Distribution and demographics of marine mammals in SOCAL through photo-indentification, genetics, and satellite telemetry: a summary of surveys conducted 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013
Falcone, Erin A.
Schorr, Gregory S.
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This report summarizes the year 3 results in an ongoing investigation of the distribution, demographics, and behavior of cetaceans in the U.S. Navy's SOCAL operational area. Small vessel surveys, focused primarily on the Southern California Antisubmarine Warfare Range (SOAR), were conducted in several field efforts over the 12-month period beginning in July 2012. All SOAR surveys were conducted in conjunction with visual verification tests of the M3R acoustic monitoring system, and included photo-identification, satellite tagging, and biopsy sampling. Results of photo-ID data collection over 24 survey days in Nov., Jan., and Mar. 2012/2013 on Cuvier's beaked and fin whales in Southern California are summarized. The data suggest that both species have relatively small local populations. 24 satellite tags, 18 providing dive data in addition to location data, were deployed on five cetacean species, including Cuvier's beaked and fin whales. 2 Risso's dolphins and 4 killer whales were also tagged. The killer whales included 3 offshores that moved thousands of kilometers from the study area, providing the first view of habitat use and daily movements from whales in this little known population.