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SC/67B/EM/06 Rev1 

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The characteristics of krill swarms in relation to aggregating Antarctic blue whales

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SC/67B/EM/06 Rev1


Elanor J. Miller, Joanne Potts, Martin J Cox, Brian S. Miller, Richard O'Driscoll, Natalie Kelly, Mike C. Double

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International Whaling Commission


Foraging grounds of the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) were surveyed in the austral summer of 2015 during the joint New Zealand-Australia Antarctic Ecosystems Voyage. Using this dataset we describe the distribution of these rare whales in relation to their main prey species, Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). A combination of passive acoustic technology and visual observations were used to locate Antarctic blue whales, whilst simultaneously using active underwater acoustics to characterise the distribution and density of krill swarms. Results suggest that Antarctic blue whales are more likely to be present within the vicinity of krill swarms detected at night, those of higher internal density, greater vertical height, and those found shallower in the water column. This study demonstrates that using complementary, multidisciplinary technologies can provide insights into sub meso-scale (i.e.,

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