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Historical strandings of cetaceans on the Portuguese coast
Sousa, A., Kot, C. 2012. Historical strandings of cetaceans on the Portuguese coast. Escola de Mar.
Contact: Sousa, Andreia

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Our objective was to document cetacean species presence over time along the mainland coast of Portugal through the use of historical written records of strandings. more

Large whale strandings have always been intriguing to people through the centuries. The size and strangeness of these events always attracted popular attention, and were, later on, a source for food, oil and other products.

Our goal was to document species occurrence over time along the mainland coast of Portugal through the use of historical records as they can provide useful information on cetacean species. A total of 38 historical records from the 16th to the 20th Century were collected from several Portuguese institutes and personal archives.

Results show an increasing awareness of the scientific importance of strandings reflected throughout the years in number and in the detail of the strandings. The most common stranded species recorded was Physeter macrocephalus followed by Balaenoptera physalus. Even though historical stranding records are sparse for mainland Portugal, the information gathered indicates a high diversity of cetaceans.

We also addressed the evolution of the historical records in aspects such as in number of records, description detail, pictures' content and scientific accuracy. We were able to establish relationships linking strandings, local fishing communities, the general public, and particularly the contribution of early 20th Century zoologists. Results indicate that reports made by local fishing communities and the role of naturalists and science journals of the 19th and early 20th Century was of considerable relevance to the present knowledge about cetaceans, giving an important contribution to modern day cetacean studies.

Records did not include time information, so 00:00:00 was used and noted in the [Notes] column. When records did not include month and/or day information, January was used to fill the month and 1 was used to fill the day and noted in the [Notes] column. One record did not have latitude/longitude information, so the center of the Portugal coast was used and noted in the [Notes] column.

Biology > Mammals
Marine/Coastal, Historical records, Marine mammals, Stranding, ANE, Atlantic, Cetacea

Geographical coverage
ANE, Atlantic Stations [Marine Regions]
Portuguese Coast
Coordinates: MinLong: -9,48; MinLat: 37,07 - MaxLong: -8,11; MaxLat: 41,48 [WGS84]

Temporal coverage
1 January 1526 - 10 September 1977

Taxonomic coverage
Cetacea [WoRMS]

Animal sightings

Escola de Mar, moredata ownerdata provider
Sousa, Andreia

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EurOBIS: European Ocean Biodiversity Information System, more
OBIS-SEAMAP: Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations, more

Dataset status: Completed
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2012-08-01
Information last updated: 2013-04-25
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