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Spatial and Temporal Cetacean Distribution

Project Description

The Gulf of California constitutes 39% of all marine mammal species and a third of all cetacean species in the world. It is therefore one of the most biologically diverse seas on the planet. In the Gulf of California, the Kino Bay area and adjacent waters area important meeting place for many year round residents and winter migrant cetacean species. Currently, the Kino Bay Research Center has recorded 18 cetacean species. The continuous monitoring and evaluation of species diversity in the region provides important baseline data for the future development of scientific and management projects. Since 1997 the MMP has kept a registry of all cetacean species sighted. At every sighting data is recorded regarding various associated environmental and biological factors. This is in order to gain a better understanding the diversity and seasonality of the cetaceans in the region. 

Project Results

In the last five years, the Center has completed 189 outings and accumulated 124 effort hours, in which we have recorded 876 sightings of 13 species of cetaceans, representing 5 families. The species with the largest number of recorded individuals are the Long-beaked Common Dolphin, (+88,000), the Bottlenose Dolphin (+6,500), the Short-finned Pilot Whale (+1,100), and the Fin Whale, (+700). With all of our current data we have information regarding the spatial and temporal distribution of cetaceans within Kino Bay and the surrounding area. From 1997 to 2009, 799 sightings of 18 species of cetaceans during 177 outings were recorded. The results from the time period of 1997-2003 of this project were presented in 2004 at the Gulf of California Conference hosted by the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.

Reports & Publications

  1. Lindner, D. J. (2011). Habitat Use Characterization of Sperm (Physeter macrocephalus) and Fin (Balaenoptera physalus) Whales in the Midriff region of the Gulf of California through Incidental Sighting Analysis via Geographic Information Systems. Senior Project for College of the Atlantic. 19 pp. 
  2. Research and Conservation Program Report (2007-2011). Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies

  3. Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies (2010). Research and Conservation Program Report 2007-2010. 34 pp.

  4. Prescott College Kino Bay Center Research and Conservation Program (2009). Activities Report 2008-2009 and Planning Document 2009-2010. 17 pp.

  5. Pfister, T. A., Pfister, B., Bayha, J and L. Meltzer (2004). A Summary of Cetacean Research Efforts by Prescott College, A.C. in the Eastern Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California. Gulf of California Conference hosted Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Oral Presentation.