Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whales fall through the research net: Global populations of marine mammals observed far too little

Date:
September 17, 2012
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
A world map reveals that only a fourth of the world ocean surface has been surveyed for whales and dolphins in the past decades. It is only possible to identify detrimental influences and collect basic information for research and environmental protection if data on marine organisms is collected regularly. First and foremost, it will be necessary to observe international waters more closely and develop new analytical methods, conclude the scientists.

There are enormous gaps on the world map of whale observation, especially in international waters. Only the areas shaded dark blue have been surveyed several times in the past decades.
Credit: Image courtesy of Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

A world map created by scientists of the universities of Freiburg and St. Andrews, Scotland, reveals that only a fourth of the world ocean surface has been surveyed for whales and dolphins in the past decades. It is only possible to identify detrimental influences and collect basic information for research and environmental protection if data on marine organisms is collected regularly. First and foremost, it will be necessary to observe international waters more closely and develop new analytical methods, conclude the scientists in their study in the journal PLoS ONE.

The team combed through more than 400 studies on whales conducted between 1975 and 2005 for their study. The scientists digitalized thousands of maps, and in doing so identified alarming gaps. They determined that most of the extensive observations have taken place in the waters of economically strong nations in the northern hemisphere, particularly those of the USA and Europe. With the exception of the Antarctic waters, where the International Whaling Commission is monitoring the reduction of the Minke Whale population by Japanese whalers, there are enormous areas in the southern hemisphere in which whale populations have not been surveyed at all in the past decades..

The researchers ascertained that the main reason for observing whales is the market for "dolphin-friendly" tuna, whose production requires ensuring that no dolphins are killed by incidental capture. "The eastern tropical Pacific has thus been studied more often than all other marine areas put together," says the Freiburg marine biologist Dr. Kristin Kaschner. But even these relatively well researched areas lie on the lower end of the scale with regard to the necessary observation frequency. In order to track temporal changes, Kaschner explains, it is important to observe the populations of marine mammals as regularly as possible. "This is currently only the case for six percent of the surface of all oceans," says Kaschner.

However, a sufficient pool of data on the populations of whales and dolphins is a precondition for successful research and effective protection of marine mammals. They were decimated by whaling in the past and are still threatened today by military sonar systems, bycatch, and water pollution. The scientists argue that international efforts to maintain biodiversity should lead to the development new approaches to data collection. Particularly important is the question as to what effect sound sources like sonar systems or seismic exploration of potential oil or gas reserves have on whales. "Gaps in data have an impact on all aspects of marine biology and planning, from fishery policy to marine protected areas," says Kaschner. "The data we have on sharks, deep-sea creatures, and marine viruses is even patchier."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristin Kaschner, Nicola J. Quick, Rebecca Jewell, Rob Williams, Catriona M. Harris. Global Coverage of Cetacean Line-Transect Surveys: Status Quo, Data Gaps and Future Challenges. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (9): e44075 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044075

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Whales fall through the research net: Global populations of marine mammals observed far too little." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917085533.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2012, September 17). Whales fall through the research net: Global populations of marine mammals observed far too little. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917085533.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Whales fall through the research net: Global populations of marine mammals observed far too little." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917085533.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) — Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins