The Bowhead Whale, Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758, in the Western Sea of Okhotsk (2009–2016): Distribution Pattern, Behavior, and Threats

Abstract

The data on sightings of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758) in the western Sea of Okhotsk collected during eight field seasons, as well as information obtained from interviews with local residents in the study region, are presented. The major areas of concentration of the bowhead whale population in the ice-free period are determined; the whale behavior in bays is described. Data on sea surface temperature, salinity, and depth measurements at the sites of bowhead whale sightings are provided. The possible causes of whale concentrations close to the shoreline and in apical parts of mainland shallow-water bays, as well as the potential threats to the population associated, inter alia, with this pattern of distribution, are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Berzin, A.A., New results and new challenges in the study of whales, Sb. statei, posvyashch. 70-letiyu Tikhookean. Nauchno–Issled. rybokhoz. tsentra “TINRO- 70” (Collect. Pap. Commem. 70th Anniv. Pac. Res. Fish. Center “TINRO-70”), Vladivostok: TINROTsentr, 1995, pp. 154–158.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Berzin, A.A., Vladimirov, V.L., and Doroshenko, N.V., The results of aerial surveys of distribution and number of polar, gray and beluga whales in the Sea of Okhotsk in 1985–1989, Izv. Tikhookean. Nauchno–Issled. Inst. Rybn. Khoz. Okeanogr., 1990, vol. 112, pp. 51–60.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Doroshenko, N.V., Polar whales of the Sea of Okhotsk, Izv. Tikhookean. Nauchno–Issled. Inst. Rybn. Khoz. Okeanogr., 1996, vol. 121, pp. 14–25.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Doroshenko, N.V., Balaenids of the Sea of Okhotsk (history of harvesting and the current status), Materialy sovetskogo kitoboinogo promysla 1949–1979 (Materials of Soviet Whaling 949–1979), Moscow: Tsentr Ekologicheskoi Politiki Rossii, 2000, pp. 31–47.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Doroshenko, N.V., Blokhin, S.A., and Yazvenko, S.B., Distribution and number of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Shantar area of the Sea of Okhotsk in autumn 2001, Materialy tretyei Mezhdunar. konf. “Morskie mlekopitayushchie Golarktiki” (Proc. Third Int. Conf. “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic”), Moscow: KMK, 2004, pp. 194–197.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Krasnaya kniga Rossiiskoi Federatsii. Zhivotnye (Red Data Book of the Russian Federation. Animals), Moscow: Astrel, 2001, pp. 688–690.

  7. 7.

    Melnikov, V.V. and Fedorets, Yu.V., The distribution of zooplankton and bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 in Akademiya Bay Sea of Okhotsk, Russ. J. Mar. Biol., 2016, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 216–221.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Meschersky, I.G., Chichkina, A.N., Shpak, O.V., and Rozhnov, V.V., Molecular genetic analysis of the Shantar summer group of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus L.) in the Okhotsk Sea, Russ. J. Genet., 2014, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 395–405.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Hydrometeorological conditions, in Gidrometeorologiya i gidrokhimiya morei, Tom 9._Okhotskoe more (Hydrometeorology and Hydrochemistry of Seas, vol. 9: Sea of Okhotsk), Fedotov O.M., Ed., St. Petersburg: Gidrometeoizdat, 1998, no. 1.

  10. 10.

    Rogachev, K.A. and Fomin, E.V., Anticyclonic circulation in two adjacent bays of the Sea of Okhotsk, Vestn. Dal’nevost. Otd. Ross. Akad. Nauk, 2010, vol. 1, pp. 19–24.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Savel’ev, A.V. and Serkov, V.M., Assessment of the number and distribution of marine mammals on the northern and northeastern Sakhalin shelf by the results of observations in 2007, Ekologicheskie aspekty osvoeniya neftegazovykh mestorozhdenii. (Ecological Aspects of Development of Oil and Gas Fields), Vladivostok: Dal’nauka, 2009, no. 1, pp. 110–115.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Fedoseev, G.A., Whale encounters in the ice massifs of the Sea of Okhotsk, Ekologiya, 1984, no. 3, pp. 81–83.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Filatova, O.A., Shpak, O.V., Paramonov, A.Yu., et al., Cetacean encounters in the coastal waters of the northern Okhotsk Sea in the summer 2016, IX Mezhdunarodnaya konferentsiya “Morskie mlekopitayushchie Golarktiki,” Tezisy dokladov (IX Int. Conf. “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic,” Abstracts of Papers), Moscow: Sov. Mor. Mlekopitayushchim, 2016, p. 95.

