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Projects > Past > Bering Sea

An acoustic and visual survey for North Pacific right whales was conducted in the Bristol Bay region of the Bering Sea in the summer of 1999. At least ten right whales were encountered acoustically and five (not all the same) were encountered visually. Each of the whales was monitored both acoustically and visually for many hours, one goal being to better understand the acoustic activity levels of these animals. One paper has been published: McDonald, M. A. and S. E. Moore Calls recorded from north Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) in the eastern Bering Sea. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 4:261-266, 2002 (Online. Opens pdf). Recordings were also made of fin, humpback and killer whales. Biological sounds of unknown origin were also recorded. In October of 2000, four continuous seafloor acoustic recorders were deployed. Two of the four original recorders were recovered in the summer of 2001 and there has been intermittant seafloor acoustic monitoring of this area through the present time.

Map of initial seafloor recorders and sonobuoy array in Bering Sea
Bathymetric map in meters showing locations of seafloor recorders deployed in October 2000 and sonobuoy arrays which recorded right whales in July 1999.

Acoustic propagation of right whale calls during the summer survey illustrated strong reception beyond 50 km range. These calls showed character (frequencies and durations) consistent with the better studied South Atlantic right whales. Results were published in: Wiggins, S. M., McDonald, M. A., Munger, L., Hildebrand, J. A. and Moore, S. E., Waveguide propagation allows range-dependent estimates for North Pacific right whales in the Bering Sea, , Canadian Acoustics,32, 146-154, 2004.

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