[MARMAM] New paper: Year-round distribution and residency patterns of killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska

Hannah Myers hmyers8 at alaska.edu
Mon Oct 18 09:19:30 PDT 2021


My coauthors and I are pleased to share our new paper on the year-round
distribution and residency patterns of killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska,
published open access in *Scientific Reports*.

Myers, H.J., Olsen, D.W., Matkin, C.O., Horstmann, L.A., Konar, B.H.
Passive acoustic monitoring of killer whales (*Orcinus orca*) reveals
year-round distribution and residency patterns in the Gulf of Alaska. *Sci
Rep* *11*, 20284 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99668-0

Abstract
Killer whales (*Orcinus orca*) are top predators throughout the world’s
oceans. In the North Pacific, the species is divided into three
ecotypes—resident (fish-eating), transient (mammal-eating), and offshore
(largely shark-eating)—that are genetically and acoustically distinct and
have unique roles in the marine ecosystem. In this study, we examined the
year-round distribution of killer whales in the northern Gulf of Alaska
from 2016 to 2020 using passive acoustic monitoring. We further described
the daily acoustic residency patterns of three killer whale populations
(southern Alaska residents, Gulf of Alaska transients, and AT1 transients)
for one year of these data. Highest year-round acoustic presence occurred
in Montague Strait, with strong seasonal patterns in Hinchinbrook Entrance
and Resurrection Bay. Daily acoustic residency times for the southern
Alaska residents paralleled seasonal distribution patterns. The majority of
Gulf of Alaska transient detections occurred in Hinchinbrook Entrance in
spring. The depleted AT1 transient killer whale population was most often
identified in Montague Strait. Passive acoustic monitoring revealed that
both resident and transient killer whales used these areas much more
extensively than previously known and provided novel insights into high use
locations and times for each population. These results may be driven by
seasonal foraging opportunities and social factors and have management
implications for this species.

Thank you,

Hannah

Hannah Myers
PhD Student
College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
University of Alaska Fairbanks
hmyers8 at alaska.edu
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