Do Antarctic killer whales migrate to Australian Waters? Well thanks to David Donnelly, DRI’s Research Officer, and his network of colleagues and citizen scientists, we now know that at least some Antarctic killer whales visit our coastal waters. The work is published in the current edition of Aquatic Mammals.
The Southern Hemisphere is thought to have 5 “ecotypes” of killer whales that differ in size and the patterns on their body. The painstaking work comparing many images dating back to 2008 confirmed the presence of Antarctic types B and C killer whales in our coastal waters. The image shows a Type C killer whale off Sydney.
It is impossible to over-stress the important role of citizen science in this discovery. It is not an accident. It takes strong and wide networks of professional and community members to share images, along with the leadership to sustain interest and painstakingly tease out questions and new understandings.
The full description is published in the current issue of Aquatic Mammals and is authored by David M. Donnelly, Josh D. McInnes, K. Curt S. Jenner, Micheline-Nicole M. Jenner, and Margie Morrice.