Killer Whales (killer + whale)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


A NORTHEAST PACIFIC OFFSHORE KILLER WHALE (ORCINUS ORCA) FEEDING ON A PACIFIC HALIBUT (HIPPOGLOSSUS STENOLEPIS)

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 1 2006
Iain M. Jones
No abstract is available for this article. [source]


KILLER WHALE (ORCINUS ORCA) DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE IN THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN BERING SEA, JULY 1999 AND JUNE 2000

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 3 2002
Janice M. Waite
[source]


Detecting the impact of oceano-climatic changes on marine ecosystems using a multivariate index: The case of the Bay of Biscay (North Atlantic-European Ocean)

GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, Issue 1 2008
GEORGES HEMERY
Abstract Large-scale univariate climate indices (such as NAO) are thought to outperform local weather variables in the explanation of trends in animal numbers but are not always suitable to describe regional scale patterns. We advocate the use of a Multivariate Oceanic and Climatic index (MOCI), derived from ,synthetic' and independent variables from a linear combination of the total initial variables objectively obtained from Principal Component Analysis. We test the efficacy of the index using long-term data from marine animal populations. The study area is the southern half of the Bay of Biscay (43,47N; western Europe). Between 1974 and 2000 we monitored cetaceans and seabirds along 131000 standardized line transects from ships. Fish abundance was derived from commercial fishery landings. We used 44 initial variables describing the oceanic and atmospheric conditions and characterizing the four annual seasons in the Bay of Biscay. The first principal component of our MOCI is called the South Biscay Climate (SBC) index. The winter NAO index was correlated to this SBC index. Inter-annual fluctuations for most seabird, cetacean and fish populations were significant. Boreal species (e.g. gadiformes fish species, European storm petrel and Razorbill ,) with affinities to cold temperate waters declined significantly over time while two (Puffin and Killer Whale) totally disappeared from the area during the study period. Meridional species with affinities to hotter waters increased in population size. Those medium-term demographic trends may reveal a regime shift for this part of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the specific observed trends were highly correlated to the SBC index and not to the NAO. Between 40% and 60% of temporal variations in species abundance were explained by the multivariate SBC index suggesting that the whole marine ecosystem is strongly affected by a limited number of physical parameters revealed by the multivariate SBC index. Aside the statistical error of the field measurements, the remaining variation unexplained by the physical characteristics of the environment correspond to the impact of anthropogenic activities such overfishing and oil-spills. [source]


Animal behaviour and marine protected areas: incorporating behavioural data into the selection of marine protected areas for an endangered killer whale population

ANIMAL CONSERVATION, Issue 2 2010
E. Ashe
Abstract Like many endangered wildlife populations, the viability and conservation status of ,southern resident' killer whales Orcinus orca in the north-east Pacific may be affected by prey limitation and repeated disturbance by human activities. Marine protected areas (MPAs) present an attractive option to mitigate impacts of anthropogenic activities, but they run the risk of tokenism if placed arbitrarily. Notwithstanding recreational and industrial marine traffic, the number of commercial vessels in the local whalewatching fleet is approaching the number of killer whales to be watched. Resident killer whales have been shown to be more vulnerable to vessel disturbance while feeding than during resting, travelling or socializing activities, therefore protected-areas management strategies that target feeding ,hotspots' should confer greater conservation benefit than those that protect habitat generically. Classification trees and spatially explicit generalized additive models were used to model killer whale habitat use and whale behaviour in inshore waters of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (BC, Canada). Here we propose a candidate MPA that is small (i.e. a few square miles), but seemingly important. Killer whales were predicted to be 2.7 times as likely to be engaged in feeding activity in this site than they were in adjacent waters. A recurring challenge for cetacean MPAs is the need to identify areas that are large enough to be biologically meaningful while being small enough to allow effective management of human activities within those boundaries. Our approach prioritizes habitat that animals use primarily for the activity in which they are most responsive to anthropogenic disturbance. [source]


From captivity to the wild and back: An attempt to release Keiko the killer whale

