Summer, fall, and early winter behavior of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, satellite-tagged in Cook Inlet, Alaska, in 1999 and 2000
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Summer, fall, and early winter behavior of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, satellite-tagged in Cook Inlet, Alaska, in 1999 and 2000

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  • Description:
    The following report contains detailed information on the movement patterns of beluga whales that were satellite-tagged in 1999 and 2000 in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The seasonal movements and dive patterns of three whales CI-9901, CI-0001, and CI-0002 were analyzed, and movement data from the whales tagged in 2000 were referenced to in a subsequent paper by Hobbs et al. (2005). However, the detailed analyses of diving behavior and movement patterns of these individual whales were never made available until now. The seasonal movements and dive patterns of three belugas in Cook Inlet, Alaska, were monitored between June and January 1999-2000 using satellite telemetry. One adult male whale was tagged on 30 May 1999 and tracked until 16 September 1999 (109 days), and one juvenile female and one adult male were tagged on 13 September 2000 and tracked until 2 (115 days) and 18 January 2001 (124 days), respectively. Whales remained in the inlet the entire time they were tracked. Mean dive depths across the entire tracking period ranged from 2.6 m (SD = 5.2) to 5.2 m (SD = 8.8). Mean dive durations ranged from 1.4 minutes (SD = 2.0) to 3.1 minutes (SD = 4.1). Overall mean time at surface (between 0 and 1 m) ranged from 23% to 70% and appeared to be related to season and location. Behavioral periods were identified for each whale (4-60 days) based on stationary movements in a particular part of the inlet and unique diving behavior during that time. Significant differences were found between diving behavior and tidal rate of change and direction, as well as whale location and average sea-ice concentration. Belugas in Cook Inlet display seasonal variation in dive behavior and movement patterns, both of which have implications for sightings rates, correction factors, and abundance estimates obtained for the population. [doi:10.7289/V5AFSC-PR-2017-08 (https://doi.org/10.7289/V5/AFSC-PR-2017-08)]
  • Content Notes:
    K. Laidre, R. Hobbs, and R. Ferrero. "June 2017." Includes bibliographical references (pages 31-33).
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