This expedition focused on a full scale assessment of the sperm whale population of the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand. Sperm whales were detected, located, and tracked at the offshore mouth of Kaikoura Canyon, using a directional hydrophone. Whales were approached with a zodiac to: 1) attach DTAGs, digital acoustic recording tags, using a handheld pole, 2) measure blow flow rate with a pole-mounted flow meter, 3) undertake thermal video recording of exhalations, 4) operate a small hexacopter to obtain aerial video and still imagery of the animal and, 5) collect available fecal samples for stress hormone analysis and sloughed skin for stable isotope analysis. Long term data was available (since 1990) for distribution, behavior, size and growth for 13 of the sperm whales identified on this cruise. Two previously uncatalogued whales were also identified. For the first time in this habitat, a valuable series of DTAG data records were obtained from 7 individuals over a total of 35 hours. In addition, respiratory methods for field measurement of metabolic rate were further developed and field tested for the first time, plus infrared video of blows were obtained. At sea deployment of a hexacopter was successfully achieved and aerial photogrammetry images of sperm whales were acquired. Skin and fecal samples were successfully collected. A paper summarizing some of this data has been peer reviewed and a revised version is under consideration for publication.
|Principal Investigator:||Michael Moore|
|Affiliation:||Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution|
|Team:||Julie van der Hoop (WHOI), Luis Lamar (WHOI), Maryann Morin (WHOI), William Rayment (University of Otago), Liz Slooten (University of Otago), Marta Guerra (University of Otago), Andreas Fahlman (Texas A&M), Leigh Hickmott (Open Ocean Consulting), Moira Brown (New England Aquarium), Micah Brodsky (VMD Consulting), Don LeRoi (Aerial Imaging Solutions), Wayne Perryman (NOAA)|
|Goal:||To conduct a full scale study of Kaikoura Sperm Whales|
|Location:||Kaikoura, New Zealand|
|Timeframe:||February - March 2013|
Guerra M., Hickmott L., van der Hoop J., Rayment W., Leunissen E., Slooten E., Moore M., 2017, Diverse foraging strategies by a marine top predator: sperm whales exploit pelagic and demersal habitats in the Kaikōura submarine canyon, Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 128, pp. 98-108.