Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Demography and ecology of southern right whales Eubalaena australis wintering at sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, New Zealand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Leigh Torres, Will Rayment, Carlos Olavarria, David Thompson, Brittany Graham, C. Scott Baker, Nathalie Patenaude, Sarah Jane Bury, Laura Boren, Graham Parker, Emma Louise Carroll

School/Research organisations


Since the decimation of the southern right whale Eubalaena australis population in New Zealand by whaling, research on its recovery has focused on the wintering ground at the Auckland Islands, neglecting potentially important wintering habitat at Campbell Island. For the first time in 20 years we conducted an expedition to sub-Antarctic Campbell Island to document and describe E. australis occupying this wintering habitat. We used a variety of methods including photo-identification, genetic and stable isotope analyses of tissue samples, and visual surveys of abundance and distribution, to provide details on the demography, population connectivity and ecology of E. australis wintering at Campbell Island. Our primary findings include (1) a lack of calves observed at Campbell Island, (2) an age-class bias toward sub-adults encountered at Campbell Island, (3) nine photo-identification matches between individuals observed at Campbell Island and previously documented elsewhere in New Zealand, (4) no genetic differentiation between E. australis at Campbell Island and the broader New Zealand population, (5) increased abundance estimates of E. australis at Campbell Island over the last 20 years, and (6) indications that E. australis forage within the sub-Antarctic region based on stable isotope analyses. Our results confirm that the Auckland Islands are currently the only significant calving area for E. australis in New Zealand, and therefore previous abundance estimates based on demographic data from the Auckland Islands are applicable to the entire New Zealand population of E. australis. However, future periodic surveys to Campbell Island are recommended to monitor population recovery and expansion.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
JournalPolar Biology
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2016
StatePublished - Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Age-class, Genetic analysis, Population connectivity, Stable isotope, Sub-Antarctic, Wintering ground, Parentage analysis

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Genetic and genomic monitoring with minimally invasive sampling methods

    Carroll, E. L., Bruford, M., DeWoody, J. A., Leroy, G., Strand, A., Waits, L. & Wang, J. Aug 2018 In : Evolutionary Applications. 11, 7, p. 1094-1119 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Incorporating non-equilibrium dynamics into demographic history inferences of a migratory marine species

    Carroll, E. L., Alderman, R., Bannister, J. L., Bérube, M., Best, P. B., Boren, L., Baker, C. S., Constantine, R., Findlay, K., Harcourt, R., Lemaire, L., Palsbøll, P. J., Patenaude, N. J., Rowntree, V. J., Seger, J., Steel, D., Valenzuela, L. O., Watson, M. & Gaggiotti, O. E. 3 May 2018 In : Heredity. 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Next-generation metrics for monitoring genetic erosion within populations of conservation concern

    Leroy, G., Carroll, E. L., Bruford, M. W., DeWoody, J. A., Strand, A., Waits, L. & Wang, J. 22 Nov 2017 In : Evolutionary Applications. Early View, 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia

    Aguilar de Soto, N. , Martín, V. , Silva, M. , Edler, R. , Reyes, C. , Carrillo, M. , Schiavi, A. , Morales, T. , García-Ovide, B. , Sanchez-Mora, A. , Garcia-Tavero, N. , Steiner, L. , Scheer, M. , Gockel, R. , Walker, D. , Villa, E. , Szlama, P. , Eriksson, I. K. , Tejedor, M. , Perez-Gil, M. & 3 others Quaresma, J., Bachara, W. & Carroll, E. 7 Mar 2017 In : PeerJ. 5, 22 p., e3059

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Genomic methods take the plunge: recent advances in high-throughput sequencing of marine mammals

    Cammen, K., Andrews, K., Carroll, E. L., Foote, A., Humble, E., Khudyakov, J., Louis, M., McGowen, M., Olsen, M. & Van Cise, A. Nov 2016 In : Journal of Heredity. 107, 6, p. 481-495

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. From sea ice to blubber: linking whale condition to krill abundance using historical whaling records

    Braithwaite, J. E., Meeuwig, J. J., Letessier, T. B., Jenner, K. C. S. & Brierley, A. S. 2 Apr 2015 In : Polar Biology.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Behavioral audiogram of two Arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus)

    Stansbury, A. L., Thomas, J. A., Stalf, C. E., Murphy, L. D., Lombardi, D., Carpenter, J. & Mueller, T. Mar 2014 In : Polar Biology. 37, 3, p. 417-422

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Modelling the influence of copepod behaviour on faecal pellet export at high latitudes

    Wallace, M. I., Cottier, F. R., Brierley, A. S. & Tarling, G. A. Apr 2013 In : Polar Biology. 36, 4, p. 579-592 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 241580688