Collaborating with the science and study of this magnificent marine mammal, the humpback whale or Megaptera Novaeangliae, from 2008 onwards, Expedition Fitz Roy works closely with the CEQUA (Quaternary Research Center), for the development of a register of specimens and a catalog of photo-identification of them, keeping track of their movements in the arrival area and feeding areas, in each of our trips. As a result of this work, we attach the photo-identification catalog at the following link: Catalogo Foto-ID CEQUA-Forrest
It was interesting the season (2014 / 2015) during which it was possible photo-identify 84 animals, from which 22 are new exemplars, including 4 calves which were sighted all the season and they not existed previously in the CEQUA photo-identification catalog, with whom Expedición Fitz Roy closely collaborates in works leading to know the information about the arriving and temporary stay of this specimen, in this region. Also were done some tests intended to install, during the next season, passive acoustic recorders in the area, to register the sounds language, which occur between specimens, during the feed period in the waters Strait of Magellan.
FEEDING OF HUMPACK WHALE
A group of theSoutheast Pacific population of humpback whale travel annually to cold waters of the Francisco Coloane Coastal Marine Protected Area (CMPA) for feeding during the austral summer and autumn. It was determined that humpback whales in the Strait of Magellan, consumed fuegianspratt (Sprattusfueguensis), lobster krill (Munidagregaria) and krill (Euphausialucens), using direct observation of animals feeding on the surface. During the season 2011-2012 it was performed a research on the diet of this species in the CMPA using stable isotope of carbon and nitrogen with the support of the FitzRoy Expedition. For these analyses, whale skin and prey samples were used.
Our study found that whales have mainly consumed fuegianspratt during 2011, meanwhile in 2012 the whales fed mainly on crustaceans (lobster krill and krill).In addition, both females and males, and juveniles and adult individuals feed on those prey in similar proportions.Our results indicate that both prey items (crustaceans and fish) are important for whale within the CMPA and the consumption of these preys could be related to the availability of food.
Currently, FitzRoy Expeditions works closely with the feeding study of humpback whales, conducted by researchers from the University of Chile, CEQUA Foundation and the Chilean Antarctic Institute.Our study aims to analyze the variation in the diet of whales and determine the role of whales, fuegianspratt and lobster krillin the food web ofthe Francisco Coloane AMCP.
In other collaboration activity with research organizations, the Forrest served as a platform in order that a group of scientists from the Research Center of Patagonian Ecosystems (CIEP) and CEQUA can get to Guarelo Islands and Madre de Dios area, in order to develop field work related to a project study of the interaction of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of the archipelagic area.