Arctic Walrus Change Mass Haul Out Behavior

SeaDiscovery.com
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Arctic Walrus Haul Out: Photo courtesy of NOAA

NOAA scientists participating in this year's annual Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals project in Alaska say they have photographed an area where thousands of Pacific walruses haul out of the ocean on a remote barrier island in the Chukchi Sea, near Pt. Lay.

Scientists say it is difficult to provide an accurate count of the number of walruses densely packed together on coastal haulouts. Using aerial photographs, scientists estimated that this year's haulout at Pt. Lay initially contained 1,500 to 4,000 animals on Sept. 12. The number of walruses had increased to 5,500 to 8,000 when sighted on Sept. 22, and on Sept. 27, biologists estimated that there were approximately 10,000 walruses.

"Large walrus haulouts along the Alaskan coasts in the northeastern Chukchi Sea are a relatively new phenomenon," said Megan Ferguson, marine mammal scientist with NOAA Fisheries. "NOAA's research doesn't typically extend to studying walruses, since this is a species managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), so you can imagine how exciting it was for us to be able to collect such valuable data for our partner agencies."

In the past, walruses used sea ice habitat offshore in the northern Chukchi Sea as resting platforms in between dives to the bottom of the shallow Chukchi Sea where they feed on their preferred prey, including clams, snails and worms, during the summer and autumn. Due to loss of ice in offshore areas, walruses are foraging in more coastal areas and using beaches for resting (hauling out).

Conserving and restoring protected species such as whales is one of NOAA Fisheries' core missions. The goal of the surveys is to document the distribution and relative abundance of bowhead, gray, minke, fin whales, beluga whales and other marine mammals in areas of potential oil and natural gas exploration, development and production activities in the Alaskan Arctic.

This study is being funded and co-managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)'s environmental studies program.
 

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

There’s Still Time for SHIPPINGInsight Award Entries

Entry submissions for the first SHIPPINGInsight Award are due Friday, Aug. 1, but organizers said they will continue to accept nominations through following week to provide some extra time.

Rio Tinto Pulls Plug on Mozambique Coal Venture

Rio Tinto has agreed to sell coal assets it bought through a $4 billion acquisition of Riversdale in 2011 for just $50 million to an Indian joint venture, ending

MOL Ship Management Earns Energy/Enviromental Certifications

First company to receive ISO50001 certification from Nihon Kaiji Kyokai.   MOL Ship Management Co., Ltd. (MOLSHIP), a core ship management company in the corporate group headed by Mitsui O.

Environmental

There’s Still Time for SHIPPINGInsight Award Entries

Entry submissions for the first SHIPPINGInsight Award are due Friday, Aug. 1, but organizers said they will continue to accept nominations through following week to provide some extra time.

MOL Ship Management Earns Energy/Enviromental Certifications

First company to receive ISO50001 certification from Nihon Kaiji Kyokai.   MOL Ship Management Co., Ltd. (MOLSHIP), a core ship management company in the corporate group headed by Mitsui O.

Pumps Reach Sinking Shrimper Just in Time

A commercial fishing vessel from Brownsville is slowly making its way back to port, thanks to some quick actions by its crew and Coast Guard units, informs the US Coastguard,

Ocean Observation

Huge Waves Measured for First Time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend

Rosneft Starts Up Field Work in the Kara Sea

On July 24 this year, research vessel Geolog Dmitry Nalivkin sailed from Kirkenes (Norway) to the Kara Sea. In the next three months 2D seismic survey, will

Second Typhoon Threatens Taiwan

The Taiwan military was collecting and distributing sandbags to guard against possible flooding on Tuesday as a typhoon bore down on the island after brushing the Philippines.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.3030 sec (3 req/sec)