Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Cetacean Assessment & Ecology Program survey project.

2018 ASAMM Chukchi and Beaufort Sea Study Areas and Transects.

2018 ASAMM Chukchi and Beaufort Sea Study Areas and Transects.

Inter-agency agreements have been established between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of Interior and the Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. The intent of these agreements is to provide funding to conduct surveys of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and other marine mammals in the Alaskan Arctic.

The Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (ASAMM) project is a continuation of the Bowhead Whale Aerial Survey Project (BWASP) and Chukchi Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) marine mammal aerial survey project.  BWASP was conducted from 1979 to 2010 and targeted the autumn migration of bowhead whales through the western Beaufort Sea, although line transect data on all marine mammals sighted were collected.  COMIDA surveys were conducted in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area in the northeastern Chukchi Sea from 1979 to 1991 and 2008 to 2010 to monitor marine mammal distribution, relative density, and behavior during the open-water (ice-free) months, from mid-June or early July to the end of October.  BWASP and COMIDA surveys were funded or conducted by the Minerals Management Service (now BOEM) and the Bureau of Land Management, and starting in 2008, the Marine Mammal Lab began co-managing the projects with BOEM.  In 2011, these projects were merged into ASAMM. Survey protocols have remained consistent since 1982.

The goal of ASAMM is to document the distribution and relative abundance of bowhead, gray, fin, humpback, killer, minke, and right whales, belugas, and other marine mammals in areas of potential oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production activities in the Alaskan Beaufort and northeastern Chukchi seas. The 2018 ASAMM field season will run from 1 July to 31 October (click here for daily survey reports). Data from the ASAMM surveys will be used to relate variation in marine mammal distribution or abundance to other variables, such as physical oceanographic conditions, indices of potential prey density, and anthropogenic activities if information on these variables is available.

Survey Objectives

  1. Monitor the spatial and temporal variability in the density, distribution, and behavior (including calving/pupping, feeding, hauling out) of marine mammals (cetaceans, ice seals, walruses, and polar bears) in the Alaskan Arctic, primarily through line-transect aerial survey data, with supplementary information from aerial photo-identification data.
  2. Describe the annual migration of bowhead whales across the U.S. Arctic, including interannual variability or long-term trends in the spatial distribution and timing of the migration.
  3. Provide near real-time data or derived products, such as graphical data summaries, on marine mammals and environmental conditions in the U.S. Arctic to BOEM and NMFS.
  4. Provide information on marine mammal abundance and distribution to Alaska Natives for use in management of subsistence hunts and assessments of anthropogenic impacts on marine mammal resources.
  5. Provide an objective wide-area context for understanding marine mammal ecology in the U.S. Arctic to help inform management decisions and interpret results of other small-scale studies.

2018 Aerial Surveys Daily Reports

Survey Date Daily Report
ASAMM-Chukchi July 2nd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 3rd Flight 201
ASAMM-Chukchi July 4th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 5th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 6th Flight 202
ASAMM-Chukchi July 7th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 8th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 9th Flight 203
ASAMM-Chukchi July 10th Flight 204
ASAMM-Chukchi July 11th Flight 205
ASAMM-Chukchi July 12th Flight 206
ASAMM-Chukchi July 13th Flight 207
ASAMM-Chukchi July 14th Flight 208
ASAMM-Chukchi July 15th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 16th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 17th No Flight - Maintenance
ASAMM-Chukchi July 18th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 19th Flight 209
ASAMM-Beaufort July 19th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 20th Flight 210
ASAMM-Beaufort July 20th Flight 1
ASAMM-Chukchi July 21st Flight 211
ASAMM-Beaufort July 21st Flight 2
ASAMM-Chukchi July 22nd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 22nd Flight 3
ASAMM-Chukchi July 23rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 23rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 24th Flight 212
ASAMM-Chukchi July 25th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 25th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 26th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 26th Flight 4
ASAMM-Chukchi July 27th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 27th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 28th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort July 28th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi July 29th Flight 213
ASAMM-Beaufort July 29th Flight 5
ASAMM-Chukchi July 30th Flight 214
ASAMM-Beaufort July 30th Flight 6
ASAMM-Chukchi July 31st Flight 215
ASAMM-Beaufort July 31st Flight 7
ASAMM-Chukchi August 1st No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 1st No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 2nd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 2nd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 3rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 3rd Flight 8
ASAMM-Chukchi August 4th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 4th No Flight - Scheduled aircraft maintenance
ASAMM-Chukchi August 5th Flight 216
ASAMM-Beaufort August 5th No Flight - Maintenance
ASAMM-Chukchi August 6th Flight 217
ASAMM-Beaufort August 6th No Flight - Maintenance
ASAMM-Chukchi August 7th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 7th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 8th Flight 218
ASAMM-Beaufort August 8th Flight 9
ASAMM-Chukchi August 9th Flight 219
ASAMM-Beaufort August 9th Flight 10
ASAMM-Chukchi August 10th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 10th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 11th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 11th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 12th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 12th Flight 11
ASAMM-Chukchi August 13th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 13th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 14th Flight 220
ASAMM-Beaufort August 14th Flight 12
ASAMM-Chukchi August 15th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 15th Flight 13
ASAMM-Chukchi August 16th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 16th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 17th Flight 221
ASAMM-Beaufort August 17th Flight 14
ASAMM-Chukchi August 18th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 18th Flight 15
ASAMM-Chukchi August 19th Flight 222
ASAMM-Beaufort August 19th Flight 16
ASAMM-Chukchi August 20th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 20th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 21st No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 21st No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 22nd Flight 223
ASAMM-Beaufort August 22nd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 23rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 23rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 24th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 24th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 25th Flight 224
ASAMM-Beaufort August 25th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 26th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 26th Flight 17
ASAMM-Chukchi August 27th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 27th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi August 28th Flight 225
ASAMM-Beaufort August 28th Flight 18
ASAMM-Chukchi August 29th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 29th Flight 19
ASAMM-Chukchi August 30th Flight 226
ASAMM-Beaufort August 30th Flight 20
ASAMM-Chukchi August 31st No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort August 31st Flight 21
ASAMM-Chukchi September 1st Flight 227
ASAMM-Beaufort September 1st Flight 22
ASAMM-Chukchi September 2nd Flight 228
ASAMM-Beaufort September 2nd Flight 23
ASAMM-Chukchi September 3rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 3rd No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 4th Flight 229
ASAMM-Beaufort September 4th Flight 24
ASAMM-Chukchi September 5th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 5th Flight 25
ASAMM-Chukchi September 6th No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance
ASAMM-Beaufort September 6th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 7th No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance
ASAMM-Beaufort September 7th Flight 26
ASAMM-Chukchi September 8th No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance
ASAMM-Beaufort September 8th Flight 27
ASAMM-Chukchi September 9th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 9th Flight 28
ASAMM-Chukchi September 10th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 10th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 11th Flight 230
ASAMM-Beaufort September 11th Flight 29
ASAMM-Chukchi September 12th Flight 231
ASAMM-Beaufort September 12th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 13th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 13th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 14th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 14th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 15th Flight 232
ASAMM-Beaufort September 15th Flight 30
ASAMM-Chukchi September 16th Flight 233
ASAMM-Beaufort September 16th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 17th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Beaufort September 17th No Flight - Weather
ASAMM-Chukchi September 18th Flight 234
ASAMM-Beaufort September 18th Flight 31

Additional Resources

 

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on September 21, 2018