COAST OF SOUTH AFRICA: EVIDENCE FROM HISTORICAL CATCHES AND OBSERVATIONS

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Acknowledgements

On the cover of one of my favourite Asterix & Obelix books, Asterix and Cleopatra, the authors listed all artistic and sundry materials used to create the… “Greatest adventure ever drawn” ….e.g. so many litres of ink, so many paint brushes, etc. I always thought that it would be quite cool to do the same for my thesis, once completed. Listing consumables would have been far too much trouble, but with so many things that can change over a period of nearly 11 years, my list could have looked something like this: used eight different Windows operating system, watched two rugby, three cricket, and three football World Cups, sat on a boat when September 11, 2001 happened, survived a scorpion sting, not to mention the litres of coffee, etc…. I no longer feel any need to compile such a list and it would be something of an understatement to say that I feel very relieved to be able to finally hand in this thesis. Such a piece of work would have been impossible without the contributions of a multitude of people and organisations, and this is something that I will attempt to capture. Some people contributed in more than one way, and so their names may be repeated.
My thanks go to my parents, for their support, thoughts and prayers, for always backing me in whatever I have attempted and for never being prescriptive about following any particular career direction. Thanks also to my two sisters, and the rest of my family (who are too numerous to name) for always showing interest in my (sometimes slow) progress. Special thanks go to the Barendse Family Trust for allowing me to live at our family home for substantial periods of time, although this did sometimes pose unique challenges! Many loved ones and friends showed their support and were always willing to listen to gripes and complaints. I am particularly grateful to Cara Nieuwoudt for her patience and support, and to Lara Atkinson (also for help with PRIMER), Steve and Silvia Kirkman, Jeanne and Deon Nel, Simon Elwen, Kerry Sink, Richard Mercer and Kate Parr, Theonie Photopoulo(s) to name a few.
Then there were friends who were also colleagues, or colleagues that became friends; of these no-one deserves more mention than Meredith Thornton, who was a stalwart throughout and without whom most of the project would have been impossible. The ease with which she organises research work, her skilful way of managing volunteers, and general excellence in keeping the ‘ship afloat’ are all highly commendable attributes. Her sometimes bizarre dreams (and their interpretation) were also an endless source of entertainment. André du Randt, Meredith’s husband, is thanked for always being willing to help out whenever he visited her in the field, and for many enjoyable dart games in the evenings.
There are other friends (or kindred spirits) whose company I enjoyed during all or part of this time (in no particular order): Rodney February, Markus Bürgener, Christine Hänel, Inês Ferreira, Kirsten Jack, Carla Mecenero, Isabelle Fontaine, Richard Cuthbert, Erica Sommer, Peter Ryan, Niek Gremmen, Gys Driessen, Beneke de Wet, Angela Gaylard, Serge and Missy Raemaekers, Aaniyah Omardien, and Karen Vickers. Data collection would have been impossible without the enthusiastic assistance of a total of 13 Earthwatch and nearly 100 other local and international volunteers, to all of whom we owe a big debt of gratitude. Particular thanks are due to Maria Sabo, Erich Koch, Kathy Traut, Chavonne Williams, Simon Elwen, Shaun Dillon, Theoni Photopoulo, Laura Beskers, Isabelle Fontaine, Pauline Delos, André du Randt, Jenny Brash, Katja Walther, Leif Johanssen, Han and Euodia van Donselaar, Matt Sidwell, Arjen van den Ouden, and Nick van Barneveld, who all volunteered for a period of four weeks or longer, and took on extra responsibilities. I gained many new friends during this time.
A number of other individuals (some of them also friends) contributed specifically to the success of the project: John McLinden is thanked for helping with identifying an alternative field station and for arranging the electricians who wired our accommodation; Rob Schaafsma allowed us to stay at his “Doll’s House” at a very low rate during the first season. We are extremely indebted to the South African Navy for granting access to the lookout positions at Baviaansberg and Malgaskop, and allowing us to use a mooring at the Präsident Jetty, and Prof J. Malan and Col N. Slabber of the South African Military Academy for the provision of logistical help, including access to computer facilities and accommodation at Malgaskop. It was a privilege to stay at such a historic site, but also sad to see its dilapidated state in later years. Other members of the SAS Saldanha naval base that deserve special mention are: Capt E. Lochner (for supporting our presence at the base); C.P.O. Tony Cronjé and Sgt Maj Van Eeden (for help with setting up the lookout); Blackie Swart is thanked for tolerating us in ‘his’ Nature Reserve.
