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Kelp gulls attack Southern right whales: a conservation concern?


Fazio, A and Bertellotti, M and Villanueva, C, Kelp gulls attack Southern right whales: a conservation concern?, Marine Biology, 159, (9) pp. 1981-1990. ISSN 0025-3162 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00227-012-1985-7


Kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) feed on pieces of skin and blubber they rip from Southern right whales’ (Eubalaena australis) backs in their breeding areas at Península Valdés, Argentina, producing injuries. This behavior has increased since the first record in 1972, and some authors have suggested that constant gull harassment could have a negative effect on right whale population. The main goal of this study is to assess the variables that most affect the gull attacks. We analyzed 5359 whale-watching sightings made during trips from Puerto Pirámides (42º34′S, 64º16′W) along the whale breeding seasons (June–December) 2005 to 2007. The most important factors affecting the attacks include the presence of a mother–calf pair, the time within the season, the distance to the coast and the wind velocity. There is also concern of possible transmission of infectious diseases in the attacks since increasing number of whales with different patterns of skin lesions have been observed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern right whale, kelp gull, conservation, Patagonia
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Geomatic engineering
Research Field:Photogrammetry and remote sensing
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Villanueva, C (Dr Cecilia Villanueva)
ID Code:111635
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2016-09-27
Last Modified:2018-03-17

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