Seasonal Distribution and Foraging Behavior of Cook Inlet Belugas Based on Acoustic Monitoring:
Final Report (2015)
Information on the seasonal distribution and foraging behavior of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska, was obtained through passive acoustic monitoring during 2008‐2013, at the following 13 locations: North Eagle Bay, Eagle River Mouth, South Eagle Bay, Six Mile, Point MacKenzie, Cairn Point, Fire Island, Little Susitna, Beluga River, Trading Bay, Kenai River, Tuxedni Bay, and Homer Spit. At each location, custom designed low‐profile acoustic moorings were deployed, each with an Ecological Acoustic Recorder, which monitored for the low frequency (0‐12.5 kHz) beluga social signals, and a Cetacean and Porpoise Detector that monitored higher frequency (20‐160 kHz) beluga echolocation signals. Monitoring both social and echolocation signals maximized beluga detections, which we summarized within two seasons based on the ice phenology in Cook Inlet: ‘summer’, the ice‐free period of May to October; and ‘winter’, the freezing to melting period of November to April.