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Type: Journal article
Title: Periodic variability in cetacean strandings: links to large-scale climate events
Author: Evans, K.
Thresher, R.
Warneke, R.
Bradshaw, C.
Pook, M.
Thiele, D.
Hindell, M.
Citation: Biology Letters, 2005; 1(2):147-150
Publisher: The Royal Society
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 1744-9561
Statement of
K. Evans, R. Thresher, R. M. Warneke, C. J. A. Bradshaw, M. Pook, D. Thiele and M. A. Hindell
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.
Keywords: cetacean strandings; southeast Australia; climate; meridional winds; zonal winds; sea-surface temperature
Rights: © 2005 The Royal Society
RMID: 0020082903
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0313
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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