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Russian Journal of Marine Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 56–62 | Cite as

Seasonal migrations of Sea of Okhotsk beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) of the Sakhalin-Amur summer aggregation

  • O. V. Shpak
  • R. D. Andrews
  • D. M. Glazov
  • D. I. Litovka
  • R. C. Hobbs
  • L. M. Mukhametov
Zoology of Vertebrates

Abstract

Seasonal migrations of beluga whales from the Sakhalin-Amur aggregation in the Sea of Okhotsk were investigated with the use of satellite telemetry. Satellite tags were attached to four females captured near Chkalova Island, Sakhalin Bay, in August 2007. At 5 weeks after tagging, the belugas left the Chkalova Island area and moved to the Nikolaya and Ul’banskii Bays in the Shantar Sea. The animals stayed in these bays (mainly in Nikolaya Bay) until the end of autumn and then traveled northward to deeper waters. In winter and spring, they preferred to stay in the regions with dense ice cover or close to the ice edge. During the winter migration, the tagged whales, as a rule, did not keep together, although they followed the same course with a little time lag. The female whose tag transmitted the longest (9.5 months) returned to Chkalova Island in late May and thus completed the seasonal migration cycle. Based on the data on the migration routes of the tagged belugas, we suggest that the Sakhalin-Amur and Shantar aggregations interact in autumn. It is also possible that they have similar winter migratory paths

Key words

beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas Sea of Okhotsk migration satellite telemetry 

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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. V. Shpak
    • 1
  • R. D. Andrews
    • 2
  • D. M. Glazov
    • 1
  • D. I. Litovka
    • 3
  • R. C. Hobbs
    • 4
  • L. M. Mukhametov
    • 1
  1. 1.A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and EvolutionRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska SeaLife CenterUniversity of Alaska FairbanksSewardUSA
  3. 3.Chukchi Branch of the Pacific Research Fisheries Center (ChukotTINRO)AnadyrRussia
  4. 4.National Marine Mammal LaboratoryAlaska Fisheries Science CenterSeattleUSA

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