range of humpback whales. Planned commercial infrastructure in Exmouth Gulf will cause a substantial increase in shipping traffic with the risk of ship strikes and acoustic disturbance potentially compromising energy reserves for the southern migration of humpback whales.

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          A digital acoustic recording tag for measuring the response of wild marine mammals to sound

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            Capital and Income Breeding as Alternative Tactics of Resource Use in Reproduction

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              Ecology. North Atlantic right whales in crisis.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                lbejder@hawaii.edu
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                25 January 2019
                25 January 2019
                2019
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0436 6763, GRID grid.1025.6, Cetacean Research Unit, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, , Murdoch University, ; Murdoch, WA Australia
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2188 0957, GRID grid.410445.0, Marine Mammal Research Program, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, , University of Hawaii at Manoa, ; Kaneohe, Hawaii United States
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0436 6763, GRID grid.1025.6, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler Institute, , Murdoch University, ; Murdoch, WA Australia
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0001 1956 2722, GRID grid.7048.b, Zoophysiology, Department of Bioscience, Faculty of Science and Technology, , Aarhus University, ; Aarhus, Denmark
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0741 5039, GRID grid.424543.0, Greenland Climate Research Centre, , Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, ; Nuuk, Greenland
                [6 ]Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
                Article
                36870
                10.1038/s41598-018-36870-7
                6347592
                30683890
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funding
                Funded by: This study was further funded by a Sir Walter Murdoch Honorary Professorship from Murdoch University, along with Carlsberg and Danish National Research Council funding to P.T.M and Carlsberg and Oticon Foundation funding to M.S
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