Bowhead Whale Distribution in the Southeastern Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf, Summer 1979

Katherine W. Hazard, James C. Cubbage


The distribution of bowhead whales in the southeastern Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf was determined from observations aboard commercial resupply vessels. Fifty-four to sixty-two whale sightings were recorded on the 2150 km (1160 nm) of transects. Distribution of whale sightings along transects was clumped. The proportion of whales seen near ice was significantly greater than the proportion of transect surveyed near ice. Our observations and interviews indicate that bowheads are seen over a period of several weeks in many areas where they are seen annually. Both the locations and seasonality of whale occurrence appear similar to distribution patterns extracted from sightings of nearly a century ago.

Key words: Beaufort Sea - Admundsen Gulf, bowhead, cetacea, vessel transects, whale


Animal distribution; Bowhead whales; Amundsen Gulf, N.W.T.; Canadian Beaufort Sea

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