background image

They Cluster in Time and Space

Despite the general belief that the marine environment is a flat and homogenous area a growing number of studies have shown, that marine mammals are not evenly distributed but rather favour and concentrate in certain areas. Determining the distribution, abundance and patterns of habitat use within the populations range is an important aspect to investigate any cetacean species.

To Be Where the Food Concentration is Greatest

Within the study area, the whales’ prey, fish and krill, is generally concentrated in areas of strong currents, upwellings, and rip tides. In addition, unique topographic and oceanographic features create various  microhabitats where the occurrence, density and availability of prey constantly shift in space and time. Minke whales in general and individuals specifically respond to these ever changing predominant conditions constantly adjusting at a spatial, temporal and behavioural scale.

Minke whales also show high intra- and inter-annual variability in spatial and temporal distribution over many years (Graphs 1-3).

The heterogeneity in habitat use, spatial and temporal distribution and even behavioural specialization as documented in several long-term studies of ORES will help to improve abundance estimations and distributions patterns in other areas and must be taken into account when managing populations or protected areas.