O'Corry-Crowe Coauthors Paper on Beluga Whale Dive Behavior
The FAU Harbor Branch Population Biology and Behavioral Ecology program's Dr. Greg O'Corry-Crowe recently co-authored a paper in the Journal Arctic on beluga whale dive behavior in the eastern Chukchi Sea. The multi-year study conducted by scientists from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, North Slope Borough, University of Alaska and Harbor Branch, used satellite-linked time-depth recorders to re-code diving patterns in 23 whales. Once considered shallow divers, the study revealed that these Arctic cetaceans made 'shallow' dives , mostly to 50m in depth, 'intermediate' dives with a modal depth of 250m, and 'deep' dives with a modal depth of 400m. The deepest recorded dives exceeded 900m and the longest lasted up to 21 minutes.
This study, in concert with an investigation of movements, has greatly improved the understanding of ranging behavior, habitat utilization and diving capabilities of beluga whales and set the stage for more in depth investigations of the oceanographic features that this remarkable animal is targeting for feeding and survival.