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Project Information

Title: Long-term Monitoring of Humpback Whale Predation on Pacific Herring in Prince William Sound

Project Year and Number: 2018: 18120114-O

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: 2017: 17120114-O, 2016: 12120114-N, 2015: 12120114-N, 2014: 14120114-N, 2014: 12120114-N, 2013: 13120114-N, 2013: 12120114-N, 2012: 12120114-N

Principal Investigator (PI): John Moran, NMFS

Assisting Personnel: Jan Straley

Research Location:

Restoration Category:

Injured Resources Addressed: Commercial Fishing , Pacific Herring , Passive Use , Recreation & Tourism , Subsistence

Abstract: The humpback whale monitoring project is part of the Gulf Watch Alaska pelagic component’s integrated fall/winter predator-prey survey. Humpback whale predation has been identified as a significant source of mortality on wintering Pacific herring in Prince William Sound (PWS) and a likely top-down force constraining their recovery. Humpback whales in PWS have a higher percentage of herring in their diet during the winter months and forage longer on wintering herring shoals than their counterparts in Southeast Alaska. Currently, North Pacific humpback whales in the Gulf of Alaska may be experiencing nutritional stress and increased use of inland waters like PWS could result in increased predation on herring. We will continue to evaluate the impact by humpback whales foraging on Pacific herring populations in PWS, following protocols established during the winters of 2007/08 and 2008/09 (EVOSTC project PJ090804). Prey selection by humpback whales will be determined through acoustic surveys, visual observation, scat analysis, and prey sampling. Chemical analysis of skin and blubber biopsy samples will provide a longer term perspective on shifts in prey type (trophic level from stable isotopes) and quality (energy content). These data will be combined in a bioenergetic model that will allow us to assess the impact of recovering humpback whale populations on the PWS ecosystem. By integrating with the forage fish and fall/winter marine bird components, we will be able to provide a comprehensive understanding of bottom-up influences and top-down controls on the PWS herring population. We are not proposing any major changes to this project for FY18.


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Proposal: View PDF (219 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2018

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2018

Annual Report: 2018: View (775 KB)

Final Report: Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us

Publications from this Project: None Available

More information may be available for this project under other years:

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Project Number Proposal Annual Reports Final Report Data
2017: 17120114-O View (PDF) 2017: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2016: 12120114-N View (PDF) 2016: Due 09/01/2016
2015: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2014: 14120114-N Not Available 2014: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2014: 12120114-N View (PDF) 2014: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2013: 13120114-N Not Available 2013: Due 09/01/2013
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2013: 12120114-N View (PDF) 2013: Due 09/01/2013
2012: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets