Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Short Communication

Effects of diel and seasonal cycles on the dive duration of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

K.A.  Stockin a1a2c1 , R.S.  Fairbairns a3 , E.C.M.  Parsons a1 and D.W.  Sims a2p1
a1 The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, Main Street, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Argyll, Scotland, UK
a2 Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, UK
a3 Sea Life Surveys, Torrbreac, Dervaig, Isle of Mull, Argyll, Scotland, UK


Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) surfacing intervals were recorded over a period of three years in the coastal waters of Mull, Coll and the Small Isles, in the north-west of Scotland. Significant differences in surfacing intervals were noted both throughout the day and throughout the year. Surfacing intervals were shortest at noon and in the months of June and July. Surfacing intervals were longest both mid-morning and mid-afternoon and during May and August. Differences in surfacing intervals were interpreted to be the result of ecological changes such as different foraging strategies. Consequently, the results of this study have an impact on the methodologies and designs of minke whale sightings surveys.

(Received July 25 2000)
(Accepted October 20 2000)

c1 E-mail:
p1 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2PB, UK