Summer distribution and relative abundance of cetacean populations off northwest Scotland

Kelly Macleod, M Simmonds, E Murray

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17 Citations (Scopus)


A line transect Survey was conducted in July/August 1998 to investigate the distribution and abundance of cetaceans off north-west Scotland. Over 2156.5 km of survey effort, 304 sightings were recorded of which 184 were identified to species. Nine species were identified: Atlantic white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchas acutus, fin whale Balaenoptera physalus, set whale Balaenoptera borealis, long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas, sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, common dolphin Delphinus delphis, harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena, white beaked dolphin Lagenohynchus albirostris and Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus. The Atlantic white-sided dolphin was the most relatively abundant species. The relative abundance of large whales and dolphins was greatest in the Faroe-Shetland Channel. The continental slopes of this area are undergoing development by oil industries and concerns have been raised about the potential impacts of these activities on cetaceans. These waters are used year-round by cetaceans and provide feeding and breeding grounds and are a migration route for large whales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1192
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003




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