Ice Seal Research Results 2018 Tagging

Results from the Summer of 2018:

In July 2018, the NSB DWM commenced seal capture work. We deploy monofilament drift nets along the ice edge during breakup to capture ringed seals, and near sandy spits to capture spotted seals that are hauled out. Length, girth and weight measurements are taken, as well as blood samples for health assessment. Satellite tags are attached to record movements and habitat use and CTD tags include information on water chemistry. The CTD tags are made by the Sea Mammal Research Unit in St. Andrews, Scotland, and the flipper-SPOT tags are made by Wildlife Computers in Redmond, WA. We will continue to send maps throughout the season until the satellite tags stop transmitting. Please feel free to contact Andy Von Duyke if you have any questions or comments.

Satellite Tag Data: David Douglas (USGS)

The tagging team consists of staff from the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management (NSB-DWM), Alaska Native hunters from Utqiaġvik, and staff from the Marine Mammal Program at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG-MMP): Andy Von Duyke, Joe Skin, Isaac Leavitt, Bobby Sarren, Billy Adams, Vernon Long, Craig George are all from NSB. Anna Bryan, Justin Crawford, and Ryan Adam are with the ADFG-AMMP program.

Funding for this work is provided by the Collaborative Alaskan Arctic Studies Program (CAASP), formerly the Shell Baseline Studies Program. This seal research is conducted under NMFS permit #20466 and ADF&G Animal Care and Use Committee Protocol #0027-2017-27.

The attached NSB maps below show the locations by date for two ringed seals tagged near Utqiagvik on July 9 and 10, 2018 (RS_18-01 and RS_18-02).

From ADFG Tagging Program:

During this project, seals were tagged in the following locations: Kotzebue Sound, in collaboration with the Native Village of Kotzebue, in 2014; near Koyuk in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018; near Hooper Bay in 2015; near St. Michael in 2015 and 2016; near Scammon Bay in 2016, 2017, and 2018; near Nome in 2016 and 2017; near Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) in 2016, 2017, and 2018; near Buckland in 2017; and near Nuiqsut in 2017 and 2018. ADFG collaborated with the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management to tag seals near Utqiaġvik and Nuiqsut. Funding for seal tagging has been provided by BOEM (SPLASH and SPOT tags, Wildlife Computers, Redmond, WA) and the Office of Naval Research (CTD tags, Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St. Andrews, UK). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Mammal Laboratory provided six flipper (SPOT) tags that were deployed on spotted seals. Current maps, archived maps, and additional project information, including the types of tags deployed, and links to updates for our other projects, Ice Seal Biological Monitoring and Harvest Monitoring, can be viewed on our webpage. Seal research is conducted under NMFS permit #20466 issued to ADF&G and under an approved ADF&G Animal Care and Use Committee Protocol #0027-2018-29.

For movements of the seals tagged under the ADFG program for 2018, including those tagged by DWM, go to their ADFG map archives. You can find maps from previous years as well, and you can also view animations of tagged seal movements for 2014-2017.

July 30, 2018

See the attached map. On July 26, a female spotted seal (SS18-03-F) was tagged in Dease Inlet, near Utqiaġvik, Alaska. All seals tagged in the AMMP (Arctic Marine Mammals Program of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game) are included.

September 18, 2018

See the attached map. We tagged 2 spotted seals near the mouth of the Colville River, near Nuiqsut, Alaska, on 7 and 9 September. These seals were tagged with the assistance of Vernon Long, a subsistence hunter in Nuiqsut. We deployed a SPLASH tag on SS18-04-F, a young female spotted seal, and a CTD tag on SS18-05-F, a subadult female spotted seal. We also deployed flipper (SPOT) tags on both seals. The flipper tags were provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Mammal Laboratory. The 2 seals tagged near Nuiqsut are highlighted with a red box and red arrows.

October 1, 2018

See the attached map. During the last two weeks we tagged three young spotted seals in Dease Inlet, near Utqiaġvik. A bearded seal was captured, tagged, and released near Koyuk by Merlin Henry, a trained hunter-tagger from Koyuk, Merlin’s daughter Evett Henry, and ADF&G personnel. Merlin has helped capture, tag, and release thirteen bearded seals over the last five years. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square), captured and tagged on the Koyuk River on 24 September, is currently located on a tributary to the Koyuk River. Two of the three spotted seals recently tagged in Dease Inlet (SS18-06-M, yellow circle; SS18-07-F, purple circle) have moved into the northeast Chukchi Sea and are generally located near the three spotted seals we tagged in the Beaufort Sea this summer. We have not received any locations from the third spotted seal recently tagged, SS18-08-F. This seal was tagged in Pittalukrauk Lake, a mostly freshwater lake. We expect to begin receiving locations from this tag once the seal moves into saltwater. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) is currently moving along the north coast of Russia, west of Cape Schmidt. Spotted seals SS17-02-M (green circle) and SS18-02-M (brown circle) continue to make localized movements near Scammon Bay.

