Azura scientists will be presenting a poster at the World Marine Mammal Conference during 9-12 December 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
Marine megafauna occurrence was recorded in deep offshore waters during an Environmental Baseline Study. The goal of this study was to characterize the habitat and biodiversity of an area of oil and gas exploration 400 km northwest of Luanda, Angola. These offshore shipboard surveys were conducted during September 2018 in water depths ranging from 2,350 m to 3,850 m. We recorded opportunistic sightings of marine mammals during daytime visual observations and conducted passive acoustic monitoring at night to record vocalizing marine mammals. A variety of species were visually recorded, including humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), common dolphins (Delphinus spp.), and striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba). Most notably, southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) were visually confirmed in these waters. This is the first confirmed record of this species in Angolan waters since the early 1900s. A five-second bout of variable-frequency-range clicks spanning 7 kHz to 40 kHz was recorded, as well as additional click bouts potentially suggestive of sperm whale and other odontocete vocalizations.
Whitt, A.D., A. Warde, and L. Blair. Recent occurrence of marine mammals off Angola and first report of right whales since whaling era. 2019 World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, Spain, 9-12 December. (Poster presentation).