CIE Spotlight: Inferring energy expenditure from respiration rates in minke whales to measure the effects of whale watching boat interactions

Fredrik Christiansen
Fredrik C.

Title: Inferring energy expenditure from respiration rates in minke whales to measure the effects of whale watching boat interactions

Author Full Names: Christiansen, Fredrik; Rasmussen, Marianne H.; Lusseau, David

Source: JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, 459 96-104; 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.05.014 OCT 2014

Brief summary of the paper: This paper looks at the impact of whalewatching boats on the energy expenditure of minke whales on a foraging ground in Iceland. The study is part of a series of studies trying to inform the energetic consequences of whalewatching activities on cetaceans, and how this can be linked to individual vital rates (i.e. reproduction).

In this study we show that minke whales increase their respiration rate in the presence of whalewatching boats. From this we used bioenergetic models to infer the energetic costs of these behavioural changes.

We estimated that minke whales increase their energy expenditure with about 28% during interactions with whalewatching boats. In light of the high energetic demands that minke whales have during reproduction (they are annual breeders), this increase in energy expenditure could be a cause for concern.