Behavior of gray whales summering near St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea

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Wursig, B., Wells, R. S., & Croll, D. A. (1986). Behavior of gray whales summering near St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 64(3), 611-621.
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TitleBehavior of gray whales summering near St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea
AuthorsB. Wursig, R. Wells, D. Croll
AbstractMost Eschrichtius robustus behavior involved apparent benthic feeding. There was little socializing by whales in July, but more in late September. Percent of time at the surface was about 21% in July and 23% in September. There were fewer blows per surfacing, shorter surface times, and shorter dive times when whales were not feeding than when they were feeding. Intervals between successive blows were longer in nonfeeding whales, but number of blows per minute did not differ between feeding and nonfeeding whales. Number of blows per surfacing and duration of surfacing increased with increasing water depth (from <20-80m). Dive duration did not change appreciably with depth in July, but did so in September. Blow rates by feeding whales increased in deeper water, indicating the need for whales to respire more as depth of dives increased. Time of day affected surfacing-dive respiration characteristics differently in different months. Whales fed more from 1800-2100 local Bering Sea time than at other times of day. During an average surfacing, feeding whales moved approx 50m; during a dive, net horizontal movements were 90-100m. Speed averaged 2km/h and was twice as fast at the surface (3.4km/h) compared with net underwater speed (1.7km/h).
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Date1986
Volume64
Issue3
Start page611
End page621
ISSN0008-4301
SubjectsAlaska, Eschrichtius robustus, gray whale
NoteCited By (since 1996):12, Marine Mammals, Birds & Turtles

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