October 8, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) has left the Koyuk River and moved into Norton Sound. The spotted seals tagged in the Beaufort Sea have begun moving south. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) is moving south and east along the north coast of Russia and is currently east of Cape Schmidt. Spotted seals SS17-02-M (green circle) and SS18-02-M (brown circle) continue to make localized movements near Scammon Bay.

November 13, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) has moved into Kotzebue Sound as ice has formed along the coastline of the Sound. Three spotted seals remain in the central Chukchi Sea, two are in Bering Strait, and the remaining three are in the Bering Sea.

November 26, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) and spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) are generally near the Bering Strait. Three spotted seals remain in the central Chukchi Sea, near Point Hope, Alaska, and four are in the Bering Sea, generally near Scammon Bay, Alaska, and the Yukon River. All seals are either currently located in, or, during the last ten days, were in, areas with sea ice near the Alaskan coast.

December 3, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS17-01-F (purple square) was tagged near Nuiqsut, Alaska, in August 2017 and spent most of the winter of 2017–18 offshore of Utqiaġvik. This week we received locations from the flipper tagged deployed on this seal, roughly 20 miles (35 km) offshore of Utqiaġvik. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) remains near the Bering Strait. Three spotted seals remain in the Chukchi Sea, between Point Lay, Alaska, and Kotzebue Sound, and four are in the Bering Sea, generally near Scammon Bay, Alaska, and the Yukon River.

December 10, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS17-01-F (purple square) is still offshore of Utqiaġvik, where it spent most of the winter of 2017–18. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) and two spotted seals, SS18-05-F (blue circle) and SS18-07-F (purple circle), are near the mouth of Kotzebue Sound. Spotted seal SS18-08-F (pink circle) remains in generally heavy ice (>80% concentration) in the Chukchi Sea between Point Hope and Point Lay, Alaska. Three spotted seals are in the Bering Sea, generally near Scammon Bay, Alaska, and the Yukon River.

December 17, 2018

See the attached map. Bearded seal BS17-01-F (purple square) is still offshore of Utqiaġvik, where it spent most of the winter of 2017–18. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) and one spotted seal, SS18-07-F (purple circle), are near the mouth of Kotzebue Sound in generally heavy ice (>80% concentration). Spotted seal SS18-08-F (pink circle) remains in the Chukchi Sea and in heavy ice but has moved south of Point Hope, Alaska. Spotted seal SS18-05-F (blue circle) moved into the northern Bering Sea. Three spotted seals are in the Bering Sea, generally near Scammon Bay, Alaska.

January 2, 2019

See the attached map. During the last seventeen days we have received locations for 1 bearded and 7 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) is in the Chukchi Sea, north of Seward Peninsula. All seven spotted seals have now moved into the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-07-F (purple circle) moved south through the Bering Strait and is now located west of Nome, Alaska. The other 6 spotted seals are in the central Bering Sea, generally in or near the marginal ice zone.

January 16, 2019

See the attached map. During the last fifteen days we have received locations for 2 bearded and 7 spotted seals. Both bearded seals are in the Chukchi Sea and have stayed in localized areas; B17-01-F (purple square) remains off shore of Utqiaġvik and BS18-01-F (green square) is north of Seward Peninsula, generally near the mouth of Kotzebue Sound. All seven spotted seals are in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-07-F (purple circle) has moved to the mouth of Norton Sound, generally in heavy ice. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) has moved along the ice edge into Bristol Bay. The other 5 spotted seals are in the central Bering Sea, generally in or near the marginal ice zone.

February 4, 2019

See the attached map. During the last twenty days we have received locations for 2 bearded and 6 spotted seals. Both bearded seals are in the Chukchi Sea and have generally stayed in localized areas; B17-01-F (purple square) remains off shore of Utqiaġvik, where it wintered last year, and BS18-01-F (green square) is near Hope Basin in the southern Chukchi Sea. All six spotted seals are in the Bering Sea. Four of the spotted seals are between St. Lawrence and St. Matthew islands. Spotted seal SS18-02-M (brown circle) has moved into Anadyr Gulf. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) is still in Bristol Bay.

February 19, 2019

See the attached map. During the last sixteen days we have received locations for 3 bearded and 6 spotted seals. Two bearded seals are in the Chukchi Sea; B17-01-F (purple square) has moved north of Utqiaġvik and BS18-01-F (green square) remained in the southern Chukchi Sea. BS17-02-F, a 1-year old female bearded seal tagged in 2017, was located offshore of Scammon Bay. This bearded seal was last located on 11 July, 2018, near the ice edge and offshore of Utqiaġvik, in the Chukchi Sea. All six spotted seals are in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-01-M (orange circle) is still in Bristol Bay. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) has moved from St. Matthew Island to offshore of Scammon Bay. Spotted seal SS18-07-F (purple circle) has moved from the ice edge to north of St. Lawrence Island, in heavy pack ice. The remaining three spotted seals are south and west of St. Lawrence Island, near the ice edge.

