Ken Norris always maintained an active interest in seasonal abundance and distribution of large whales, which included his own radio-tagging experiments with gray whales. He was an enormous source of encouragement to me (BRM) from my earliest VHF tagging experiences in late 70s to satellite-monitored tagging of blue whales reported here. He was always excited to hear new information and eager to offer his interpretations. Ken was a life-long student with an inquiring mind. His energy, humor, enthusiasm, creativity, and giving nature will be missed by all who received these “gifts” from him.
MOVEMENTS OF NORTH PACIFIC BLUE WHALES DURING THE FEEDING SEASON OFF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND THEIR SOUTHERN FALL MIGRATION1
Article first published online: 26 AUG 2006
Marine Mammal Science
Volume 15, Issue 4, pages 1246–1257, October 1999
How to Cite
Mate, B. R., Lagerquist, B. A. and Calambokidis, J. (1999), MOVEMENTS OF NORTH PACIFIC BLUE WHALES DURING THE FEEDING SEASON OFF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND THEIR SOUTHERN FALL MIGRATION. Marine Mammal Science, 15: 1246–1257. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.1999.tb00888.x
- Issue published online: 26 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 26 AUG 2006
- Received: 6 April 1999 Accepted: 19 May 1999
- blue whale;
- Balaenoptera musculus;
- satellite telemetry;
The satellite-acquired locations of 10 blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) tagged off southern California with Argos radio tags were used to identify (1) their movements during the late summer feeding season; (2) the routes and rate of travel for individuals on their southern fall migration; and (3) a possible winter calving/breeding area. Whales were tracked from 5.1 to 78.1 d and from 393 to 8,668 km. While in the Southern California Bight, most of the locations for individual whales were either clumped or zigzagged in pattern, suggesting feeding or foraging (searching for prey).
Average speeds ranged from 2.4 to 7.2 km/h. One whale moved north to Cape Mendocino, and four migrated south along the Baja California, Mexico coast, two passing south of Cabo San Lucas on the same day. One of the latter whales traveled an additional 2,959 km south in 30.5 d to within 450 km of the Costa Rican Dome (CRD), an upwelling feature. The timing of this migration suggests the CRD may be a calving/breeding area for North Pacific blue whales. Although blue whales have previously been sighted in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP), this is the first evidence that whales from the feeding aggregation off California range that far south. The productivity of the CRD may allow blue whales to feed during their winter calving/breeding season, unlike gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) and humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) which fast during that period.