NSB Shell Baseline Studies Research Projects

  • Bowhead and Beluga Hearing Study – Increases in sounds in the Arctic Ocean may cause hearing loss in marine mammals. Craig George is working with Hans Thewissen of Northeast Ohio Medical University to find out if there is a way to measure hearing damage in whales.
  • Bowhead Scarring Study – Analysis of scars from aerial photographs as well as photographs of harvested bowhead whales will be done to estimate the frequency of scarring events from line entanglement with fishing gear, ship strikes, killer whale bites or other injuries. We hope to come up with information which will be useful for management recommendations and for mitigation of future activity or development plans. Craig George is the lead on this study.
  • Ringed Seal Tagging – Study of the movements of ringed seals in an effort to better understand their habitat use, migration patterns, and behavior as a means of assisting in the development of monitoring and management. Andrew Von Duyke is the lead on this project.
  • Ecology of Forage Fish in the Western Beaufort – Survey of forgage fish ecology, habitat and abundance; fish that are important prey species for subsistence species like seals and beluga.
  • Surface Current Mapping in the Chukchi Sea – Information about the surface currents would be very important in predicting the movements of oil spills. Leandra de Sousa and Todd Sformo, NSB-DWM biologists, are working on this project in collaboration with UAF.
  • Ice Trackers: Low-Cost Tracking of Sea Ice in Remote Environments – This link provides information on the purpose and goals of this project. Click here to view maps showing the movements of the ice drifters.
  • Monitoring Stress Levels and Calving Intervals using Baleen
  • Aerial Surveys of Caribou and Arctic Fox
  • Health Assessment of Marine Mammals – Analysis will be provided on archived samples as well as continuing to collect current samples. Raphaela Stimmelmayr, NSB-DWM’s research biologist, is taking the lead on this study. She will examine body condition, exposure to disease, and other aspects of health. These data will be added to our ongoing NSB Health Assessment of Subsistence Resources Program.
  • Database Development for Archived Tissues of Marine Mammals – The NSB-DWM has collected tissues from whales and other marine mammals for many years. These samples can be used as baseline measurements for comparison and health assessment into the future.
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