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

Evans, K., Thresher, R., Warneke, R., Bradshaw, Corey J. A., Pook, M., Thiele, D. and Hindell, Mark A. (2005). Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events. Biology Letters,1(2):147-150.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 35 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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IRMA ID A00003xPUB60
Title Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events
Author Evans, K.
Thresher, R.
Warneke, R.
Bradshaw, Corey J. A.
Pook, M.
Thiele, D.
Hindell, Mark A.
Journal Name Biology Letters
Publication Date 2005
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1744-9561   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-25444522684
Start Page 147
End Page 150
Total Pages 4
Place of Publication England
Publisher The Royal Society of Chemistry
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract 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.
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