The new season of the Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (ASAMM) has started!! The team assembled in Utqiaġvik (Barrow) and began surveying the Chukchi Sea off the north slope of Alaska right away. Right off the bat, the observers found feeding gray whales about 25-50 miles from shore. Gray whales are baleen whales; they have between 130-180 coarse off-white plates of baleen, ranging 2-10 inches long. Baleen is made of keratin, the same material as our own hair and fingernails. These plates are lined up like teeth on a comb and hang down from the upper jaw where they act as a sieve to strain out all the goodies that baleen whales fill their mouths with, including water and mud.
2019 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals - Post 2
Each year we conduct aerial surveys of the northern and western coasts of Alaska, in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
Meet the Bloggers
Megan Ferguson is a Research Fisheries Biologist at Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Marine Mammal Laboratory. Her research focuses on spatiotemporal patterns in Arctic marine mammal ecology and the biological and physical processes that shape those patterns.
Lisa Barry works as an independent contractor for the federal government, state governments, non-profit organizations, and private industry, concentrating on marine mammals and sea turtles.
Kate Pagan is a marine biologist with experience working from land, sea, and air to research and protect manatees, sea turtles, and whales.
Nicholas Metheny is a research biologist that is currently working as a contractor with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program. He specializes in marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles.