Environmental evidence for a pygmy blue whale aggregation area in the Subtropical Convergence Zone south of Australia
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© 2018 Society for Marine Mammalogy. The importance of the Subtropical Convergence Zone south of Australia as a feeding area to the pygmy blue whale of the eastern Indian Ocean was investigated to better understand migration patterns and habitat use. A combination of satellite tagging studies during 2003-2005 and acoustic and visual surveys during the austral summer of 2013 confirmed the presence of pygmy blue whales in the Subtropical Convergence Zone and provided evidence for feeding throughout the region. Of the 67 pygmy blue whales acoustically detected, many were localized in proximity to sea surface temperature fronts and high chlorophyll concentrations, which could be a behavioral strategy to attract conspecifics to good feeding sites. Aggregations of up to four pygmy blue whales, along with decreased call rates during the day, may suggest feeding despite no direct observations of pygmy blue whales consuming euphausiids. The oceanographic features present throughout the Subtropical Convergence Zone continue to create an environment productive enough to support the world's largest living mammals during their migratory foraging movements between the Southern Ocean and Indonesia.
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