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  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The population of Southern Right Whales (SRW) in the Southern Hemisphere has been recovering slowly from near extinction due to its decimation from whaling before its ban in the mid-1970’s. As the species recovers, there is increasing evidence of expansion of aggregation areas. Consequently, there is a need to update known established aggregation areas and Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) and update relevant Marine Parks management plans based on new evidence. This project proposes to collate and complete photo-ID matching since 2010 to 2020 in the southwest of Australia and upload images to the National ARWPIC catalogue. Outputs • Photo-identifications of individual whales in southwestern Australia for 1991-2021 (photo-matches contributed to ARWPIC) • A report including evidence and recommendations for updating aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia according to the Commonwealth criteria [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub bridging study - "Aerial survey of the Southern Right Whale ‘western’ sub-population off southern Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Aerial surveys of Southern Right Whales have been conducted across the southern Australian coast from Perth, WA to Ceduna, SA since 1993, as part of a long-term program to monitor their recovery. The surveys data provide a long-term population trend for this ‘western’ population, and provide an understanding of connectivity with the ‘eastern’ population as part of a national population assessment. The NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub funded the aerial surveys in 2015–2020 and the Marine and Coastal Hub funded the survey in 2021. (See Project 1.26: https://catalogue.aodn.org.au/geonetwork/srv/eng/catalog.search#/metadata/b85b2c7d-4631-477a-9217-2cae65f9cf0a) The 2022 survey ensures an uninterrupted time series in the long-term population trend data for this Endangered species. This is particularly important given the non-annual breeding cycle (typically every three years), such that annual surveys are essential to maintain an acceptable level of precision in estimating population trends and key life history parameters (calving intervals) to track the recovery of the species. Continued monitoring of the population is needed to evaluate whether there is a longer term and continuous change (in population size and calving intervals) in the population as indicated by recent sightings and population trend data. Outputs • Estimate of relative abundance and population trend compared to long-term aerial survey sightings [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identification data - 2021-22 season [imagery - published to ARWPIC] • Final technical report detailing overall numbers of southern right whales observed within the survey region, their gender (and life stage where possible) and spatial distribution of individuals [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub bridging study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Aerial surveys of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) have been conducted across the southern Australian coast from Perth (W.A.) to Ceduna (S.A.) since 1993, as part of a long-term program to monitor the recovery, and inform the Conservation Management Plan (2011-2021), for this Endangered species (under the EPBC Act). The 2020 aerial survey recorded substantially lower numbers of whales than in the previous 13 years, and the lowest number of non-calving whales since the program started. An aerial survey conducted by this project in August 2021 will provide a relative estimate of annual population size for determining longer term population trends and contribute to determining if 2020 was an anomalous year or an indicator of some longer-term change to recent recovery rates and the female breeding cycle. Outputs • Aerial whale survey data (counts by size class, number, and location) - 2021-22 season [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identification data - 2021-22 season [imagery - published to ARWPIC] • Final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings [written]

  • This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub Research Plan 2023 project "Informing southern right whale management through continued monitoring, determination of aggregation areas and development of approaches to increase data flow efficiencies and utility". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- This project will deliver priority information on southern right whales to address key knowledge gaps through: (i) updating long-term population abundance trends via aerial surveys of the western population and testing of platforms for improving photo-identification data flow efficiencies; (ii) the collection and utilisation of photos of the western population to identify biologically important reproductive areas and inform the estimation of population parameters;(iii) development of integrative methods for combining opportunistic and more formally collected observations, to expand the utility of datasets and (iv) collection of movement and genetic data to assess the connectivity and population identity of whales at the boundary of the eastern and western subpopulations. It will also conduct a consultative process for prioritising future work for informing future NESP work. Outputs • Updated southern right whale population assessments [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identifications in aggregation areas [image catalogue] • Updated SPRAT and BIA distributions [dataset] • Whale movement tracking [dataset] • Genetic data (for estimates of population connectivity) [dataset] • Final project report [written]

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    Whale muscle samples were collected from stranded and dead blue (Baleoptera musculus) and fin (Baleoptera physalus) whales in South-western Australia. Blue, fin, sperm (Physeter macrocephalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and pygmy blue (Baleoptera musculus brevicauda) whale faecal samples were collected from coastal waters off Southern Australia by trawling 0.5 mm mesh nets over the surface waters following defecation. Four species of krill (Nyctiphanes australia, Euphausia pacifica, Meganyctiphanes norvegica), including Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) were collected from various locations worldwide. We analysed the concentration of iron, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, phosphorus and carbon in baleen whale faeces and muscle, and krill tissue using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.