[MARMAM] New publication: Gray whale distribution relative to benthic invertebrate biomass and abundance: Northeastern Chukchi Sea

Amelia Brower - NOAA Federal amelia.brower at noaa.gov
Thu Feb 16 14:14:15 PST 2017

Dear MARMAM readers,

We are pleased to announce the following paper has been published online in
the journal Deep Sea Research II, Hanna Shoal Special Issue:

Brower, A.A., M.C. Ferguson, S.V. Schonberg, S.C. Jewett, and J.T. Clarke.
2017. Gray whale distribution relative to benthic invertebrate biomass and
abundance: Northeastern Chukchi Sea 2009-2012. Deep Sea Research II.

The shallow continental shelf waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas are the
northernmost foraging grounds of North Pacific gray whales (Eschrichtius
robustus).  Benthic amphipods are considered the primary prey of gray
whales in these waters, although no comprehensive quantitative analysis has
been performed to support this assumption.  Gray whale relative abundance,
distribution, and behavior in the northeastern Chukchi Sea (69°-72°N,
155°-169°W) were documented during aerial surveys in June-October
2009-2012.  Concurrently, vessel-based benthic infaunal sampling was
conducted in the area in July-August 2009-10, September 2011, and August
2012.  Gray whales were seen in the study area each month that surveys were
conducted, with the majority of whales feeding.  Statistical analyses
confirm that the highest densities of feeding gray whales were associated
with high benthic amphipod abundance, primarily within 70 km of shore from
Point Barrow to Icy Cape, in water <50 m deep. Conversely, gray whales were
not seen in 40-km x 40-km cells containing benthic sampling stations with
85 m-2 or fewer amphipods.  Continuing broad-scale aerial surveys in the
Chukchi Sea and prey sampling near feeding gray whales will be an important
means to monitor and document ongoing and predicted ecosystem changes.

Link to full text article:

If you would like a copy of the full text pdf, please contact me at:
amelia.brower at noaa.gov

Amelia Brower
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
University of Washington, and
Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program
Marine Mammal Laboratory
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
NOAA Fisheries
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