Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society

Land-based observations of cetaceans and a review of recent strandings at subantarctic Macquarie Island

Rohan H. Clarke A D , Rosemary Gales B and Martin Schulz C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.

B Biodiversity Monitoring Section, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Box 44, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.

C 34 Wilford Street, Corrimal, NSW 2518, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Mammalogy 39(2) 248-253
Submitted: 26 February 2016  Accepted: 25 October 2016   Published: 3 January 2017


The occurrence of cetaceans around subantarctic Macquarie Island is poorly known. The current study provides the first quantitative assessment of the occurrence of various cetacean species in inshore waters during 391 systematic, one-hour observation periods over 59 weeks, in 2002 and 2003. Nine species of cetacean were identified during these surveys. Killer whales, long-finned pilot whales and sperm whales were all detected with some frequency. All other species were detected on single occasions. Eight previously unpublished stranding records are also summarised. These results support the notion that most cetacean species are relatively uncommon in the inshore waters of Macquarie Island. Routine archiving of cetacean sightings obtained during shipping activities in surrounding waters is encouraged as this will further contribute to our understanding of the region’s marine megafauna.

Additional keywords: beaked whale, killer whale, long-finned pilot whale, seasonal patterns, spectacled porpoise, strandings, underestimate.


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