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Walrus areas of use in the Chukchi Sea during sparse sea ice cover


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The Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) feeds on benthic invertebrates on the continental shelf of the Chukchi and Bering seas and rests on sea ice between foraging trips. With climate warming, ice-free periods in the Chukchi Sea have increased and are projected to increase in frequency and duration. We radio-tracked walruses to estimate areas of walrus foraging and occupancy in the Chukchi Sea during June–November of 2008–2011, years when sea ice was sparse over the continental shelf. The earlier and more extensive sea ice retreat in June–September and delayed freeze-up of sea ice in October and November, allowed walruses to arrive earlier, occupy slightly more northern areas, and stay later in the Chukchi Sea than in [...]


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To be used for environmental planning only.  Please contact the authors for any other purposes.

USGS Alaska Science Center

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We sought to describe Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) utilization of the Chukchi sea by tracking walruses and their hourly foraging behavior from June through November using satellite-linked tags during years of sparse sea ice (2008-2011). To estimate density of walrus foraging on a monthly basis, we applied a movement-based kernel density estimator to predict walrus utilization over a 5 km resolution grid encompassing the Chukchi Sea. We generated utilization density contours from the gridded utilization distribution. The utilization density contours are provided for environmental planning purposes and may only be understood within the context of the published manuscript.


These files are intended for display and environmental planning purposes only. Please contact the authors regarding other purposes.


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<p> Data for Walrus distributions and foraging uploaded to ScienceBase November 2012, prior to publication of Walrus areas of use in the Chukchi Sea during sparse sea ice cover in Inter-Research Marine Ecology Progress Series</p>

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