Chapter

Gray Whales in the Bering and Chukchi Seas

RAYMOND C. HIGHSMITH, KENNETH O COYLE, BODIL A BLUHM and BRENDA KONAR

in Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248847
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933200 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248847.003.0023
Gray Whales in the Bering and Chukchi Seas

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Among the large cetaceans, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are unique in three important ways: They are benthic feeders; they undertake one of the longest migrations of any mammal; and they may be fully recovered from overharvesting by commercial whaling. The eastern gray whales migrate annually between the mating regions and calving lagoons on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico, to summer feeding grounds in the northern Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea. This chapter explores the arctic ecosystem dynamics that justify such a migration and the impacts of the whales upon the system. It concludes with an oceanographic production model that both explains the current location of major gray whale feeding sites and can be used for predictive purposes.

Keywords: arctic ecosystem dynamics; whale migration; Eschrichtius robustus; commercial whaling; Baja California

Chapter.  8141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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