[MARMAM] New publication on the effects of sea ice on growth rates of an endangered population of gray whales

Glenn Gailey GGailey at cetaecoresearch.com
Mon Feb 3 19:03:25 PST 2020


On behalf of my co-authors, I would like to announce a new open access
publication in Scientific Reports on the effects of sea ice on growth rates
of an endangered population of gray whales available at
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58435-3.  

 

Gailey, G., Sychenko, O., Tyurneva, O. Yakovlev, Y., Vertyankin, V., van der
Wolf, P., Drozdov, K. & Zhmaev, I.  Effects of sea ice on growth rates of an
endangered population of gray whales. Sci Rep 10, 1553 (2020).
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58435-3.

 

Abstract: The western gray whale population is endangered with approximately
175 individuals and 33 known reproductive females. Photo-identification
studies were conducted from 2002-2017 during the gray whale foraging season
off northeastern Sakhalin Island, Russia. Despite abundant prey resources,
significant variation in whales' body condition, inter-birth intervals and
calf survival have been documented with limited understanding of factors
that account for the observed variability. We examine sea ice concentrations
at their known foraging grounds to define the maximum duration of a
"foraging season". We explore the relationship between foraging season
length during a female's pregnancy and post-weaning calf survival and
reproduction. Approximately 77% of the variation in calf survival, which
ranged annually from 10-80%, was associated with the duration of the feeding
season while the mother was pregnant. Poor body conditions and prolonged
inter-birth intervals of western gray whales have also been documented to
coincide with shorter duration in feeding seasons found in this study. These
results imply that shorter foraging seasons are associated with reduced
energy intake by physically limiting the number of days gray whales can
forage, and thus sea ice conditions may be one limiting factor affecting
growth rates of this endangered population of baleen whales.

 

Be well,

 

Glenn Gailey

 

 

 

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