The Alaska Beluga Whale Committee received approximately $4,700,000 in funding from NOAA during the 24-year period form 1992-2015. For that 4.7 million, the ABWC accomplished the following:


* Bristol Bay – six multi-day surveys (1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2016)

* Norton Sound – six multi-day surveys (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2017)

* Eastern Chukchi Sea - nine multi-day surveys (1990, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2012)


Lowry, L.F., and K.J. Frost. 1998. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, 1993-1994. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 98-3 to NOAA.

Lowry, L.F., D.P. DeMaster, K.J. Frost, and W. Perryman. 1999. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in the eastern Chukchi Sea, 1996-1998. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 99-1 to NOAA.

Lowry, L.F., D.P. DeMaster, and K.J. Frost. 1999. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in the eastern Bering Sea, 1992-1995. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 99-2 to NOAA.

DeMaster, D.P., L.F. Lowry, K.J. Frost and R.A. Bengtson. 2001. The effect of sea state on estimates of abundance for beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Norton Sound, AlaskaFishery Bulletin 99:197-201.

Lowry, L. and K. Frost. 2001. Beluga Whale Surveys in the eastern Chukchi Sea, July 2001. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 01-1 to NOAA.

Lowry, L. and K. Frost. 2003. Beluga Whale Surveys in the eastern Chukchi Sea, July 2003. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 03-1 to NOAA.

Lowry, L.F., K.J. Frost, A. Zerbini, D. DeMaster, and R.R. Reeves. 2008. Trend in aerial counts of beluga or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Bristol Bay, Alaska, 1993–2005. Journal of Cetacean Research Management 10(3):201–207

Lowry, L.F., A. Zerbini, K.J. Frost, D.P. DeMaster, and R.C. Hobbs. 2017. Development of an abundance estimate for the eastern Bering Sea stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Journal of Cetacean Research Management 16:39-47.

Lowry L.F., Kingsley M.C.S., Hauser D.D.W., Clarke J., Suydam R. 2017. Aerial survey estimates of abundance of the eastern Chukchi Sea stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in 2012. Arctic 70: 273-286.

Citta J.J., Frost K.J., Quakenbush L. 2020. Aerial surveys of Bristol Bay beluga whales in 2016. In press. Marine Fisheries Review.


* Stomach sample analysis in northern and western Alaska

*Fatty acid analysis in northern Alaska


Seaman, G. A., L. F. Lowry, and K. J. Frost. 1982. Foods of belukha whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in western Alaska. Cetology 44:1–19.

Smith, H.R. 2009. Fatty acid variation in beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) blubber: implications for estimating diet using fatty acids. Ph.D. Dissertation. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 122 pp.

Quakenbush, L.T., R.S. Suydam, A.L. Bryan, L.F. Lowry, K.J. Frost, and B.A. Mahoney. 2015. Diet of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, in Alaska from stomach contents, March–November. Marine Fisheries Review 77(1):70–84.


* Bristol Bay, eastern Bering Sea, Kotzebue Sound, eastern Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea 1988-2010 (~1250 samples)

* Bristol Bay - 2002-2011, supplemented by other funding (approximately 700 biopsy samples). This is the first time genetics samples have been used for a mark-recapture study of belugas.


O’Corry-Crowe, G.M., R.S. Suydam, A. Rosenberg, K.J. Frost, and A.E. Dizon. 1997. Phylogeography, population structure, and dispersal patterns of the beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, in the western Nearctic revealed by mitochondrial DNA.  Molecular Ecology 6:955-970.

O’Corry-Crowe, G.M., A.E. Dizon, R.S. Suydam, and L.F. Lowry. 2002. Molecular genetics studies of population structure and movement patterns in a migratory species: the beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, in the western nearctic. Pages 53-64 in C.J. Pfeiffer, ed. Molecular and cell biology of marine mammals. Krieger Publishing Co., Malabar, FL.

O’Corry-Crowe, G.M., C. Lydersen, M..P Heide-Jørgensen , L. Hansen, L.M. Mukhametov, O. Dove, K.M. Kovacs. 2010. Population genetic structure and evolutionary history of North Atlantic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from West Greenland, Svalbard and the White Sea. Polar Biology 33:1179–1194.

O’Corry-Crowe G, Mahoney AR, Suydam R, Quakenbush L, Whiting A, Lowry L, Harwood L. 2016. Genetic profiling links changing sea-ice to shifting beluga whale migration patterns. Biol. Lett. 12.

O’Corry-Crowe G, Suydam R, Quakenbush L, Potgieter B, Harwood, L, Litovka D, Ferrer T, Citta J, Burkanov V, Frost K, Mahoney B. 2018. Migratory culture, population structure and stock identity in North Pacific beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).  PLOS ONE 13(3): e0194201.

O’Corry-Crowe G. 2018. Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas). In “Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals” (B Würsig, JGM Thewissen, and KM Kovacs, eds.), 3rd ed, pp. 93-96, Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego, CA, USA.

Citta JJ, O'Corry‐Crowe G, Quakenbush LT, Bryan AL, Ferrer T, Olson MJ, Hobbs RC and Potgieter B. 2018. Assessing the abundance of Bristol Bay belugas with genetic mark‐recapture methods. Mar Mam Sci. doi:10.1111/mms.12472.


* Bristol Bay - 2002-2011, supplemented by other funding (69 belugas tagged)

* Eastern Bering Sea  – 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019 (Nome, Stebbins, Hooper Bay, 8 belugas tagged by local ABWC taggers)

* Eastern Chukchi Sea (Point Lay) – 1996-2012, 2019, supplemented by other funding ( ~30 belugas tagged)

* Chukchi and Beaufort sea belugas – model habitat use using ABWC and Canadian satellite tag data

* Chukchi Sea – diving behavior

*Bristol Bay, Eastern Bering, Eastern Chukchi, Eastern Beaufort stocks - wintering areas


Frost, K. J., L. F. Lowry, and R. R. Nelson. 1985. Radiotagging studies of Belukha whales (Delphinapterus Leucas) in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Marine Mammal Science 1(3):191–202.

Suydam, R.S., L.F. Lowry, K.J. Frost, G.M. O'Corry-Crowe and D. Pikok, Jr.  2001. Satellite tracking of eastern Chukchi Sea beluga whales into the Arctic Ocean.  Arctic 54:237-243.

Suydam, R.S., L.F. Lowry, K.J. Frost. 2005. Distribution and movements of beluga whales from the Eastern Chukchi Sea stock during summer and early autumn. OCS Study MMS 2005-035 Final Report, 48 pp.

Suydam, R.S. 2009. Age, growth, reproduction and movements of beluga whale (Dephinapterus leucas) form the eastern Chukchi Sea. Ph.D. Dissertation. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 169 pp.

Citta, J.J., R.S. Suydam, L.T. Quakenbush, K.J. Frost, and G.M. O’Corry-Crowe. 2013. Dive behavior of eastern Chukchi beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) 1998–2008Arctic 66(4):389–406.

Hauser, D.D.W., K.L. Laidre, R.S. Suydam and P.R. Richard. 2014. Population-specific home ranges and migration timing of Pacific Arctic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Polar Biology 37:1171-1183.

Hauser, D.D.W., K.L. Laidre, S.L. Parker-Stetter, J.K. Horne, R.S. Suydam and P.R. Richard. 2015. Regional diving behavior of Pacific Arctic beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas and possible associations with prey. Marine Ecology Progress Series 541:245-264. DOI: 10.3354/meps11530

Citta, J.J., L.T. Quakenbush, K.J. Frost, L.F. Lowry, R.C. Hobbs and H. Aderman. 2016. Movements of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Bristol Bay, AlaskaMarine Mammal Science DOI: 10.1111/mms.12337

Citta, J.J.. et al. 2016. Satellite telemetry reveals population specific winter ranges of beluga whales in the Bering Sea. Marine Mammal Science DOI: 10.1111/mms.12357

Stafford, K.M. et al. 2016. Wind-dependent beluga whale dive behavior in Barrow Canyon, Alaska. Deep-Sea Research I DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2016.10.006 .

Stafford, KM, MC Ferguson, DDW Hauser, SR Okkonen, CL Berchok, JJ Citta, JT Clarke, EC Garland, J Jones, RS Suydam. 2016. Beluga whales in the western Beaufort Sea: Current state of knowledge on timing, distribution, habitat use and environmental drivers. Deep-Sea Research Part II Topical Studies in Oceanography,

Citta, JJ, P Richard P, Lowry LF, O’Corry Crowe G, Marcoux M, Suydam RS, Quakenbush LT, Hobbs RC, Litovka DI, Frost KJ, Gray T, Orr J, Tinker B, Aderman H, Druckenmiller M. 2017. Satellite telemetry reveals population specific winter ranges of beluga whales in the Bering Sea. Marine Mammal Science 33:236-250. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12357.

