2018 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals - Post 1

September 11, 2018

This Arctic survey of marine mammals in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas has been conducted every year off the northern and western coasts of Alaska since 1979. A long-term dataset like this is extraordinary because it is both unusual and important. Exact survey dates and boundaries have varied over time, but the study goals, general survey area, and survey methods have stayed remarkably similar. ASAMM is co-managed and conducted by the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and funded and co-managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

In recent years, July through September has been considered ice-free months in the Beaufort and Chukchi sea ASAMM study areas.

In recent years, July through September has been considered ice-free months in the Beaufort and Chukchi sea ASAMM study areas.

ASAMM goals are to examine the distribution, relative numbers of animals using certain areas, and behavior of bowhead, gray, humpback, fin, minke, and killer whales, belugas, harbor porpoises, walruses, ice seals, and polar bears. ASAMM is focused in areas of potential interest to petroleum exploration, development, and production, and surrounding areas used by these species, in the Alaskan Arctic. Results from ASAMM provide an objective, broad-scale understanding of marine mammal ecology in the Alaskan Arctic that helps inform management decisions.

In 2018, ASAMM has one team based in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, from 1 July – 31 October, and one team based in Deadhorse, Alaska, from 18 July – 11 October. Our survey season started off with a whole lot of fog and crummy weather conditions for aerial surveys, and we were not able to take many blog-worthy photos, but we will be posting some of our better photos during September and October.

*All photos taken under research permit with funding from the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management. 

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