Recent trends in temporal and geographical variation in blubber thickness of common Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata) in the Northeast Atlantic
Keywords:Northeast Atlantic, common minke whales, body condition, Northeast Arctic cod
The common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata) is a migratory species, and the summer period is generally characterized by intensive feeding and consequently seasonal fattening at high latitudes. The fat deposited is stored as energy reserves for overwintering at lower latitudes where feeding is supposed to be greatly reduced. It is therefore expected that their body condition on the summer feeding grounds will reflect foraging success during their most intensive feeding period and thus indicate how well the high latitude ecosystems can support the populations. During the commercial catch operations on feeding grounds in Norwegian waters, body condition data (blubber thickness and girth) have been collected from 13 937 common minke whales caught during the period 1993-2020. To investigate associations between body condition and area usage in minke whales, we applied three statistical approaches: regressions, canonical correlations, and spatiotemporal effect estimations. The analyses revealed a significant negative trend in blubber thickness from 1993 until 2015. After 2015, the trend was reversed, and blubber thickness values increased significantly. It has previously been suggested that there may be a link between the decreased minke whale blubber thickness and the abundance of the Northeast Arctic cod (Gadus morhua) stock which increased to a record high level between 2006 and 2013. Recruitment to the cod stock in more recent years has been low with a subsequent and continuous decrease in the total stock after 2013 to a current level which is presumably approximately 60% of the 2013 level. Interestingly, the observed common minke whale body condition was at its lowest in 2015, after which it has increased. This may support a connection between cod abundance and common minke whale body condition.
Bogstad, B., Gjøsæter, H., Haug, T. & Lindstrøm, U. (2015). A review of the battle for food in the Barents Sea: Cod vs marine mammals. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3:29. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2015.00029
Breslow, N.E. and Clayton, D.G. (1993). Approximate inference in generalized linear mixed models. Journal of the American Statistical Association 88, 9-25. https://doi.org/10.2307/2290687
Christiansen, F., Vikingsson, G.A., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. (2013). Minke whales maximize energy storage on their feeding grounds. Journal of Experimental Biology 216, 427-436. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.074518
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale.
Cunen, C., L. Walløe, L., Konishi, K. & Hjort, N.L. (2020). Decline in body condition of the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonarensis) in the Southern Ocean in the 1990s. Polar Biology 44, 259-273. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-020-02783-3
Durant, J., Skern-Mauritzen, M., Krasnov, Y.V., Nikolaeva, N.G., Lindstrøm, U., & Dolgov, A.V. (2014). Temporal dynamics of top predators interactions in the Barents Sea.: Plos One 9:11. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0110933
Falk-Petersen, S., Hopkins, C.C.E., & Sargent, J.R. (1990). Trophic relationships in the pelagic, Arctic food web. In: M. Barnes & R.N. Gibson (Eds.), Trophic relationship in the marine environment (pp 315-333). University Press, Aberdeen.
Folkow, L.P., Haug, T., Nilssen, K.T. & Nordøy, E.S. (2000). Estimated food consumption of minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata in northeast Atlantic waters in 1992-1995. NAMMCO Scientific Publications 2, 65-81. https://doi.org/10.7557/3.2972
Fukui, K., Yamamura, M., Yanagihara, H., Solvang, H., Øien, N., Haug, T. (2018). Spatiotemporal effects estimation by the fused lasso applying to the densely sampled body condition data of common minke whales in the Northeast Atlantic. Proceedings of Japanese Joint Statistical Meeting, Tokyo, 126 (in Japanese).
George, J.C., Druckenmiller, M.L., Laidre, K.T., Suydam, R. & Person, B. (2015). Bowhead whale body condition and links to summer sea ice and upwelling in the Beaufort Sea. Progress in Oceanography 136, 250-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.05.001.
Grahl-Nielsen, O., Haug, T., Lindstrøm, U., & Nilssen, K.T. (2011). Fatty acids in harp seal blubber do not necessarily reflect their diet. Marine Ecology Progress Series 426, 263-276. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09011
Gunnlaugsson, T., Vikingsson, G.A., Halldorsson, S.D., Elvarsson, B.Þ., Haug, T. & Lydersen, C. (2020). Body mass, muscle, blubber and visceral fat content and their seasonal, spatial and temporal variability in North Atlantic common minke whales. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 21, 59–70. https://doi.org/10.47536/jcrm.v21i1.150
Hastie, T. & Tibshirani, R. (1990). Generalized additive models. Monographs on statistics and applied probability, vol.43. Chapman & Hall, London.
Haug, T., Bogstad, B., Chierici, M., Gjøsæter, H., Hallfredsson, E.H., Høines, Å.S., …Sunnanå, K. (2017). Future harvest of living resources in the Arctic Ocean of the Nordic and Barents Seas: A review of possibilities and constraints. Fisheries Research 188, 38-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2016.12.002
Haug, T., Lindstrøm, U., & Nilssen, K.T. (2002). Variations in minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) diet and body condition in response to ecosystem changes in the Barents Sea. Sarsia 87, 409-422. https://doi.org/10.1080/0036482021000155715
Haug, T., Lindstrøm, U., Nilssen, K.T., Røttingen, I. & Skaug, H.J. (1996). Diet and food availability for northeast Atlantic minke whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Report of the International Whaling Commission 46, 371-382.