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 3 2009
M. Simon
First page of article [source]


Ecological, morphological and genetic divergence of sympatric North Atlantic killer whale populations

MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, Issue 24 2009
ANDREW D. FOOTE
Abstract Ecological divergence has a central role in speciation and is therefore an important source of biodiversity. Studying the micro-evolutionary processes of ecological diversification at its early stages provides an opportunity for investigating the causative mechanisms and ecological conditions promoting divergence. Here we use morphological traits, nitrogen stable isotope ratios and tooth wear to characterize two disparate types of North Atlantic killer whale. We find a highly specialist type, which reaches up to 8.5 m in length and a generalist type which reaches up to 6.6 m in length. There is a single fixed genetic difference in the mtDNA control region between these types, indicating integrity of groupings and a shallow divergence. Phylogenetic analysis indicates this divergence is independent of similar ecological divergences in the Pacific and Antarctic. Niche-width in the generalist type is more strongly influenced by between-individual variation rather than within-individual variation in the composition of the diet. This first step to divergent specialization on different ecological resources provides a rare example of the ecological conditions at the early stages of adaptive radiation. [source]


Two New Species of Symbiotic Ciliates from the Respiratory Tract of Cetaceans with Establishment of the New Genus Planilamina n. gen. (Dysteriida, Kyaroikeidae)

THE JOURNAL OF EUKARYOTIC MICROBIOLOGY, Issue 6 2006
HONGWEI MA
ABSTRACT. Examination of mucus discharged from the blowhole of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) at Marine Life Oceanarium, Gulfport, Mississippi, and false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) and Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, using live observations and protargol impregnation revealed mixed infections of Kyaroikeus cetarius and two new species. Planilamina n. gen. is characterized by a C-shaped argentophilic band located along the laterally flattened margin of cell and extending from the cell apex to subposterior cone-shaped podite; a deep oral cavity containing one short preoral kinety, two circumoral kineties, seven to 13 infundibular kineties, and a cytostome; a broadly funnel-shaped cytopharynx reinforced by argentophilic fibers but without nematodesmata; closely packed postoral kinetofragments set in a pocket located anterior left of the podite; and somatic kineties as a right field closely situated at the right surface and a left field bordering the anterior left margin of the oral cavity. The type species for the genus, Planilamina ovata n. sp., is distinguished from its sister species Planilamina magna n. sp. by the following characteristics: body size (28,65 20,43 ,m vs. 57,90 40,63 ,m), number of right field kineties (38,55 vs. 79,99), and position of the anterior end of the leftmost kinety in the right somatic field (anterior one-third vs. mid-body). The morphogenesis of Planilamina ovata is similar to that of K. cetarius. The diagnosis of Kyaroikeidae is emended to accommodate the new genus. [source]


Fight or flight: antipredator strategies of baleen whales

MAMMAL REVIEW, Issue 1 2008
JOHN K. B. FORD
ABSTRACT 1The significance of killer whale Orcinus orca predation on baleen whales (Mysticeti) has been a topic of considerable discussion and debate in recent years. Discourse has been constrained by poor understanding of predator-prey dynamics, including the relative vulnerability of different mysticete species and age classes to killer whales and how these prey animals avoid predation. Here we provide an overview and analysis of predatory interactions between killer whales and mysticetes, with an emphasis on patterns of antipredator responses. 2Responses of baleen whales to predatory advances and attacks by killer whales appear to fall into two distinct categories, which we term the fight and flight strategies. The fight strategy consists of active physical defence, including self-defence by single individuals, defence of calves by their mothers and coordinated defence by groups of whales. It is documented for five mysticetes: southern right whale Eubalaena australis, North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis, bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus, humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae and grey whale Eschrichtius robustus. The flight strategy consists of rapid (20,40 km/h) directional swimming away from killer whales and, if overtaken and attacked, individuals do little to defend themselves. This strategy is documented for six species in the genus Balaenoptera. 3Many aspects of the life history, behaviour and morphology of mysticetes are consistent with their antipredator strategy, and we propose that evolution of these traits has been shaped by selection for reduced predation. Fight species tend to have robust body shapes and are slow but relatively manoeuvrable swimmers. They often calve or migrate in coastal areas where proximity to shallow water provides refuge and an advantage in defence. Most fight species have either callosities (rough and hardened patches of skin) or encrustations of barnacles on their bodies, which may serve (either primarily or secondarily) as weapons or armour for defence. Flight species have streamlined body shapes for high-speed swimming and they can sustain speeds necessary to outrun pursuing killer whales (>15,20 km/h). These species tend to favour pelagic habitats and calving grounds where prolonged escape sprints from killer whales are possible. 4The rarity of observed successful attacks by killer whales on baleen whales, especially adults, may be an indication of the effectiveness of these antipredator strategies. Baleen whales likely offer low profitability to killer whales, relative to some other marine mammal prey. High-speed pursuit of flight species has a high energetic cost and a low probability of success while attacks on fight species can involve prolonged handling times and a risk of serious injury. [source]


Use of chemical tracers to assess diet and persistent organic pollutants in Antarctic Type C killer whales

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 3 2008
Margaret M. Krahn
Abstract Measuring chemical tracers in tissues of marine predators provides insight into the prey consumed and the predator's contaminant exposure. In this study, samples from Type C killer whales (Orcinus orca) biopsied in Antarctica were analyzed for chemical tracers (i.e., stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, fatty acids, and persistent organic pollutants [POPs]). Profiles of these individual tracers were very different from those of killer whale populations that have been studied in the eastern North and eastern Tropical Pacific. For example, ,13C and ,15N stable isotope values and most POP concentrations were significantly lower in the Antarctic population. In addition, multivariate statistical analyses of both fatty acid and POP profiles found distinctly different patterns for Antarctic Type C whales compared to those from whales in the other populations. Similar assays were conducted on four species of Antarctic marine fish considered potential prey for Type C killer whales. Results were consistent with a diet of fish for Type C whales, but other species (e.g., low trophic-level marine mammals or penguins) could not be eliminated as supplemental prey. [source]


KILLER WHALE ATTACKS ON MINKE WHALES: PREY CAPTURE AND ANTIPREDATOR TACTICS

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 4 2005
John K. B. Ford
Abstract We describe nine incidents of predation or attempted predation of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) by mammal-hunting "transient" killer whales (Orcinus orca) in coastal waters of British Columbia, Washington, and southeastern Alaska. Pursuits of minke whales were characterized by prolonged chases on a straight heading at velocities of 15,30 km/h. In four of the nine cases the adultsized minke whale gradually outdistanced the killer whales, which abandoned the high-speed pursuit after 0.5,1 h. In one case the minke beached itself and died. Four attacks were successful. In one instance a subadult minke was killed in open water following a chase. In two cases the fleeing minke entered a confined bay and was killed by the killer whales. One adult minke was taken after apparently attempting to seek cover beside a large sailboat. Minke whales made no attempt to physically defend themselves and were killed by repeated ramming or by asphyxiation. Although killer whales are capable of sprinting speeds greater than those of minke whales, it appears that adult minkes can maintain higher sustained speeds and evade capture if sufficient space for an extended escape trajectory is available. Successful predation of minke whales in coastal waters is rare compared to pinnipeds and small cetaceans, the main prey of transient killer whales. [source]


ACOUSTIC IDENTIFICATION OF NINE DELPHINID SPECIES IN THE EASTERN TROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 1 2003
Julie N. Oswald
Abstract Acoustic methods may improve the ability to identify cetacean species during shipboard surveys. Whistles were recorded from nine odontocete species in the eastern tropical Pacific to determine how reliably these vocalizations can be classified to species based on simple spectrographic measurements. Twelve variables were measured from each whistle (n = 908). Parametric multivariate discriminant function analysis (DFA) correctly classified 41.1% of whistles to species. Non-parametric classification and regression tree (CART) analysis resulted in 51.4% correct classification. Striped dolphin whistles were most difficult to classify. Whistles of bottlenose dolphins, false killer whales, and pilot whales were most distinctive. Correct classification scores may be improved by adding prior probabilities that reflect species distribution to classification models, by measuring alternative whistle variables, using alternative classification techniques, and by localizing vocalizing dolphins when collecting data for classification models. [source]


