Cetacean distribution and relative abundance in offshore Gabonese waters

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Abstract

nformation on cetaceans off Gabon in tropical West Africa is summarized from boat-based surveys carried out between 7 March and 7 August 2009. Thirteen cetacean species were positively identified comprising two baleen whale species, one sperm whale species and ten species of delphinid. Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei) and humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) were the most frequently encountered species. Cetaceans were found throughout a range of sea surface temperature between 20.5°C and 27.5°C and a wide range of depths with the majority of effort and sightings occurring seaward of the shelf break. Of particular interest from the study were the following: (1) Gabonese waters have a broad cetacean diversity, especially with a large and diversified delphinid community in the northern part of the study area; (2) the variations in oceanographic conditions within Gabonese waters are likely to result in a temporal variation in species composition; (3) the sightings of Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) are the first at-sea sightings confirmed for these waters, although not unexpected given their distribution and abundant presence in surrounding waters; and (4) the poorly known Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) was sighted on four occasions in deep oceanic waters and was the most abundant cetacean. These are the first confirmed records of Clymene dolphins in Gabonese waters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1613-1621
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of The United Kingdom
Volume90
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • stenella-clymene
  • west-africa
  • balaenoptera-edeni
  • records
  • angola
  • delphinidae
  • porpoises
  • dolphins
  • guinea
  • gulf

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