Hauser DDW, Laidre KL, Stern HL, Moore SE, Suydam RS, Richard PR. 2017. Habitat selection by two beluga whale populations in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0172755. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172755.

Hauser DDW, Laidre KL, Stafford KM, Stern HL, Suydam RS, Richard PR. 2017.  Decadal shifts in autumn migration timing by Pacific Arctic beluga whales are related to delayed annual sea ice formation. Global Change Biology 23: 2206-2217. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13564.

Citta JJ, Lowry LF, Quakenbush LT, Kelly BP, Fischback AS, London JM, Jay CV, Frost KJ, O’Corry-Crowe G, Crawford JA, Boveng PL, Cameron M, von Duyke AL, M Nelson, Harwood LA, Richard P, Suydam R, Heide-Jorgensen MP, Hobbs RC, Litovka DI, Marcoux M, Whiting A, Kennedy AS, George JC, Orr J, Gray T. 2018. A multi-species synthesis of satellite telemetry data in the Pacific Arctic (1987-2015): overlap of marine mammal ranges and core use areas. Deep-Sea Research Part II.

Hauser, DDW, Laidre KL, Stern HL, Suydam RS, Richard PR. 2018. Indirect effects of sea ice loss on summer-fall habitat and behaviour for sympatric populations of an Arctic marine predator. Diversity and Distributions. 2018:00:1-9.


* Harvest Manual (1995, reprinted 2000, 2016)

* Statewide (no Cook Inlet) 1987 to present – published (2011), reported annually to NOAA & IWC


Lowry, L. F., J. J. Burns, and K. J. Frost. 1989. Recent harvests of Belukha whales, Delphinapterus leucas, in western and northern Alaska and their potential impact on provisional management stocks. Report of the International Whaling Commission 39:335–339.

Frost, K.J. 1998. Harvest Report: Statewide Summary for the Eastern Bering Sea Beluga Population, 1995-97. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 98-1 to NOAA.

Frost, K.J. 1999. Harvest Report: Statewide Summary for Western Alaska Beluga Stocks, 1994-1998. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Report 99-4 to NOAA.

Frost, K.J. and R.S. Suydam. 2010. Subsistence harvest of beluga or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in northern and western Alaska, 1987–2006Journal of Cetacean Research Management 11(3): 293–299.


* Bristol Bay, assisted many other studies

* Alaska Marine Mammal Tissue Archival Program—provided samples and participated in publication of contaminant levels

* Point Lay, supplemented by many other studies


Woshner, V.M., T.M. O’Hara, J.A. Eurell, M.A. Wallig, G.R. Bratton, R.S. Suydam, V.R. Beasley. 2002. Distribution of Inorganic Mercury in Liver and Kidney of Beluga and Bowhead Whales Through Autometallographic Development of Light Microscopic Tissue Sections. Toxicologic Pathology 30(2):209–215.

Thompson L.A., T.R. Spoon, C.E.C. Goertz, R.C. Hobbs, T.A. Romano. 2014. Blow Collection as a Non-Invasive Method for Measuring Cortisol in the Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). PLoS ONE 9(12): e114062. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114062

Mooney TA, Castellote M, Quakenbush L, Hobbs R, Goertz C, Gaglione E. 2016. Measuring Hearing in Wild Beluga Whales. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016:875:729-35. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_88.

Waugh, D.A., R.S. Suydam, J.D. Ortiz, and J.G.M. Thewissen. 2018. Validation of growth layer group (GLG) depositional rate using daily incremental growth lines in the dentin of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) teeth. PLOS ONE 13(1):e0190498.

Goertz CEC, Burek-Huntington K, Royer K, Quakenbush L, Clauss T, Hobbs R, Kellar N. 2019. Comparing progesterone in blubber and serum to assess pregnancy in wild belugas (Delphinapterus leucas). Conservation Physiology 7. doi: 10.1093/conphys/coz071.

Poirer MC, Lair S, Michaud R, Hernandez-Ramon EE, Divi KV, and others. 2019. Intestinal Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon-DNA Adducts in a Population of Beluga Whales with High Levels of Gastrointestinal Cancers. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 60:29-41.