KILLER WHALE PREDATION ON SPERM WHALES: OBSERVATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, Issue 3 2001
Robert L. Pitman
Abstract In October 1997 we observed a herd of approximately 35 killer whales (Orcinus orca) attack a pod of nine sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) 130 km off the coast of central California. During the four hours we watched, adult female killer whales, including some with calves, attacked in waves of four to five animals in what was apparently a "wound and withdraw" strategy. Adult male killer whales stood by until the very end when one charged in and quickly killed a seriously wounded sperm whale that had been separated from the group. The sperm whales appeared largely helpless: their main defensive behavior was the formation of a rosette ("marguerite"-heads together, tails out). When the killer whales were successful in pulling an individual out of the rosette, one or two sperm whales exposed themselves to increased attack by leaving the rosette, flanking the isolated individual, and leading it back into the formation. Despite these efforts, one sperm whale was killed and eaten and the rest were seriously, perhaps mortally, wounded. We also present details of two other encounters between sperm whales and killer whales that we observed. Although sperm whales, because of various behavioral and morphological adaptations, were previously thought to be immune to predation, our observations clearly establish their vulnerability to killer whales. We suggest that killer whale predation has potentially been an important, and underrated, selective factor in the evolution of sperm whale ecology, influencing perhaps the development of their complex social behavior and at-sea distribution patterns. [source]


Animal behaviour and marine protected areas: incorporating behavioural data into the selection of marine protected areas for an endangered killer whale population

ANIMAL CONSERVATION, Issue 2 2010
E. Ashe
Abstract Like many endangered wildlife populations, the viability and conservation status of ,southern resident' killer whales Orcinus orca in the north-east Pacific may be affected by prey limitation and repeated disturbance by human activities. Marine protected areas (MPAs) present an attractive option to mitigate impacts of anthropogenic activities, but they run the risk of tokenism if placed arbitrarily. Notwithstanding recreational and industrial marine traffic, the number of commercial vessels in the local whalewatching fleet is approaching the number of killer whales to be watched. Resident killer whales have been shown to be more vulnerable to vessel disturbance while feeding than during resting, travelling or socializing activities, therefore protected-areas management strategies that target feeding ,hotspots' should confer greater conservation benefit than those that protect habitat generically. Classification trees and spatially explicit generalized additive models were used to model killer whale habitat use and whale behaviour in inshore waters of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (BC, Canada). Here we propose a candidate MPA that is small (i.e. a few square miles), but seemingly important. Killer whales were predicted to be 2.7 times as likely to be engaged in feeding activity in this site than they were in adjacent waters. A recurring challenge for cetacean MPAs is the need to identify areas that are large enough to be biologically meaningful while being small enough to allow effective management of human activities within those boundaries. Our approach prioritizes habitat that animals use primarily for the activity in which they are most responsive to anthropogenic disturbance. [source]


Occurrence of killer whales in Scottish inshore waters: temporal and spatial patterns relative to the distribution of declining harbour seal populations

AQUATIC CONSERVATION: MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, Issue 6 2009
Harriet E. Bolt
Abstract 1.Sightings of killer whales around Shetland were recorded between 1991 and 2006 and for the whole of Scotland for 2007. The data were used to investigate temporal patterns in killer whale occurrence around Shetland and spatial patterns in occurrence around Scotland. 2.There was a strong seasonal peak in sightings around Shetland during June,July, coinciding with the harbour seal pupping season. 3.There was no clear trend in annual sightings around Shetland between 1991 and 2006. 4.Killer whales were sighted most frequently around Shetland and the Pentland Firth as well as around Mull and the Treshnish Isles. 5.These findings are discussed in terms of potential impacts upon local declining harbour seal populations and future research requirements. Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]