Sea Ice Density and Bowhead Whale Body Condition

Principal Investigators 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


Cumulative Impacts of Industrial Activities on Bowhead Whales

Oil and Dispersant Effects on Bowhead Baleen


A Year in the Life of the Bowhead Whale

Principal Investigators 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


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.


Banner photo credit: Vicki Beaver

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