[MARMAM] New Paper: Movements of gray whales between the western and eastern North Pacific

Dave Weller dave.weller at noaa.gov
Wed Sep 12 13:16:24 PDT 2012


The following article has recently been published in Endangered Species
Research:

Weller, D.W., Klimek, A., Bradford, A.L., Calambokidis, J., Lang, A.R.,
Gisborne, B., Burdin, A.M., Szaniszlo, W., Urbán, J., Gomez-Gallardo
Unzueta, A., Swartz, S. and Brownell, R.L., Jr. 2012. Movements of gray
whales between the western and eastern North Pacific. 18:193-199

ABSTRACT: The western North Pacific (WNP) population of gray whales
*Eschrichtius
robustus* is redlisted by the IUCN as Critically Endangered. As part of a
long-term study on whales off Sakhalin Island, Russia, photo-catalog
comparisons of gray whales in the western and eastern North Pacific (ENP)
were undertaken to assess population mixing. These comparisons involved 2
approaches: (1) a systematic comparison of the WNP ‘Sakhalin Catalog’ to an
ENP ‘Pacific Northwest Catalog’ that consisted of images from the northwest
coast of North America and (2) a non-systematic comparison of the WNP
‘Sakhalin Catalog’ to an ENP ‘Laguna San Ignacio Catalog’ that consisted of
images from central Baja California, Mexico. The Sakhalin to Pacific
Northwest comparison consisted of 181 and 1064 whales, respectively, and
resulted in 6 matches (3 males, 2 females, and 1 whale of unknown sex). All
sightings of ‘Sakhalin whales’ in the Pacific Northwest occurred off
southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The Sakhalin to Laguna
San Ignacio comparison consisted of 181 and 2514 whales, respectively, and
resulted in 4 matches (2 males and 2 females). As the Pacific Northwest and
Laguna San Ignacio catalogs represent only a small fraction of the total
estimated number of individuals in the ENP population (~19000), it is
likely that more WNP/ENP exchange has occurred than was detected by these
photo-catalog comparisons. Although these matches provide new records of
movements between the WNP and ENP, recent observations of gray whales off
Japan and China suggest that not all gray whales identified in the WNP
share a common wintering ground.

A pdf reprint is available on request <dave.weller at noaa.gov> or can be
freely downloaded from: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v18/n3/


David W. Weller, Ph.D.
Protected Resources Division
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
3333 North Torrey Pines Court
La Jolla, CA 92037-1022 USA

Tel: 1+858-546-5674
E-mail: dave.weller at noaa.gov
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