At the University of Pretoria, the Department of Zoology and Entomology, and the Mammal Research institute, several members of staff provided excellent support: Babsie Potgieter during the early stages of setting up, Ingrid Vis and Almarie Cronjé (administrative); Human Buirski (software and IT); Marthán Bester, my co-supervisor (special thanks for the loan when I really needed it); staff from the Academic Information Centre (Library) (especially Marié Theron) are thanked for help with obtaining references and providing online access to many journals. At the ‘Whale Unit’ fellow students often provided help and advice (apart from other contributions) which I gratefully acknowledge: Simon Elwen (GIS, mark- recapture); Ingrid Peters (for humpback data collected during her fieldwork, and MARK help); Caryn Berhmann (for help with SOCPROG and how to steer through the administrative challenges of handing-in while pregnant). Without funding, a project such as this would be impossible. The fieldwork at Saldanha was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa (Grant number 2047517), and in 2002/03 also by the Earthwatch Institute, the Mazda Wildlife Fund (through the provision of a field vehicle), and SASOL (through the donation of two four-stroke engines). PADI Project AWARE (UK) provided funding for refurbishing the lookout, and fuel. I am grateful to the NRF, University of Pretoria, the Society for Marine Mammalogy, and the Wildlife Society of South Africa (Charles Astley Maberley Memorial bursary) for financial support. I received funding from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to conduct between-region matching, and attend two Scientific Committee meetings. The following organisations contributed in various ways: IZIKO (office space and computer network), the Naval Hydrographer (tidal data and bathymetry); Institute of Maritime Technology (hydrophone); South African Weather Service (climate data for Cape Columbine); Surveyor General (maps and orthophotos); SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute) for the South African digital coastline data as used for the National Spatial Biodiversity Assessment (NSBA) 2004; and Ocean- wide bathymetry shape files were downloaded from Natural Earth (http://www.naturalearthdata.com/).
A number of people were co-authors on publications, reports, or manuscripts in progress, or contributed information, comments or data: Cherry Alison (IWC) is thanked for provided catch-related data; members of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, Howard Rosenbaum, Christina Pomilla, Inês Carvalho (for responding to my many queries), Dr George Amato, Dr Rob DeSalle, Matt Leslie and Jacqueline Ay-Ling Loo are thanked for their various contributions relating to genetic analyses; permission from Howard Rosenbaum and Nick Gales to cite unpublished documents is much appreciated; Phil Clapham, Simon Elwen, Ken Findlay, Tim Collins, and two anonymous referees are thanked for helpful comments on early drafts or manuscripts; Mike Meÿer is thanked for contributing sighting data from a research cruise. The following photographers (from various affiliations) took pictures that are included in the catalogue: Simon Elwen; Peter Best; Blake Abernethy, Ingrid Peters, Desray Reeb, Shaun Dillon, Lisa Mansfield, Tilen Genov, Stephanie Plön, André du Randt, Darell Anders, Sharon du Plessis, and Rob Tarr. Namibian pictures (used in Chapter 4) were contributed by Simon Elwen, Ruth Leeney, Mike Lloyd, Ute von Ludwiger, Orlanda Sardinha and Francois Visser (Levo Tours). Last, but not least, I have to thank my promoter Peter Best, for the role that he played.
It would be incorrect to say that we got off on the wrong foot – it did however take a while for us to establish an efficient way of communication. It can be likened to a bottle of wine – something of an acquired taste, which mellows with age (I’ll leave the metaphor at that…). In the end I came to appreciate his work ethics, his dedication to the field, his incredible knowledge on the subject, and (sometimes) wicked sense of humour. His contribution in finding historical data and sometimes obscure texts and records is especially acknowledged. I also thank him for his careful, thorough reading of draft chapters, a willingness to discuss any issues over the phone or in person, and for always making time to review changes. Finally, I thank him for supporting my involvement and attendance of the IWC Scientific Committee. I still do not share his enthusiasm for strandings though…. All work was carried out under successive annual permits issued to Peter Best by the Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, in terms of Regulation 58 of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act no. 18 of 1998).

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Table of Contents :

  • FOREWORD
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • SUMMARY
  • GENERAL INTRODUCTION
  • FIGURES
  • REFERENCES
  • CHAPTER 1 – PATTERNS OF AVAILABILITY AND MIGRATIONS OF HUMPBACK WHALES OFF THE WEST
    • COAST OF SOUTH AFRICA: EVIDENCE FROM HISTORICAL CATCHES AND OBSERVATIONS
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
  • CHAPTER 2 – MIGRATION REDEFINED? SEASONALITY, MOVEMENTS, AND GROUP COMPOSITION OF
    • HUMPBACK WHALES MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE OFF THE WEST COAST OF SOUTH AFRICA
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
  • CHAPTER 3 – SHORE-BASED OBSERVATIONS OF SEASONALITY AND MOVEMENTS OF SOUTHERN
    • RIGHT WHALES EUBALAENA AUSTRALIS OFF SALDANHA BAY, SOUTH AFRICA
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
  • CHAPTER 4 – TRANSIT STATION OR DESTINATION? ATTENDANCE PATTERNS, REGIONAL MOVEMENT,
    • AND POPULATION ESTIMATE OF HUMPBACK WHALES MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE OFF WEST SOUTH
    • AFRICA BASED ON PHOTOGRAPHIC AND GENOTYPIC MATCHING
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
    • APPENDIX 4.1: SUMMARY CAPTURE-RECAPTURE STATISTICS
  • CHAPTER 5 – GROUP COMPOSITION AND INDIVIDUAL ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN HUMPBACK WHALES
    • (MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE) RESIGHTED IN A COASTAL FEEDING GROUND OFF THE WEST COAST
    • OF SOUTH AFRICA
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
    • GENERAL CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • AFTERTHOUGHT
    • ADDENDUM (PUBLISHED PAPER AND POPULAR ARTICLE)
  • CHAPTER 4 – TRANSIT STATION OR DESTINATION? ATTENDANCE PATTERNS, REGIONAL MOVEMENT,
    • AND POPULATION ESTIMATE OF HUMPBACK WHALES MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE OFF WEST SOUTH
    • AFRICA BASED ON PHOTOGRAPHIC AND GENOTYPIC MATCHING
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
    • APPENDIX 4.1: SUMMARY CAPTURE-RECAPTURE STATISTICS
  • CHAPTER 5 – GROUP COMPOSITION AND INDIVIDUAL ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN HUMPBACK WHALES
    • (MEGAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE) RESIGHTED IN A COASTAL FEEDING GROUND OFF THE WEST COAST
    • OF SOUTH AFRICA
    • INTRODUCTION
    • MATERIAL AND METHODS
    • RESULTS
    • DISCUSSION
    • CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • TABLES
    • FIGURES
    • GENERAL CONCLUSION
    • REFERENCES
    • AFTERTHOUGHT
    • ADDENDUM (PUBLISHED PAPER AND POPULAR ARTICLE)

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
LOCAL MOVEMENTS, MIGRATIONS AND HABITAT USE OF HUMPBACK WHALES OFF THE WEST COAST OF SOUTH AFRICA, INCLUDING OBSERVATIONS OF SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES

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