Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Late summer distribution and abundance of ice-associated whales in the Norwegian High Arctic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Jade Vacquié-Garcia, Christian Lydersen, Tiago A. Marques, Jon Aars, Heidi Ahonen, Mette Skern-Mauritzen, Nils Øien, Kit M. Kovacs

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The Arctic is experiencing rapid warming, and resultant sea ice losses represent a serious threat to ice-associated species in the region. This study explored the distribution and abundance of the 3 Arctic resident whale species: narwhals, bowhead and white whales, in the marginal ice zone and into the sea ice north of the Svalbard Archipelago. Line-transect surveys were conducted using a combination of helicopter-based and ship-based efforts in August 2015. Twenty-six sightings, involving 27 bowhead whales and 58 narwhals, occurred along the helicopter transects, while no whales were recorded along ship transects. No white whales were observed during these surveys. After correcting for surface availability, distance sampling produced abundance estimates of 343 (CV = 0.488) bowhead whales and 837 (CV = 0.501) narwhals within the 52 919 km(2) study area. Bowhead whales were predominantly seen close to the ice-edge, whereas narwhals were located deeper into the ice. To contextualize these results within the broader Svalbard cetacean community, all whale sightings from the Norwegian Polar Institute's Svalbard Marine Mammal Sighting Data Base, from the period of the survey, were mapped to compare general distributions. These opportunistic sightings included numerous cetacean species, especially seasonally occurring ones. However, white whales dominated in terms of the numbers of individuals reported. Our results suggest little spatial overlap between seasonally occurring whales and the 3 Arctic resident whales. Bowhead whales and narwhals were tightly associated with sea ice, and white whales were tightly coastal. In contrast, the seasonally occurring species were found over the shelf and along its edges.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalEndangered Species Research
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2017

    Research areas

  • Abundance, Arctic, Belugas, Bowhead whales, Climate change, Distribution, Narwhals, Svalbard, White whales

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Density estimation of sound-producing terrestrial animals using single automatic acoustic recorders and distance sampling

    Sebastián-González, E., Camp, R. J., Tanimoto, A. M., de Oliveira, P. M., Lima, B. B., Marques, T. A. & Hart, P. J. 1 Dec 2018 In : Avian Conservation and Ecology. 13, 2, 16 p., 7

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Corrigendum: The number and distribution of polar bears in the western Barents Sea

    Aars, J., Marques, T. A., Lone, K., Andersen, M., Wiig, Ø., Fløystad, I. M. B., Hagen, S. B. & Buckland, S. T. 22 May 2018 In : Polar Research. 37, 1, 1457880

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

  3. How to fit the distribution of apex scavengers into land‐abandonment scenarios? The Cinereous vulture in the Mediterranean biome

    García‐Barón, I., Cortés‐Avizanda, A., Verburg, P. H., Marques, T. A., Moreno‐Opo, R., Pereira, H. M., Donázar, J. A. & Brotons, L. 16 Apr 2018 In : Diversity and Distributions. Early View, 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Evaluating the effect of measurement error in pairs of 3D bearings in point transect sampling estimates of density

    Marques, T. A., Duarte, P., Peixe, T., Moretti, D. & Thomas, L. 27 Mar 2018 University of St Andrews. 72 p. (CREEM Technical Report; no. 2018-1)

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  5. Comparing methods suitable for monitoring marine mammals in low visibility conditions during seismic surveys

    Verfuss, U. K., Gillespie, D., Gordon, J., Marques, T. A., Miller, B., Plunkett, R., Theriault, J. A., Tollit, D. J., Zitterbart, D. P., Hubert, P. & Thomas, L. Jan 2018 In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 126, p. 1-18 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Related by journal

  1. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Smout, S. C. (Reviewer)
    7 Mar 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Arso Civil, M. (Reviewer)
    2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Northridge, S. (Guest editor)
    2012

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

  4. Endangered Species Research (Journal)

    Jason Matthiopoulos (Editor)
    2007 → …

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

Related by journal

  1. Loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta density and abundance in Chesapeake Bay and the temperate ocean waters of the southern portion of the Mid-Atlantic Bight

    Barco, S. G., Burt, M. L., DiGiovanni, R. A., Swingle, W. M. & Williard, A. S. 13 Dec 2018 In : Endangered Species Research. 37, p. 269-287 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Animal Counting Toolkit: a practical guide to small-boat surveys for estimating abundance of coastal marine mammals

    Williams, R., Ashe, E. E., Gaut, K., Gryba, R., Moore, J. E., Rexstad, E., Sandilands, D., Steventon, J. & Reeves, R. 10 Aug 2017 In : Endangered Species Research. 34, p. 149-165 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Assigning stranded bottlenose dolphins to source stocks using stable isotope ratios following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    Hohn, A. A., Thomas, L., Carmichael, R. H., Litz, J., Clemons-Chevis, C., Shippee, S. F., Sinclair, C., Smith, S., Speakman, T. R., Tumlin, M. C. & Zolman, E. S. 31 Jan 2017 In : Endangered Species Research. 33, p. 235-252 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Quantifying injury to common bottlenose dolphins from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using an age-, sex- and class-structured population model

    Schwacke, L. H., Thomas, L., Wells, R. S., McFee, W. E., Hohn, A. A., Mullin, K. D., Zolman, E. S., Quigley, B. M., Rowles, T. K. & Schwacke, J. H. 31 Jan 2017 In : Endangered Species Research. 33, p. 265-279 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249597620