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Photoidentification of killer whales orcinus orca off iceland october 1985

Photoidentification of killer whales orcinus orca off iceland october 1985

Cetology (52): 1-14

A pilot study was undertaken off the east coast of Iceland between 4 and 27 October 1985 to photograph and acoustically record killer whales. These activities represented the first year in a planned long-term study of Icelandic killer whale: (1) population status and identity, (2) vital rates and population dynamics, (3) social structure and behavior, and (4) acoustic behavior. Short-term objectives in 1985 were to identify as many individuals as possible, to begin to document social structure and individual association, and to obtain acoustic recordings. Within the small east coast study area, there were 21 sighting not resulting in photographs and nine photographic encounters with killer whale groups collectively containing an estimated minimum of 57 individuals. In addition, on 10 October there was a single fortuitous encounter with five whales off Hafnarfjord ur, on the southwest coast. In all, 48 animals were photoidentified and cataloged.sbd.37 of them were provisionally assigned to one of three pods (IA Pod, IB Pod, and IC Pod, in which there were 13, 20, and four whales identified, respectively). The remaining 11 photoidentified whales could not be assigned to pods. Other whales present in these 10 photo-encounters were not photographed adequately to permit identification. In addition, whales in the 21 sightings were not photographed at all. From photographs collected by others in 1981 and 1984, 11 additional whales have been photoidentified, bringing the total in the Icelandic catalog to date to 59 whales. Two animals were seen in 1985 within 9 to 130 km of the area off the east coast where they had been seen in 1984. In the 1985 study period, some animals ranged at least 80 km within the study area. Comparison with a small sample of eight whales photoidentified off southwestern Norway yielded no matches. In the limited acoustic data analyzed, some cells were found to be discrete, stereotyped, and repetitious.

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