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Humpback Whales of the Central and Eastern North Pacific: A Catalog of Individual Identification Photographs.

Photo identification of individual humpback whales has grown in use and a guide for that is "Humpback Whales of the Central and Eastern North Pacific' " subtitled A Catalog of Individual Identification Photographs," which is edited by Anjanette Perry, Joseph R. Mobley, Jr., C. Scott Baker, and Louis M. Herman. The authors are affiliated with the University of Hawaii's Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory and the volume is published by the University's Sea Grant College Program, 1000 Pope Road, MSB 200, Honolulu, HI 96822.

While the catalog is the greatest part of the book, the text accompanying it provides good background and reference information on the distribution of humpback whales in the world's oceans, their status prior to protection from whaling, and the locations where the photographs for the catalog were made. A section on the use of natural markings tells how scientists have used color and marking patterns to identify individual whales within a population. Another section explains how the whales and their flukes are photographed and how comparisons between the photos are made. Also included is a summary of research findings on the species' natural history, including their seasonal migrations, estimates of abundance, and remarks on reproductive roles and social behavior. An appendix summarizes protective legislation for preventing whale harassment by vessels. But it is the 158-page catalog of whale-tail photographs, 8 per page, provided by many marine mammal specialists, that forms the core of the book. The vast majority are from Hawaii (634) and Southeastern Alaska (464). Ninety five photographs came from the western Gulf of Alaska, 36 from Mexican waters, and just 18 from California the species' five major feeding or breeding areas. A total of 1,247 photographs are published, and a photograph of a particular whale appears only once within a region, but if photographed also in another region, that photo is printed there too. A total of 105 whales were resighted in more than one region, and a second Index Il provides the resight numbers of these whales, and lists the regions where each one was sighted. The observation index (Index I) is organized by observation number, and when using the catalog, a specific photograph should first be referenced using that number. Cost of the plasticbound, 233-page volume is $15.00 and it will probably be used widely by both scientific and recreational watchers of the humpback whale.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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