[MARMAM] New publication on Stejneger's beaked whale strandings in Alaska

Kate Savage - NOAA Affiliate kate.savage at noaa.gov
Tue Mar 16 16:34:17 PDT 2021

On behalf of all co-authors, we are pleased to share our recent publication:

Savage, K. N., K. Burek-Huntington, S. K. Wright, A. L. Bryan, G.
Sheffield, M. Webber, R. Stimmelmayr, P. Tuomi, M. A. Delaney and W.
Walker. 2021. Stejneger’s beaked whale strandings in Alaska, 1995 - 2020.
Marine Mammal Science 2021; 1-27. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12780

To request a copy of the paper, please contact *kate.savage at noaa.gov
<kate.savage at noaa.gov>*

Abstract:  Presented is the first comprehensive and updated compilation of
history, distribution, and findings of Stejneger's beaked whales (*Mesoplodon
stejnegeri*) in Alaska. Stejneger's beaked whales are a poorly understood,
elusive, deep-diving cetacean species found in the North Pacific Ocean.
Since Stejneger's beaked whale strandings data in Alaska through 1994 were
last published, 35 additional strandings have been documented. Twenty-seven
animals stranded in the Aleutian Islands, seven stranded in Southcentral
Alaska, and one animal stranded on St. Lawrence Island. Twenty-two
carcasses were necropsied, but only four were fresh. Seventeen of the 22
died during mass stranding events and cause of death could not be
definitively determined. Barotrauma was suspected in three cases and
infectious disease possibly complicated by barotrauma occurred in two
cases. We documented an expansion of strandings into the northern Bering
Sea, characterized a sex bias, examined stomach contents that included
macroplastic, and identified parasites not previously associated with
Stejneger's beaked whales. Also included are data on the largest known mass
stranding of Stejneger's beaked whales, which occurred on Adak Island in
2018. The history, distribution, and findings presented here are central to
further our understanding of this species.

Kate Savage, DVM

Health Specialist and Data Manager

Contractor with Alaska Biosystems for

Protected Resources Division

NOAA Fisheries

Juneau, AK.

(907) 586-7209
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