Horwood, J. (1990). Biology and exploitation of the minke whale. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida.
Hotteling, H. (1936). Relations between two sets of variates. Biometrika 28, 321-377. https://doi.org/10.1093/biomet/28.3-4.321
ICES (2020). Arctic Fisheries Working Group (AFWG). ICES Scientific Reports 2:52, 577 pp. http://doi.org/10.17895/ices.pub.6050
Ichii, T., Shinohara, N., Fujise, Y., Nishiwaki, S. & Matsuoka, K. (1998). Interannual changes in body fat condition index of minke whales in the Antarctic. Marine Ecology Progress Series 175, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps175001
Johannesen, E., Lindstrøm, U., Michalsen, K., Skern-Mauritzen, M., Fauchald, P., Bogstad, B., & Dolgov, A.V. (2012). Feeding in a heterogeneous environment: spatial dynamics in summer foraging Barents Sea cod. Marine Ecology Progress Series 458, 181-197. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09818
Jonsgård, Å. (1951). Studies on the little piked whale or minke whale. Norsk Hvalfangsttidende 5, 210-233.
Konishi, K., Tamura, T., Zenitani, R., Bando, T., Kato, H., & Walløe, L. (2008). Decline in energy storage in the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonarensis) in the Southern Ocean. Polar Biology 31, 1509-1520. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-008-0491-3
Lindstrøm, U. & Haug, T. (2001). Feeding strategy and prey selectivity in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) foraging in Southern Barents Sea during early summer. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 3, 239-249. Available at: https://archive.iwc.int/pages/download_progress.php?ref=246&ext=pdf&k=&alternative=1185&search=%21collection15&offset=0&archive=0&sort=DESC&order_by=relevance
Lockyer, C. (1986). Body fat condition in Northeast Atlantic fin whales, Balaenoptera physalus, and its relationship with reproduction and food resource. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 43, 142-147. https://doi.org/10.1139/f86-015
Meier, S., Falk-Petersen, S., Gade-Sørensen, L.A., Greenacre, M., Haug, T. & Lindstrøm, U. (2016). Fatty acids in common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) blubber reflect the feeding area and food selection, but also high endogenous metabolism. Marine Biology Research 12, 221-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2015.1118513
Moore, S.E., Haug, T., Vikingsson, G.A. & Stenson, G.B. (2019). Baleen whale ecology in arctic and subarctic seas in an era of rapid habitat alteration. Progress in Oceanography 176: 102118, 15 pp. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2019.05.010
Næss, A., Haug, T., & Nilssen, E.M. (1998). Seasonal variation in body condition and muscular lipid contents in northeast Atlantic minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Sarsia 83, 211-218. https://doi.org/10.1080/00364827.1998.10413682
R Core Team (2021). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL https://www.R-project.org/.
Skern-Mauritzen, M., Lindstrøm, U., Biuw, M., Elvarsson, B., Gunnlaugsson, T., Haug, T., … Víkingsson, G. (2022). Marine mammal consumption and fisheries removals in the Nordic and Barents Seas. ICES Journal of Marine Science 79, in press. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsac096
Solvang, H.K., Yanagihara, H., Øien, N., & Haug, T. (2017). Temporal and geographical variation in body condition of common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata acutorostrata) in the Northeast Atlantic. Polar Biology 40, 667-683. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-1992-0
Tibshirani, R., Saunders, M., Rosset, S., Zhu, J. & Knight, K. (2005). Sparsity and smoothness via the fused lasso. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series B 67, 91-108. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9868.2005.00490.x
Windsland, K., Lindstrøm, U., Nilssen, K.T., & Haug, T. (2007). Relative abundance and size composition of prey in the common minke whale diet in selected areas of the northeast Atlantic during 2000-04. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 9, 167-178.
Yamamura, M., Yanagihara, H., Solvang, H.K., Øien, N., & Haug, T. (2016). Canonical correlation analysis for geographical and chronological responses. Procedia Computer Science 96, 1351-1360. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2016.08.180
Yamamura, M., Yanagihara, H., Fukui, K., Solvang, H., Øien, N., and Haug, T. (2018). Estimation of spatiotemporal effects by the fused lasso for densely sampled spatial data using body condition data set from common minke whales. International Symposium on Statistical Theory and Methodology for Large Complex Data, 10-11. 16-18 Nov, Tsukuba.
Øigård, T.A., Lindstrøm, U., Haug, T., Nilssen, K.T., & Smout, S. (2013). Functional relationship between harp seal body condition and available prey in the Barents Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 484, 287-301. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10272
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Hiroko Solvang, Tore Haug, Nils Øien
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).