Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Monitor Habitat Use By Rare North Pacific Right Whales In Bering Sea And Gulf Of Alaska

Date:
June 23, 2005
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
The small population of North Pacific right whales is one of the most critically endangered whale populations in the world. Recently these whales have been recognized as a different species from right whales seen in the North Atlantic and others in the Southern Hemisphere. To define ecological parameters critical to the survival of right whales, habitat use was investigated by scientists at the NOAA. These results were published recently in the journal Mammal Review.

The small population of North Pacific right whales, found during the summer in Alaska waters, is one of the most critically endangered whale populations in the world. Commercial whaling in the 1800s has now left us with only a few dozens. Recently these whales have been recognized as a different species from right whales seen in the North Atlantic and others in the Southern Hemisphere. To help define areas and ecological parameters critical to the survival of this remnant population of right whales, habitat use was investigated by scientists at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's, National Marine Mammal Laboratory, in Seattle, Washington by examining all available sighting and catch records in the southeastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska over the past two centuries. These results were published recently in the journal Mammal Review.

Based on re-analyses of whaling records and surveys, important areas appeared to be (1) the Southeastern Bering Sea slope and shelf, (2) eastern Aleutian Islands, and (3) Gulf of Alaska slope and abyssal plain. Since 1980, the only area where right whales have been seen consistently is on the middle-shelf of the Southeastern Bering Sea. However, acoustic detections and single sightings have been reported in most other regions. In fact, the results of this study refute conclusions in another study that a "habitat shift" occurred when right whales moved from deep continental slope waters in the SEBS during the 1940s to 1960s to now occupy "a different habitat" on the middle-shelf of the SEBS. Given that right whales have been seen in middle-shelf waters from the 19th century to the present, it appears that the SEBS middle shelf was and continues to be important habitat for this species. Although there has been a conspicuous absence of right whale sightings from the outer shelf and slope habitat in recent years, this may be due, at least in part, to a lack of survey effort there. Results of acoustic recorder deployments along the slope are much anticipated.

All sightings since 1979 were in waters less than 200 m deep which may simply reflect the paucity of search effort elsewhere. From the commercial whaling era to the late-1960s, right whales were commonly seen in waters greater than 2000 m deep, indicating that their distribution is not restricted to shallow continental shelves. North Pacific right whale sightings through the centuries have been associated with a wide variety of oceanic features, and there is little in common in the bathymetry of these regions. These whales appear to have a greater pelagic distribution than that observed in the North Atlantic -- perhaps because of the wider availability of larger copepods in Alaskan waters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Scientists Monitor Habitat Use By Rare North Pacific Right Whales In Bering Sea And Gulf Of Alaska." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050622142743.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2005, June 23). Scientists Monitor Habitat Use By Rare North Pacific Right Whales In Bering Sea And Gulf Of Alaska. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050622142743.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Scientists Monitor Habitat Use By Rare North Pacific Right Whales In Bering Sea And Gulf Of Alaska." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050622142743.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins