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James L. Bodkin

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Sea otters in western Prince William Sound (WPWS) and elsewhere in the Gulf of Alaska suffered widespread mortality as a result of oiling following the 1989 T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill. Following the spill, extensive efforts have been directed toward identifying and understanding long-term consequences of the spill and the process of recovery. We conducted annual aerial surveys of sea otter abundance from 1993 to 2009 (except for 2001 and 2006) in WPWS. We observed an increasing trend in population abundance at the scale of WPWS through 2000 at an average annual rate of 4 percent: however, at northern Knight Island where oiling was heaviest and sea otter mortality highest, no increase in abundance was evident by...
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Exposure to contaminants other than petroleum hydrocarbons could confound interpretation of Exxon Valdez oil spill effects on biota at Prince William Sound, Alaska. Hence, we investigated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in blood of sea otters and harlequin ducks sampled during 1998. PCB concentrations characterized by lower chlorinated congeners were highest in sea otters from the unoiled area, whereas concentrations were similar among harlequin ducks from the oiled and unoiled area. Blood enzymes often elevated by xenobiotics were not related to PCB concentrations in sea otters. Only sea otters from the unoiled area had estimated risk from PCBs, and PCB composition or concentrations did not correspond to reported...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Marine Pollution Bulletin
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Following translocations to the outer coast of Southeast Alaska in 1965, sea otters have been expanding their range and increasing in abundance. We began conducting surveys for sea otters in Cross Sound, Icy Strait and Glacier Bay, Alaska in 1994, following initial reports of their presence in Glacier Bay in 1993. Since 1995, the number of sea otters in Glacier Bay proper has increased from about 5 to more than 500. Between 1993 and 1997 sea otters were apparently only occasional visitors to Glacier Bay, but in 1998 long-term residence was established as indicated by the presence of adult females and their dependent pups. Sea otter distribution is limited to the Lower Bay, south of Sandy Cove, and is not continuous...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Annual Report
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Similar to other species that in recent centuries experienced unregulated human exploitation, sea otters were extirpated throughout large portions of their historic range in the North Pacific. For most of the twentieth century, with cessation of the fur trade and because of concerted efforts at conservation, sea otters recovered much of their historic range and abundance. Late in the twentieth century, increased predation by killer whales in southwest Alaska drove sea otter populations to a few percentage points of their prior abundance, and one of the nation’s largest oil spills in south-central Alaska caused the death of several thousand animals and required more than two decades for recovery. In California, entanglement...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Information on the size, distribution, and productivity of the California sea otter population is broadly relevant to two federally mandated goals: removing the population’s listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and obtaining an “optimal sustainable population” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Except for the population in central California, sea otters (Enhydra lutris) were hunted to extinction between Prince William Sound, Alaska, and Baja California (Kenyon 1969). Wilson et al. (1991), based on variations in cranial morphology, recently assigned sub-specific status (E. l. nereis) to the California sea otter. Furthermore, mitochondrial DNA analysis has revealed genetic differences...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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