Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Beluga whales in the western Beaufort Sea: current state of knowledge on timing, distribution, habitat use and environmental drivers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

Kathleen M. Stafford, Megan C. Ferguson, Donna D. W. Hauser, Stephen R. Okkonen, Catherine L. Berchok, John J. Citta, Janet T. Clarke, Ellen C. Garland, Joshua Jones, Robert S. Suydam

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The seasonal and geographic patterns in the distribution, residency, and density of two populations (Chukchi and Beaufort) of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were examined using data from aerial surveys, passive acoustic recordings, and satellite telemetry to better understand this arctic species in the oceanographically complex and changing western Beaufort Sea. An aerial survey data-based model of beluga density highlights the Beaufort Sea slope as important habitat for belugas, with westerly regions becoming more important as summer progresses into fall. The Barrow Canyon region always had the highest relative densities of belugas from July-October. Passive acoustic data showed that beluga whales occupied the Beaufort slope and Beaufort Sea from early April until early November and passed each hydrophone location in three broad pulses during this time. These pulses likely represent the migrations of the two beluga populations: the first pulse in spring being from Beaufort animals, the second spring pulse Chukchi belugas, with the third, fall pulse a combination of both populations. Core-use and home range analyses of satellite-tagged belugas showed similar use of habitats as the aerial survey data, but also showed that it is predominantly the Chukchi population of belugas that uses the western Beaufort, with the exception of September when both populations overlap. Finally, an examination of these beluga datasets in the context of wind-driven changes in the local currents and water masses suggests that belugas are highly capable of adapting to oceanographic changes that may drive the distribution of their prey.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-194
JournalDeep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Volume152
Early online date2 Dec 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, Alaska, Beaufort Sea, Aerial surveys, Satellite telemetry, Passive acoustic monitoring

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Cultural revolutions reduce complexity in the songs of humpback whales

    Allen, J. A., Garland, E. C., Dunlop, R. A. & Noad, M. J. 21 Nov 2018 In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 285, 1891, 6 p., 20182088

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Culturally transmitted song exchange between humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the southeast Atlantic and southwest Indian Ocean basins

    Rekdahl, M. L., Garland, E. C., Carvajal, G. A., King, C. D., Collins, T., Razafindrakoto, Y. & Rosenbaum, H. Nov 2018 In : Royal Society Open Science. 5, 15 p., 172305

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Using agent-based models to understand the role of individuals in the song evolution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    Mcloughlin, M., Lamoni, L., Garland, E. C., Ingram, S., Kirke, A., Noad, M. J., Rendell, L. & Miranda, E. 2018 In : Music & Science. 1, 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Using self-organizing maps to classify humpback whale song units and quantify their similarity

    Allen, J. A., Murray, A., Noad, M. J., Dunlop, R. A. & Garland, E. C. 10 Oct 2017 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 142, 4, p. 1943-1952

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. The devil is in the detail: quantifying vocal variation in a complex, multi-levelled, and rapidly evolving display

    Garland, E. C., Rendell, L., Lilley, M. S., Poole, M. M., Allen, J. & Noad, M. J. 31 Jul 2017 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 142, 1, p. 460-472 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography (Journal)

    Miller, P. (Editor)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Distribution, abundance and habitat use of deep diving cetaceans in the North-East Atlantic

    Rogan, E., Cañadas, A., Macleod, K., Santos, M. B., Mikkelsen, B., Uriarte, A., Van Canneyt, O., Antonio Vázquez, J. & Hammond, P. S. Jul 2017 In : Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 141, p. 8-19

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Estimating cetacean density and abundance in the Central and Western Mediterranean Sea through aerial surveys: implications for management

    Panigada, S., Lauriano, G., Donovan, G., Pierantonio, N., Cañadas, A., Vázquez, J. A. & Burt, L. Jul 2017 In : Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 141, p. 41-58 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Grey and harbour seals in France: distribution at sea, connectivity and trends in abundance at haulout sites

    Vincent, C., Huon, M., Caurant, F., Dabin, W., Deniau, A., Dixneuf, S., Dupuis, L., Elder, J-F., Fremau, M-H., Hassani, S., Hemon, A., Karpouzopoulos, J., Lefeuvre, C., McConnell, B. J., Moss, S. E. W., Provost, P., Spitz, J., Turpin, Y. & Ridoux, V. Jul 2017 In : Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 141, p. 294-305

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Harbour porpoise distribution can vary at small spatiotemporal scales in energetic habitats

    Benjamins, S., van Geel, N., Hastie, G., Elliott, J. & Wilson, B. Jul 2017 In : Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 141, p. 191-202 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 248117180