Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete

I currently work as a professor at the place where I obtained my degree on Marine Biology and a Dr.Sc. in Ecology: Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia, Chile. I am also Director of a small local NGO, the Blue Whale Center ( and proud member of the CSG and Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission.

I am interested in marine mammal ecology and conservation biology, broadly integrating knowledge from several sub-disciplines to better understand and protect marine systems. I am especially keen on using this understanding to support decision-making that solves environmental problems. My main research interests are: (i) investigating the role and performance of marine mammals using ecological indicators for determining ecosystem state and health, (ii) understanding multi-scale processes in determining ecological patterns of pelagic predators using habitat assessment tools such as satellite tracking, remote sensing and GIS and (iii) unveiling the effects of past and present anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems while also trying to propose adequate solutions.

My early work centered on ship-based surveys for cetaceans throughout Chile’s oceanic islands and the Southern Ocean, while later I focused on the population dynamics and other ecological aspects of Antarctic fur seals at Cape Shirreff, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. A large focus of my recent work has revolved around large whales in southern Chile, mainly researching the largest of them all, the blue whale. While we consolidate a marine mammal research program in northern Chilean Patagonia, we aim at strongly promoting the establishment of Marine Protected Areas in Chile, which are a tool for conserving not only cetaceans but the ecosystem as a whole.

Hucke-Gaete, R., L.P. Osman, C.A. Moreno, K.P. Findlay & D.K. Ljungblad (2004). Discovery of a blue whale feeding and nursing ground in southern Chile. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. Ser. B 271: S170–S173.

Osman, L.P., R. Hucke-Gaete, C.A. Moreno & D. Torres (2004). Feeding ecology of the Antarctic fur seal at Cape Shirreff, South Shetlands, Antarctica. Polar Biology 27: 92-98.

Hucke-Gaete, R., L.P. Osman, C.A. Moreno & D. Torres (2004) Examining natural population growth from near extinction: the case of the Antarctic fur seal at the South Shetlands, Antarctica. Polar Biology 27: 304-311.

Hucke-Gaete, R., C.A. Moreno & J.A. Arata (2004). Operational interactions between cetaceans and the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) industrial fishery off southern Chile. CCAMLR Science 11: 127-140.

Moreno, C.A., J. A. Arata, P. Rubilar, R. Hucke-Gaete & G. Robertson (2006) Artisanal longline fisheries in Southern Chile: Lessons to be learned to avoid incidental seabird mortality. Biological Conservation 127: 27-36.

Branch, T.A., K.M. Stafford, D.M. Palacios, C. Allison, J.L. Bannister, C.L.K. Burton, E. Cabrera, C.A. Carlson, B. Galletti Vernazzani, P.C. Gill, R. Hucke-Gaete, K.C.S. Jenner, M-N.M. Jenner, K. Matsuoka, Y.A. Mikhalev, T. Miyashita, M.G. Morrice, S. Nishiwaki, V.J. Sturrock, D. Tormosov, R.C. Anderson, A.N. Baker, P.B. Best, P. Borsa, R.L. Brownell Jr, S. Childerhouse, K.P. Findlay, T. Gerrodette, A.D. Ilangakoon, M. Joergensen, B. Kahn, D.K. Ljungblad, B. Maughan, R.D. McCauley, S. Mckay, T.F. Norris, Oman Whale and Dolphin Research Group, S. Rankin, F. Samaran, D. Thiele, K. van Waerebeek & R.M. Warneke (2007). Past and present distribution, densities and movements of blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere and adjacent waters. Mammal Review 37(2): 116-175.

Buchan, S., L. Rendell & R. Hucke-Gaete (2009). Preliminary recordings of blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) vocalizations in the Gulf of Corcovado, northern Patagonia, Chile. Marine Mammal Science 26(2): 451-459.

Viddi, F.A., R. Hucke-Gaete, J.P. Torres-Florez & S. Ribeiro (2010). Spatial and temporal variability of cetacean distribution in the fjords of northern Patagonia, Chile. ICES Journal of Marine Science 67: 959-970.

Olavarría, C., J. Acevedo, H. Vester, J. Zamorano-Abramson, F. Viddi, J. Gibbons, E. Newcombe, J. Capella, A.R. Hoelzel, M. Flores, R. Hucke-Gaete & J.P. Torres-Flórez (2010). Southernmost distribution of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Eastern South Pacific. Aquatic Mammals 36(3): 288-293. DOI 10.1578/AM.36.3.2010.288

Hucke-Gaete, R. (2011). Whales might also be an important component in Patagonian fjord ecosystems: Reply to Iriarte et al. AMBIO 40(1): 104-105. DOI 10.1007/s13280-010-0110-8.

Viddi, F.A., R.G. Harcourt, R. Hucke-Gaete, I.C. Field (2011). Fine–scale movement patterns of the sympatric Chilean and Peale’s dolphins in the northern Patagonian fjords, Chile. Marine Ecology Progress Series 436: 245-256. Doi:10.3354/meps09251.

Torres-Florez, J.P., R. Hucke-Gaete, H. Rosenbaum & C. C. Figueroa (2012). Isolation and characterization of nine new polymorphic microsatellite loci for blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Conservation Genetics Resources 4(4):1023-1025. DOI 10.1007/s12686-012-9698-2.

Reyes, P. R. Hucke-Gaete & J.P. Torres-Florez (2012). First observations of operational interactions between bottom-trawling fisheries and South American sea lion, Otaria flavescens in south-central Chile. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93(2): 489-494. DOI: 10.1017/S0025315412001282.

Hucke-Gaete, R., D. Haro, J. P. Torres-Florez, Y. Montecinos, F.A. Viddi, L. Bedriñana & J. Ruiz (2013). A historical feeding ground for humpback whales in the Eastern South Pacific revisited: the case of northern Patagonia, Chile. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2343.**

Acevedo, J., D. Haro, L. Dalla-Rosa, A. Aguayo-Lobo, R. Hucke-Gaete, E. Secchi, J. Plana & L.A. Pastene (2013). Potential isolation among feeding grounds of the Eastern South Pacific humpback whale population. Endangered Species Research 22: 33-38. DOI: 10.3354/esr00536.
Buchan, S.J., R. Hucke-Gaete, L. Rendell & K. Stafford (in press). A new song recorded from blue whales in the Corcovado Gulf, Southern Chile, and an acoustic link to the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Endangered Species Research.

BOOKS & book chapters:

Hucke-Gaete, R., F. Viddi & M. Bello (2006). MARINE CONSERVATION IN SOUTHERN CHILE: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHILOE-CORCOVADO REGION FOR BLUE WHALES, BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Published by Centro Ballena Azul (CBA) & Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Imprenta América. 109 pp (bilingual).

Hucke-Gaete, R., P. Lo Moro y J. Ruiz (eds.) (2010). CONSERVANDO EL MAR DE CHILOÉ, PALENA Y GUAITECAS. Síntesis del estudio “Investigación para el desarrollo de Área Marina Costera Protegida Chiloé, Palena y Guaitecas”, ejecutado por la Universidad Austral de Chile, mandatado por Conama Región de Los Lagos y financiado por el Gobierno Regional de Los Lagos, Chile, a través del Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Regional (Código BIP #30040215-0). Imprenta América. ~320 pp.

Hucke-Gaete, R. y J. Ruiz (2010). GUÍA DE CAMPO DE LAS AVES Y MAMÍFEROS MARINOS DEL SUR DE CHILE. CONAMA, GORE Los Lagos y Universidad Austral de Chile. Imprenta América. ~140 pp.