[MARMAM] whale seasonal distribution in the Gulf of Alaska

Dave Mellinger David.Mellinger at oregonstate.edu
Wed Dec 5 08:12:19 PST 2007

The following paper has just been published:

Stafford, K.M., D.K. Mellinger, S.E. Moore, and C.G. Fox. 2007. Seasonal variability and detection range modeling of baleen whale calls in the Gulf of Alaska, 1999-2002. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 122:3378-3390.

Five species of large whales, including the blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus), sei (B. borealis), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), and North Pacific right (Eubalaena japonica), were the target of commercial harvests in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) during the 19th through mid-20th Centuries. Since this time, there have been a few summertime visual surveys for these species, but no overview of year-round use of these waters by endangered whales primarily because standard visual survey data are difficult and costly. From October 1999-May 2002, moored hydrophones were deployed in six locations in the GoA to record whale calls. Reception of calls from fin, humpback, and blue whales and an unknown source, called Watkins’ whale, showed seasonal and geographic variation. Calls were detected more often during the winter than during the summer, suggesting that animals inhabit the GoA year-round. To estimate the distance at which species-diagnostic calls could be heard, par
abolic equation propagation loss models for frequencies characteristic of each of each call type were run. Maximum detection ranges in the subarctic North Pacific ranged from 45 to 250 km among three species (fin, humpback, blue), although modeled detection ranges varied greatly with input parameters and choice of ambient noise level.

Reprints are available at

More information about the MARMAM mailing list