Fewer Mediterranean Fin Whales Than Thought

Written by on July 27, 2012 in Marine Life

An international team of scientists have recently revealed that the population of fin whales in the Mediterranean is smaller than we thought.  The population was overestimated as a result of including fin whales visiting from the Atlantic.  The new study, Fin whale population identity in the western Mediterranean Sea, was published in the April 2012 issue of Marine Mammal Science.

The research team analyzed 29,822 hours of song recordings to identify the difference in distribution between the Mediterranean fin whale and the north Atlantic fin whale. The results showed that fin whales in the Straits of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea are exclusively Atlantic fin whales that spend time in the Mediterranean during the fall and spring.

“The population of Mediterranean fin whales presents a much more limited distribution than currently described, excluding a significant region of the western Mediterranean,” explains Manuel Castellote, the lead author of the study and researcher for NOAA.

He continues, “from a conservation point of view, it is essential to understand the geographical distribution and population size of the Mediterranean fin whale, because if not, appropriate management methods cannot be implemented.”

Fin whale.

Fin whale. Photo credit: NOAA.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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