Sea Ice Density and Bowhead Whale Body Condition

Principal Investigator:J. Craig George, Ph.D.
Collaborators: AEWC; C. Nicholson (University of Massachusetts Amherst); S. Drobot and J. Maslanik (University of Colorado Boulder); Lara Horstmann-Dehn (UAF)
Funding: NSB
Objectives:

  • To develop a bowhead body condition index (BCI) using external morphological measurements, including multiple girth measurements.
  • Examine the ecological relationships between sea ice concentration and BCI.
  • Test for differences in BCI between years with "heavy" and "light" sea ice conditions.
  • To correlate BCI using morphological measurements with lipid content in blubber as another index for body condition.

Results:

  • A greater BCI for bowhead whales was seen during light ice years as compared to heavy ice years.
  • The BCI may prove to be a useful tool for health assessment.

George. J.C., et al. 2005. Progress Report: Sea Ice Density and Bowhead Whale Body Condition. Presented to the 57th International Whaling Commission. Update SC/57/E13.

L. Horstmann-Dehn, et al. 2015. Fat chance - Uptake, modification, and storage of fatty acids in bowhead whales. Oral presentation at the 2015 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, Alaska.

L.Horstmann-Dehn, et al. 2016. 10 years of bowhead whale blubber – A retrospective analysis of body condition and contribution of sea ice derived fatty acids to bowhead whale prey. Poster presented at the 2016 Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, Alaska.

Cumulative Impacts of Industrial Activities on Bowhead Whales

This poster was presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage in January 2010 by J.C. George. and R. Suydam.

Oil and Dispersant effects on Bowhead Baleen

Sformo, T. et al. 2017. Field methods: Study of oil and dispersant on mysticete whale baleen. Poster presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, Alaska, January 2017. 

A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale

Principal Investigator:  Steve Okkonen (UAF)
Collaborators: AEWC, NSB-DWM, UAF, ADF&G, NOAA/NMML, AOOS, Univ of Washington, NASA, WHOI, Univ of Rhode Island
Funding: BOEM, NOAA
Objectives: To create a calendar on the life of the bowhead whale, incorporating natural history and traditional knowledge. The calendar includes pictures, stories, and data on the bowhead whale from different research groups.

A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale Calendar presentation; Download Calendar

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale (an animated film) Blog This blog follows the creation of a short animated film about the annual migration of the bowhead whale. The narrative comes from the calendar above. The work is being done by University of Alaska Museum of the North, including Roger Topp, his staff and UAF student employees.The film is funded by BOEM, UAF, and CIFAR.

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale (Inupiaq version) film

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale (English version) film

Arctic Currents: A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale (Yupik version) film

You can also access these films on the UAF Museum webpage.

Banner photo credit: Vicki Beaver