All scientific data collected by the Australian Antarctic program (AAp) are eventually described in the Catalogue of Australian Antarctic and Subantarctic Metadata (CAASM). CAASM can be used to search through AAp data descriptions, and it also provides links to access publicly available datasets, which can either be immediately downloaded or obtained from the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC).
This dataset is a collection of dedicated humpback whale sightings and effort from a double platform line transect aerial survey program conducted in the Great Barrier Reef. The survey was undertaken 3-10 August 2012 using a Partenavia Observer P-68B six-seater, twin engine, high-wing aircraft at a ground speed of 100 knots in passing mode at an altitude of 1000 ft. The survey was undertaken to coincide with peak humpback whale abundance within the breeding season, when it is assumed whales are utilising habitat important to their breeding behaviour and not engaging in migratory behaviour. For more details of the survey see:
Smith, J. N., N. Kelly, and I. W. Renner. 2020. Validation of presence-only models for management applications: humpback whale breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Ecological Applications. Accepted.
Smith, J. N., Kelly, N., Childerhouse, S., Redfern, J. V., Moore, T. J. and Peel, D. (2020) Quantifying ship strike risk to breeding whales in a multiple-use marine park: the Great Barrier Reef. Frontiers in Marine Science 7:1-15. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00067
Data were collected under the Australian Marine Mammal Grant Program for project 11/15 ‘Identification of humpback whale breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef: validation of a spatial habitat model’.
The extent of the humpback whale breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was investigated in 2010 using spatial habitat modelling of presence only data under the Australian Marine Mammal Grant Program for project 0809/8 ‘Review of existing sighting datasets to assess the spatial and temporal distribution of humpback whales within the Great Barrier Reef for identifying potential breeding/calving grounds’. For more details see:
Smith, J. N., H. S. Grantham, N. Gales, M. C. Double, M. J. Noad, and D. Paton. 2012. Identification of humpback whale breeding habitat in the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series 447:259-272. doi: 10.3354/meps09462.
The 2012 aerial survey was designed based on the results of the predictive spatial habitat modelling project and satellite tag data collected by the Australian Marine Mammal Centre in 2009. Three regions within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area were surveyed based on their different habitat suitability and probability of humpback whale occurrence; offshore of Cairns (low), Townsville (medium) and Mackay (high).
This dataset is from a dedicated aerial survey designed to maximise detection of humpback whales as the target species. The data has been processed from transcriptions of raw sightings, reconciled to identify re-sights between the double platform observers and incorporates effort and environmental data.
These data are publicly available for download from the provided URL.
This data set conforms to the CCBY Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at http://data.aad.gov.au/aadc/metadata/citation.cfm?entry_id=AMMC_11-15_GBR_humpback_aerial_survey when using these data.