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      Movements of satellite-monitored humpback whales on their feeding ground along the Antarctic Peninsula

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          Southern Hemisphere humpback whales wintering off Central America: insights from water temperature into the longest mammalian migration.

          We report on a wintering area off the Pacific coast of Central America for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrating from feeding areas off Antarctica. We document seven individuals, including a mother/calf pair, that made this migration (approx. 8300km), the longest movement undertaken by any mammal. Whales were observed as far north as 11 degrees N off Costa Rica, in an area also used by a boreal population during the opposite winter season, resulting in unique spatial overlap between Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations. The occurrence of such a northerly wintering area is coincident with the development of an equatorial tongue of cold water in the eastern South Pacific, a pattern that is repeated in the eastern South Atlantic. A survey of location and water temperature at the wintering areas worldwide indicates that they are found in warm waters (21.1-28.3 degrees C), irrespective of latitude. We contend that while availability of suitable reproductive habitat in the wintering areas is important at the fine scale, water temperature influences whale distribution at the basin scale. Calf development in warm water may lead to larger adult size and increased reproductive success, a strategy that supports the energy conservation hypothesis as a reason for migration.
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            Identification of sex in cetaceans by multiplexing with three ZFX and ZFY specific primers.

            We sequenced 540 nucleotides of the last exon in the ZFY/ZFX gene in two males and two females for eight cetacean species; four odontocetes (toothed whales) and four mysticetes (baleen whales). Based upon the obtained nucleotide sequences, we designed two sets of oligonucleotide primers for specific amplification of the ZFX and the ZFY sequence in odontocetes and mysticetes, respectively. Each primer set consisted of three oligonucleotides; one forward-orientated primer, which anneals to the ZFY as well as the ZFX sequence, and two reverse-orientated primers that anneal to either the ZFX or or the ZFY sequence. The resulting two amplification products (specific for the ZFY and ZFX sequences) can be distinguished by gel-electrophoresis through 2% NuSieve(TM). The accuracy of the technique was tested by determination of gender in 214 individuals of known sex. Finally we applied the technique to determine the sex of 3570 cetacean specimens; 2284 humpback whales, 315 fin whales, 37 blue whales, 7 minke whales, as well as 592 belugas, 335 narwhals and 25 harbour porpoises.
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              Spatial distribution, habitat utilization, and social interactions of humpback whales,Megaptera novaeangliae, off Hawai'i, determined using acoustic and visual techniques

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Polar Biology
                Polar Biol
                Springer Nature
                0722-4060
                1432-2056
                June 2008
                February 2008
                : 31
                : 7
                : 771-781
                Article
                10.1007/s00300-008-0415-2
                © 2008
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