* ABWC representatives attend annual IWC Scientific Committee meetings, annually since 1988

* ABWC members and scientists attend IWC Beluga Reviews (1991, 1999)

*ABWC scientist attended NAMMCO international monodontid review, prepared status reports for Bristol Bay, Eastern Bering, and Eastern Chukchi Sea beluga stocks (2017)

Publications for IWC:

Lowry, L.F., J.J. Burns and K.J. Frost. 1989. Recent harvests of belukha whales in western and northern Alaska and their potential impact on provisional management stocks.  Rep. International Whaling Commission 39:335-339.

Lowry L.F. and K.J. Frost. 1999. Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in Bristol Bay, Alaska, 1993-1994. Rep. International Whaling Commission. SC/51/SM 32.

Lowry L.F., D.P.  DeMaster, K.J. Frost, and W. Perryman. 1999.  Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in the Eastern Chukchi Sea, 1996-1998. Rep. International Whaling Commission. SC/51/SM 33.

Lowry L.F., D.P.  DeMaster, and K.J. Frost. 1999.  Alaska Beluga Whale Committee Surveys of Beluga Whales in the Eastern Bering Sea, 1992-1995. Rep. International Whaling Commission. SC/51/SM 34.

Lowry, L.F., and R.L. Schaeffer. 1999. Conservation Issues for Western Alaska Beluga Whale Stocks. Presented to the 51st International Whaling Commission SC/51/SM38.

O’Corry-Crowe G.M. and L.F. Lowry. 1999. A review of the status and stock structure of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas. Rep. International Whaling Commission SC/51/SM37.

Suydam, R.S. 1999. Age, growth, and reproduction of beluga whales from the Eastern Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Rep. International Whaling Commission. SC/51/SM40.

Suydam R.S., L.F. Lowry, K.J. Frost, G.M. O'Corry-Crowe, and D. Pikok, Jr. 1999. Satellite tracking of eastern Chukchi Sea beluga whales in the Arctic Ocean. Rep. International Whaling Commission SC/51/SM39. 

Lowry LF, Reeves R, Laidre K.  2017. Delphinapterus leucas. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T6335A50352346.

Givens GH, Ferguson MC, Clarke JT, Willoughby A, Suydam R. 2019. Abundance of the Eastern Chukchi Sea Stock of Beluga Whales, 2012-2017. Report to the International Whaling Commission SC/68A/ASI/09.


* ABWC Management Plan

* Co-management Plan - Cooperative Agreement NMFS and ABWC (1999)

* Joint Alaska/Canada Beluga Whale Management Plan (1998)

* Bristol Bay Regional Management Plan (2003)


Adams, M., K.J. Frost and L.A. Harwood. 1993. Alaska and Inuvialuit Beluga Whale Committee (AIBWC) - an initiative in "at home management".  Arctic 46(2):134-137.

Huntington, H.P. et al. 1999. Traditional knowledge of the ecology of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Eastern Chukchi and Northern Bering Seas, Alaska. Arctic 52(1):49-61.

Huntington, H.P.  2000. Traditional knowledge of the ecology of belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Marine Fisheries Review 62(3):134–140. 

Huntington, H.P. 2000. Using traditional ecological knowledge in science methods and applicationsEcological Applications 10:1270–1274.

Huntington, H.P., P.K. Brown-Schwalenberg, K.J. Frost, M.E. Fernandez-Gimenez, D.W. Norton and D.H. Rosenberg. 2002. Observations on the Workshop as a Means of Improving Communication Between Holders of Traditional and Scientific Knowledge. Environmental Management 30:778-792.

Huntington, H.P., R.S. Suydam and D.H. Rosenberg. 2004. Traditional knowledge and satellite tracking as complementary approaches to ecological understandingEnvironmental Conservation 31:177-180.

Fernandez-Gimenez, M.E., H.P. Huntington and K.J. Frost. 2006. Integration or co-optation? Traditional knowledge and science in the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee. Environmental Conservation 33: 1–10

Fernandez-Gimenez, M.E., J.U. Hays, Jr., H.P. Huntington, R. Andrew and W. Goodwin. 2008. Ambivalence toward formalizing costomary resource management norms among Alaska Native beluga whale hunters and Tohono O’odham livestock ownersHuman Organization 67:137-150.

Moore SE, Hauser DDW. 2019. Marine mammal ecology and health: finding common ground between conventional science and indigenous knowledge to track arctic ecosystem variability. Environmental Research Letters 14: 075001.

ABWC Newsletters

More journal articles on beluga research