Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-plzwj Total loading time: 0.35 Render date: 2022-05-22T13:47:48.305Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

Using opportunistic photo-identifications to detect a population decline of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British and Irish waters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2013

Suzanne Beck
Affiliation:
Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Galway—Mayo Institute of Technology Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland
Andrew D. Foote
Affiliation:
Center for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Øster Volgade 5-7, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Sandra Kötter
Affiliation:
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, UK
Olivia Harries*
Affiliation:
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, UK
Laura Mandleberg
Affiliation:
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, UK
Peter T. Stevick
Affiliation:
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, UK
Pádraig Whooley
Affiliation:
Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Dereen, Rossmore, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland
John W. Durban
Affiliation:
Marine Mammal and Turtle Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: O. Harries, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, 28 Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, PA75 6NU, UK email: biodiversityofficer@hwdt.org

Abstract

An assemblage of killer whales that has been sighted in waters off the west coast of the British Isles and Ireland has previously been shown to be isolated from other North Atlantic killer whale communities based on association patterns. By applying a Bayesian formulation of the Jolly–Seber mark-recapture model to the photo-identification data compiled from opportunistic photographic encounters with this population of killer whales, we show that such sparse and opportunistically-collected data can still be valuable in estimating population dynamics of small, wide-ranging groups. Good quality photo-identification data was collected from 32 encounters over 19 years. Despite a cumulative total of 77 identifications from these encounters, just ten individuals were identified and the remaining 67 identifications were re-sights of these ten animals. There was no detected recruitment through births during the study and, as a result, the population appears to be in a slight decline. The demography of the population was highly skewed towards older individuals and had an unusually high ratio of adult males, and we suggest that demographic stochasticity due to a small population size may be further impacting the population growth rate. We recommend that this population be managed as a separate conservation unit from neighbouring killer whale populations.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Beck, S., Kuningas, S., Esteban, R. and Foote, A.D. (2012) The influence of ecology on sociality in the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Behavioral Ecology 23, 246253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brooks, S.P. and Gelman, A. (1998) General methods for monitoring convergence of iterative simulations. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 7, 434455.Google Scholar
Cañadas, A. and de Stephanis, R. (2006) Killer whale, or Orca Orcinus orca (Strait of Gibraltar subpopulation). In Reeves, R.R. and Notarbartolo di Sciara, G. (eds) The status and distribution of cetaceans in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. Malaga: IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, pp. 3438.Google Scholar
Durban, J., Ellifrit, D., Dahlheim, M., Waite, J., Matkin, C., Barrett-Lennard, L., Ellis, G., Pitman, R., LeDuc, R. and Wade, P. (2010) Photographic mark-recapture analysis of clustered mammal-eating killer whales around the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Marine Biology 157, 15911604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fearnbach, H., Durban, J.W., Parsons, K.M. and Claridge, D. (2012) Photographic mark-recapture analysis of local dynamics within an open population of dolphins. Ecological Applications 22, 16891700.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Foote, A.D., Newton, J., Piertney, S.B., Willerslev, E. and Gilbert, M.T.P. (2009) Ecological, morphological and genetic divergence of sympatric North Atlantic killer whale populations. Molecular Ecology 18, 52075217.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Foote, A.D., Similä, T., Víkingsson, G.A. and Stevick, P.T. (2010) Movement, site fidelity and connectivity in a top marine predator, the killer whale. Evolutionary Ecology 24, 803814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foote, A.D., Vilstrup, J.T., Stephanis, R. de, Verborgh, P., Abel Nielsen, S.C., Deaville, R., Kleivane, L., Martin, V., Miller, P.J.O., Øien, N., Perez-Gil, M., Rasmussen, M., Reid, R.J., Robertson, K.M., Rogan, E., Similä, T., Tejedor, M.L., Vester, H., Vikingsson, G.A., Willerslev, E., Gilbert, M.T.P. and Piertney, S.B. (2011) Genetic differentiation among North Atlantic killer whale Q4 populations. Molecular Ecology 20, 629641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ford, J.K.B. and Ellis, G.M. (1999). Transients: mammal-hunting killer whales of British Columbia, Washington, and southeastern Alaska. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Google Scholar
Ford, J.K.B., Ellis, G.M. and Balcomb, K.C. (2000). Killer whales, the natural history and genealogy of Orcinus orca in British Columbia and Washington. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Google Scholar
Ford, J.K.B., Ellis, G.M., Olesiuk, P.F. and Balcomb, K.C. (2010) Linking killer whale survival and prey abundance: food limitation in the ocean's apex predator? Biology Letters 6, 139142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gelman, A., Meng, X. and Stern, H. (1996) Posterior predictive assessment of model fitness via realized discrepancies. Statistica Sinica 6, 733759.Google Scholar
Ginsberg, J.R. and Young, T.P. (1992) Measuring association between individuals or groups in behavioural studies. Animal Behaviour 44, 377379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) (2007) Second Report by the UK under Article 17 on the implementation of the Habitats Directive from January 2001 to December 2006. Peterborough: JNCC. Available at: www.jncc.gov.uk/article17 (accessed 30 July 2013).Google Scholar
Kuningas, S., Similä, T. and Hammond, P.S. (2013) Population size, survival and reproductive rates of northern Norwegian killer whales (Orcinus orca) in 1986–2003. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93.Google Scholar
Law, R.J., Allchin, C.R., Jones, B.R., Jepson, P.D., Baker, J.R. and Spurrier, C.J.H. (1997) Metals and organochlorines in tissues of a Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) and a killer whale (Orcinus orca) stranded in the UK. Marine Pollution Bulletin 34, 208212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lunn, D.J., Thomas, A., Best, N. and Spiegelhalter, D. (2000) WinBUGS–a Bayesian modelling framework: concepts, structure and extensibility. Statistics and Computing 10, 325337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Luque, P.L., Davis, C.G., Reid, D.G., Wang, J. and Pierce, G.J. (2006) Opportunistic sightings of killer whales from Scottish pelagic trawlers fishing for mackerel and herring off North Scotland (UK) between 2000 and 2006. Aquatic Living Resources 19, 403410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matkin, C.O., Durban, J., Saulitis, E.L., Andrews, R.D., Straley, J.M., Matkin, D.R. and Ellis, G.M. (2012) Contrasting abundance and residency patterns of two sympatric populations of transient killer whales in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Fishery Bulletin (US) 110, 143155.Google Scholar
Matkin, C.O., Saulitis, E.L., Ellis, G.M., Olesiuk, P. and Rice, S.D. (2008) Ongoing population-level impacts on killer whales Orcinus orca following the ‘Exxon Valdez’ oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Marine Ecology Progress Series 356, 269281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McHugh, B., Law, R.J., Allchin, C.R., Rogan, E., Murphy, S., Foley, M.B., Glynn, D. and McGovern, E. (2007) Bioaccumulation and enantiomeric profiling of organochlorine pesticides and persistent organic pollutants in the killer whale (Orcinus orca) from British and Irish waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 54, 17241731.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Øien, N. (1988) The distribution of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Atlantic based on Norwegian catches, 1938–1981, and incidental sightings, 1967–1987. Rit Fiskideildar 11, 6578.Google Scholar
Olesiuk, P.F., Bigg, M.A. and Ellis, G.M. (1990) Life history and population dynamics of resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the coastal waters of British Columbia and Washington State. Reports of the International Whaling Commission Special Issue 12, 209243.Google Scholar
Poncelet, É., Barbraud, C. and Guinet, C. (2010) Population dynamics of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Crozet Archipelago, southern Indian Ocean: a mark-recapture study from 1977 to 2002. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11, 4148.Google Scholar
Royle, J.A. and Dorazio, R.M. (2008) Hierarchical modeling and inference in ecology: the analysis of data from populations, metapopulations and communities. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Seber, G.A.F. (1982) The estimation of animal abundance and related parameters, 2nd editionLondon: Charles Griffin & Company.Google Scholar
Sigurjónsson, J. and Leatherwood, S. (1988) The Icelandic live-capture fishery for killer whales, 1976–1988. Rit Fiskideildar 11, 307316.Google Scholar
Similä, T. and Lindblom, L. (1993) Persistence of natural markings on photographically identified killer whales (Orcinus orca). International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. (CM papaers and Reports), 1993/N: 11.Google Scholar
Taylor, B.L. (1997) Defining ‘population’ to meet management objectives for marine mammals. In Dizon, A.E., Chivers, S.J. and Perrin, W.F. (eds) Molecular genetics of marine mammals. Special Publication 3. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press, pp. 347364.Google Scholar
Wade, P.R., Reeves, R.R. and Mesnick, S.L. (2012) Social and behavioural factors in cetacean responses to overexploitation: are Odontocetes less ‘resilient’ than Mysticetes? Journal of Marine Biology. doi:10.1155/2012/567276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Whitehead, H. (2009) SOCPROG programs: analyzing animal social structures. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 63, 765778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wolkers, H., Corkeron, P.J., van Parijs, S., Similä, T. and van Bavel, B. (2007) Accumulation and transfer of contaminants in killer whales (Orcinus orca) from Norway: indications for contaminant metabolism. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 26, 15821590.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
21
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Using opportunistic photo-identifications to detect a population decline of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British and Irish waters
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Using opportunistic photo-identifications to detect a population decline of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British and Irish waters
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Using opportunistic photo-identifications to detect a population decline of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British and Irish waters
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *