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Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events


Evans, K and Thresher, R and Warneke, RM and Bradshaw, CJA and Pook, M and Thiele, D and Hindell, MA, Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events, Biology Letters, 1, (2) pp. 147-150. ISSN 1744-9561 (2005) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0313


Cetacean strandings elicit much community and scientific interest, but few quantitative analyses have successfully identified environmental correlates to these phenomena. Data spanning 1920-2002, involving a total of 639 stranding events and 39 taxa groups from southeast Australia, were found to demonstrate a clear 11-13- year periodicity in the number of events through time. These data positively correlated with the regional persistence of both zonal (westerly) and meridional (southerly) winds, reflecting general long-term and large-scale shifts in sea-level pressure gradients. Periods of persistent zonal and meridional winds result in colder and presumably nutrient-rich waters being driven closer to southern Australia, resulting in increased biological activity in the water column during the spring months. These observations suggest that large-scale climatic events provide a powerful distal influence on the propensity for whales to strand in this region. These patterns provide a powerful quantitative framework for testing hypotheses regarding environmental links to strandings and provide managers with a potential predictive tool to prepare for years of peak stranding activity. © 2005 The Royal Society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Climate variability (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Evans, K (Dr Karen Evans)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:34655
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:89
Deposited By:TAFI - Zoology
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2011-09-27

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