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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Marine Mammal Acoustics / Bering Strait

walrus on ice In this cooperative project, acoustic recording equipment and training is provided to Alaska Natives such that they can obtain in situ recordings of bowhead, gray, minke, and killer whales, ice seals (ringed, bearded, spotted and ribbon), harbor porpoise, and walruses in the Bering Strait region. Notes are taken on marine mammal presence and behavior observed visually during the acoustic recording session. This approach utilizes local regional knowledge of the natural history of different species to obtain information on the timing, behavior, and distribution of animals. Additionally, these data will enable analysis of the autonomous recordings beyond spatial and temporal trends in vocal marine mammal presence to include behavioral contexts for some of the sounds recorded.

Objectives:

  • Work with local communities to conduct acoustic recordings of marine mammals in locations and at times of year not previously studied
  • Ground truth marine mammal sounds detected on long-term autonomous passive acoustic recorders.

ADF&G is working on this project in collaboration with Dr. Kate Stafford of the University of Washington and Dr. Catherine Berchok from the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. Funding for this 1-year pilot study is from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

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