Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Using Citizen Science to Analyse Interconnectivity of the E1 Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Populations in Two Eastern Australia Bays (#486)

Jill M Corey 1 , Olaf Meynecke 1 2
  1. Griffith University, Southport, QUEENSLAND, Australia
  2. Centre for Coastal and Marine Research, Griffith, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

The E1 population of humpback whales annually migrate along the eastern coast of Australia on both their northward and southward migration. During the migration, individuals within this population are known to stop and spend time in specific areas such as Hervey Bay and Gold Coast Bay. Little is known about the interconnectivity of the population between these areas. This study aims to use fluke photographs collected via citizen science to identify individuals that are sighted in both Hervey and Gold Coast Bay. Specifically using Happywhale – an online citizen-science based platform –to identify and catalogue individuals to assess the resident and return time in the E1 humpback whale population in both bays.  Understanding how the resident and return time of humpbacks whales has shifted in these particular areas can provide valuable insights to the E1 population of humpbacks migration routes, and any notable changes, over the past decade.