[MARMAM] New paper on North Pacific humpback whale telemetry.

Amy Kennedy - NOAA Federal amy.kennedy at noaa.gov
Mon Mar 10 09:07:35 PDT 2014

I am pleased to announce the publication of the following paper
detailing the fine-scale movement of humpback whales satellite-tracked
in the eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea:

Kennedy AS, Zerbini AN, Rone BK, Clapham PJ.  (2014). Individual
variation in movements of satellite-tracked humpback whales
(*Megaptera novaeangliae*) in the eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering
Sea. Endangered Species Research, 23, 187-195.

ABSTRACT: Humpback whales utilize waters off the Aleutian Islands and
Bering Sea as foraging

grounds during summer months. Currently, the fine-scale movements of
humpback whales within

these feeding grounds are poorly understood. In the summers of 2007 to
2011, 8 humpback whales were tracked with satellite tags deployed near
Unalaska Bay. Individuals were tracked for an average of 28 d (range = 8-67
d). Three whales remained within 50 km of their tagging locations for
approximately 14 d, while 2 others explored areas near the northern shore
of Unalaska Bay and Unimak Pass. Two whales moved west: one traveled to the
Island of Four Mountains and returned to the northern side of Umnak Island,
while the other moved through Umnak Pass and explored feeding areas on both
sides of Umnak Island. Remarkably, 1 individual left Unalaska Bay soon after
tagging and moved ~1500 km (in 12 d) along the outer Bering Sea shelf to
the southern Chukotka Peninsula, Russia, then east across the Bering Sea
basin to Navarin Canyon, where it remained until transmissions ceased. Most
area-restricted search (i.e. foraging) was limited to waters shallower than
1000 m, while movement into deeper water was often associated with
travel behavior.
Tagged animals spent more time on the Bering Sea shelf and slope than the
North Pacific. Movement patterns show individual variation, but are likely
influenced by seasonal productivity. This study provides evidence that
although humpbacks aggregate in well-known foraging areas, individuals may
perform remarkably long trips during the feeding season.

KEY WORDS: Humpback whale · Satellite telemetry · Aleutian Islands ·
Feeding ground · Movements

A pdf of this manuscript can be downloaded from the Endangered Species
Research website: *http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v23/n2/p187-195/


Amy S. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Cetacean Research Biologist
National Marine Mammal Laboratory
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
Seattle, WA 98115

tel (206) 526-4141
fax (206) 526-6615
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