[MARMAM] New paper on Bowhead Whale Temporal Patterns & Habitat Preferences

Niki Diogou niki.diogou at gmail.com
Mon Mar 27 22:49:52 PDT 2023

Dear Marmam community,

My colleagues and I are pleased to share with you our latest
publication on *Bowhead
whale year-round acoustic presence and habitat associations in the Amundsen
Gulf, Western Canadian Arctic, 2018–2019*, published online in Progress of


Understanding the temporal and spatial distribution of bowhead whales is
ecologically and culturally important in the context of a rapidly changing
climate. Long-term monitoring can reveal alterations in the bowhead whale
distribution range, spatiotemporal patterns, and migration phenology that
can be responses to global change. However, Arctic ecosystems are
challenging to monitor. Here, we deployed passive acoustic recorders at
three locations in the southern Amundsen Gulf (western Canadian Arctic)
between September 2018 and September 2019 to detect bowhead whale presence,
quantify their seasonal occurrence, and examine the oceanographic
conditions that correlate with bowhead occurrence. Results show clear
seasonal patterns in the occurrence of bowheads with increased acoustic
presence in spring/summer at all sites. In contrast to their typical
migratory behavior, bowhead sounds were detected throughout the year at all
sites, providing evidence of a number of overwintering animals in what is
normally their summer feeding ground. The continuous occupancy of bowheads
from May to August at all sites emphasizes the importance of this area as a
core foraging ground for this population. Our results indicate a clear
selection for the shallowest habitat over an annual cycle. Statistical
habitat modeling indicated associations between bowhead occurrence and
decreasing sea-ice coverage, wind speed, temperature, and salinity.
Positive relationships between bowhead detections and zooplankton density
suggest a predator-prey dynamic. These results are the first that cover an
entire annual cycle of bowhead presence in the southern Amundsen Gulf,
providing new knowledge and current status of bowhead habitat use to
support effective management under ongoing Arctic change.

The manuscript is available open access at:


Please contact me with any comments or questions.

I hope you enjoy the read,


Niki Diogou, PhD
*Post-Doctoral Fellow*

School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, *University of Victoria  *
Western Arctic Program,* Wildlife Conservation Society Canada*

<ndiogou at uvic.ca>*niki.diogou at gmail.com <ndiogou at uvic.ca>*
<ndiogou at uvic.ca> |  <ndiogou at uvic.ca> <ndiogou at uvic.ca>
*ndiogou at uvic.ca <ndiogou at uvic.ca>  |  ndiogou at wcs.org <ndiogou at wcs.org>
|  +1 236 591 4005*
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