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Chernova, O.F., Shpak, O.V., Kiladze, A.B., et al., Summer molting of bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758, of the Okhotsk Sea population, Dokl. Biol. Sci., 2016, vol. 471, no. 2, pp. 245–249.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Shpak, O.V. and Paramonov, A.Yu., Observations on belugas (Delphinapterus leucas), killer whales (Orcinus orca), and right whales (Balaenidae) in Ulbansky Bay, the Okhotsk Sea, Trudy VII Mezhdunar. konf. “Morskie mlekopitayushchie Golarktiki” (VII Int. Conf. “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic”), Moscow: Moscow: Sov. Mor. Mlekopitayushchim, 2012, vol. 2, pp. 395–400.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Shpak, O.V. and Paramonov, A.Yu., Observations of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Shantar region of the Okhotsk Sea; potential threats for population recovery, Trudy VIII Mezhdunar. konf. “Morskie mlekopitayushchie Golarktiki” (Collect. Sci. Pap. VIII Int. Conf. “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic”), Moscow: Sovet po Morskim Mlekopitayushchim, 2015, vol. 2, pp. 334–342.

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Ivashchenko, Yu. and Clapham, Ph., Bowhead whales Balaena mysticetus in the Okhotsk Sea, Mammal Rev., 2010, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 65–89. doi 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2009.00152.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    LeDuc, R.G., Dizon, A.E., Burdin, A.M., et al., Genetic analyses (mtDNA and microsatellites) of Okhotsk and Bering/Chukchi/Beaufort Seas populations of bowhead whales, J. Cetacean Res. Manage, 2005, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 107–111.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Lindholm, O., Whales and How Tides and Currents in the Okhotsk Sea Affect Them, San Diego: Scripps Inst. Oceanogr., 1965. https://doi.org/escholarship.org/uc/item/8j93s3pv.Accessed January6, 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Lowry, L.F., Foods and feeding ecology, in The Bowhead Whale, Soc. Mar. Mamm. Spec. Publ. No. 2, Lawrence: Allen Press, 1993, pp. 201–238.

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Moore, S.E. and Reeves, R.R., Distribution and movement, in The Bowhead Whale, Soc. Mar. Mamm. Spec. Publ. No. 2, Lawrence: Allen Press, 1993, pp. 313–386.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Shpak, O.V., The Okhotsk Sea bowhead whale study, Sci. Comm. Int. Whaling Comm., Jeju Isl., Rep. Korea, June 3–15, 2013, doc. SC/65a/BRG28.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Shpak, O., Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the temperate zone of the Okhotsk Sea: a case study for populations residing in a rapidly warming Arctic, in Alaskan Mar. Sci. Symp. Book of Abstracts, Anchorage, Alaska, USA, 2015, Seattle: Alaska Fisheries Sci. Center, 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Shpak, O.V., Update on studies of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the Okhotsk Sea in 2014–2015, Sci. Comm. Int. Whaling Comm., Bled, Slovenia, June 4–20, 2016, doc. SC/66b/BRG05.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Shpak, O.V., Meschersky, I.G., Chichkina, A.N., et al., New data on the Okhotsk Sea bowhead whales, in Rept. Sci. Comm. Int. Whaling Comm., Bled, Slovenia, May 12–14, 2014, Doc. SC/65b/BRG17, Cambridge: Int. Whaling Comm., 2014, pp. 1–5.

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Townsend, C.H., The distribution of certain whales as shown by logbook records of American whaleships, Zoologica, 1935, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 1–5.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to O. V. Shpak.

Additional information

Original Russian Text © O.V. Shpak, A.Yu. Paramonov, 2018, published in Biologiya Morya.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Shpak, O.V., Paramonov, A.Y. The Bowhead Whale, Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758, in the Western Sea of Okhotsk (2009–2016): Distribution Pattern, Behavior, and Threats. Russ J Mar Biol 44, 210–218 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1063074018030082

Download citation

Keywords

  • bowhead whale
  • Balaena mysticetus
  • Sea of Okhotsk
  • distribution
  • behavior
  • threats