Arctic Whale Ecology Study November 2013 Quarterly Report

December 06, 2013

Through an Inter-Agency agreement (IA) between the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NMML is conducting a dedicated multi-year study to determine relationships between dominant currents passing from the Bering Sea into and through the Chukchi Sea and prey resources delivered to the Barrow Arch area (an area of high bowhead whale and prey concentrations between Wainwright and Smith Bay), and to provide information about the dynamic nature of those relationships relative to whale distribution and habitat utilization in the eastern Chukchi and extreme western Beaufort Seas. This study will also provide important baseline data on the occurrence, distribution, and habitat use of large whales in an area that is subject to rapid change in climate and human industrial development. This quarterly report covers the period of this study between July and September 2013.

The major activities during this period consisted of the completion of the Arctic Whale Ecology Study (ARCWEST) cruise from 13 August through 18 September 2013. The cruise took place on the chartered research vessel R/V Aquila. Seventeen scientists, technicians, and observers from eight different laboratories and institutions participated on the ARCWEST cruise.