March 11, 2019

See the attached map. During the last 21 days we have received locations for 3 bearded and 5 spotted seals. Two bearded seals are in the Chukchi Sea; B17-01-F (purple square) is near Barrow Canyon, north of Utqiaġvik, and BS18-01-F (green square) is in the central Chukchi Sea. BS17-02-F (red square) is offshore of the mouth of the Yukon River. All five spotted seals are in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) moved from offshore of Scammon Bay north to the Bering Strait and then returned to an area offshore of Scammon Bay. Spotted seal SS17-02-M (green circle) is in Anadyr Gulf. Spotted seals SS18-02-M (brown circle) and SS18-07-F (purple circle) are south of St. Lawrence Island. Spotted seal SS18-08-F (pink circle) is south of Nome in Norton Sound.

March 26, 2019

See the attached map. During the last 16 days we have received locations for 2 bearded and 6 spotted seals. Both bearded seals are in the Chukchi Sea; B17-01-F (purple square) is offshore of Utqiaġvik and BS18-01-F (green square) is in the central Chukchi Sea. One spotted seal is in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) is near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Five spotted seals are in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) has moved south into Bristol Bay. Spotted seal SS18-08-F (pink circle) is near Hooper Bay. The remaining three spotted seals are in the marginal ice zone southwest of St. Lawrence Island.

April 1, 2019

See the attached map. From 19 March to 1 April we received locations for 2 bearded and 6 spotted seals. Both bearded seals were in the Chukchi Sea; B17-01-F (purple square) was offshore of Utqiaġvik and BS18-01-F (green square) was in the central Chukchi Sea. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Five spotted seals were in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) moved through northern Bristol Bay. Spotted seal SS18-08-F (pink circle) was near Hooper Bay. Spotted seals SS17-02-M (green circle) and SS18-07-F (purple circle) were near St. Lawrence Island and SS18-02-M (brown circle) was in the central Bering Sea.

April 15, 2019

See the attached map. From 1 to 15 April, we received locations for 1 bearded and 5 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) was in the central Chukchi Sea. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Four spotted seals were in the Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) moved through western Bristol Bay. Spotted seals SS17-02-M (green circle) and SS18-02-M (brown circle) were near St. Lawrence Island in the central Bering Sea. Spotted seal SS18-07-F (purple circle) moved from St. Lawrence Island to the Alaskan coast, north of Scammon Bay.

April 29, 2019

See the attached map. From 15 to 29 April, we received locations for 1 bearded and 6 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) was still in the central Chukchi Sea amongst heavy sea ice. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Four spotted seals were in the central Bering Sea, south of St. Lawrence Island. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) was along the northern coast of Bristol Bay.

May 13, 2019

See the attached map. From 29 April to 13 May, we received locations for 2 bearded and 4 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS17-02-F, tagged near Koyuk in September 2017, was in the southern Chukchi Sea near heavy ice. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) has moved into the northcentral Chukchi Sea, northeast of Wrangel Island, Russia, and is amongst heavy ice. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Three spotted seals were in the Bering Sea, all of which were near the Alaskan coast. SS18-06-M (yellow circle) left Bristol Bay and moved north along the coast, briefly entering Goodnews Bay. Spotted seals SS18-02-M (brown circle) and SS18-07-F (purple circle) were both near the mouth of the Yukon River.

May 27, 2019

See the attached map. From 12 to 27 May, we received locations for 2 bearded and 4 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS17-02-F, tagged near Koyuk in September 2017, was in the southern Chukchi Sea, north of the Chukotka Peninsula, along the ice edge. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) was still in the northcentral Chukchi Sea, northeast of Wrangel Island, Russia, and is amongst heavy ice. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Three spotted seals were in the Bering Sea, all of which were near the Alaskan coast. SS18-06-M (yellow circle) continued moving north along the coast and was most recently located near Port Clarence. Spotted seals SS18-02-M (brown circle) and SS18-07-F (purple circle) both made localized movements between Scammon Bay and the mouth of the Yukon River.

June 10, 2019

See the attached map. From 27 May to 10 June, we received locations for 2 bearded and 3 spotted seals. Bearded seal BS17-02-F, tagged near Koyuk in September 2017, was in the southern Chukchi Sea, north of the Chukotka Peninsula. Bearded seal BS18-01-F (green square) was still in the northcentral Chukchi Sea, north of Wrangel Island, Russia, and was amongst heavy ice. One spotted seal was in the Chukchi Sea; SS18-03-F (aqua circle) was near and hauled out on Icy Cape along the Alaskan coast. Spotted seal SS18-06-M (yellow circle) crossed into the southern Chukchi Sea and has stayed near Cape Dezhnev, Russia. Spotted seal SS18-02-M (brown circle) made localized movements and hauled out near Scammon Bay.

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