For much of the past two centuries, sperm whaling has been economically very profitable, and therefore whalers and, more recently, scientists have tried to understand Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) distribution and the factors controlling it. However, due to their deep-living mode of life, their cosmopolitan distribution and our limited knowledge about their main prey species, the task has proved very difficult. This paper reviews studies of Sperm Whale distribution and the fac- tors controlling it. The conclusions of these studies are very equivocal and often appear to contradict one another. It is suggested that this apparent confusion is mainly due to poorly defined spatial and temporal scales, the use of only one scale in most studies and the absence of considera- tion of the spatial and temporal scales at which relevant oceanographic processes occur. It is concluded that multiscale studies, covering the scales of oceanographic process, are needed to ob- tain a better understanding of Sperm Whale distribution.
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