OMSI Science Pub - Gray Whales

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2. Gray Whales Adults 40-45 feet long; 40 tons Calves 15 feet long Spyhop Drawing by Morris Grover 3. Gray Whale Blows Blow released at 200mph Heart-shaped Blow 4. Blow Holes 2 blow holes 1 blow hole Baleen Whale Toothed Whale 5. Whale Lice 200,000 on their body 6. Barnacles Barnacles (200-400lbs) and Barnacle Scar 7. Feeding Depress tongue Lift Tongue Blonde Baleen 8. Rostrum and Baleen Baleen and Tongue 9. Gray Whale Food Items Mysids Krill Amphipods Opportunistic Feeders 10. Feeding Skimming Bottom Feeding-Left Tail Fluke 11. Dorsal Fins vs. Dorsal Humps Humpback Dorsal Fins Gray Whale Dorsal Humps 12. Identify Individuals by Dorsal Hump and Sometimes Tail Fluke 13. Behaviors Breach Kelping 14. Spyhop 15. Friendly Whales Found in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Cal. Mexico 16. What are you looking at? 17. 18. Ecological Interrelationships Between Resident Gray Whales and Mysid Shrimp 19. What is a summer resident gray whale?

  • A gray whale that returns in succeeding years.
  • A gray whale that spends at least 48 hours in a specific locality and exhibits feeding behavior.

20. Why do resident gray whales come to Oregon in the summer?

  • Resident grays come for food, primarily mysid shrimp but also porcelain crab larvae (end of May or beginning of June),anchovy and other small prey items.
  • The round trip from Oregon to the lagoons of Baja California is less than half the distance (5,000 miles round trip vs 12,000 miles to Alaska). They save energy!
  • Out of the 18,000 Eastern Pacific Grays,about 250 resident grays remain from N. California to S. B.C. and dont go to Alaska.

Porcelain Crab Larvae Mysid Shrimp Amphipod 21. Feeding Behaviors of Gray Whales Skim Feeding on Crab Larvae Mysid Feeding-notice left fluke is in the air so the whale is on its right side above bottom. Each feeding behavior is unique for the type of prey the gray whale is targeting. Feeding on mysids in a Bullwhip Kelp bed-looks like a shark fin. 22. Mysid Swarms Seen on Fish Finders ( Red Band above the Black Bottom)Swarm 8 foot thick and continuous Sharking- indicative of mysid feeding seen in areas with thick echogram traces of mysids and shallow waters 20-35 feet deep 23. How do We Know What They Eat?

  • Visual Observation of Feeding-Jean Michel Cousteau and his dive team tried to film this behavior in 2004-No Success (PBS film on research aired in July of 2006 called Gray Whale Obstacle Course by Ocean Futures Society).
  • Dissect open a dead whale-rare to encounter a freshly dead whale in sampling locality.
  • Collect fecal material-Being at the right place at the right time! This is my method!

Whale Fecal Material A dream come true! 24. What is in Whale Fecal Material? What is in Whale Fecal Material? Mysid with Telson Statocyst Neomysistelson to Left Holmesimysisto right 25. What are Mysid Shrimp and How are they Different from Krill?

  • Mysids are crustaceans like crabs and ghost shrimp but they look most similar to krill

Mysid Krill Brown or transparent, slim, stalked eyes and found in near shore habitats Krill are orange, stocky, eyes not on stalks and found in offshore habitats 26. Why are Mysids so Important?

  • They are important as a food source
  • for salmon, rockfish, birds and gray whales
  • They are used in toxicity studies

Females brooding young have a higher lipid value 27. What have I learned about mysid shrimp?

  • How to identify the 2 different species
  • How to sex them
  • How to sample population dynamics information about them
  • How to determine swarm area localities
  • How to determine available biomass for the whales
  • Understanding their life history

28. Mysid Sexes 29. How do you sample population dynamics information of mysids? Put down plankton net Put down underwater camera Determine density with acrylic cube Use of an acoustic sensor 30. Determining Density and Nearest Neighbor Distances (NND) Mysids NND can be from body length to 2 body lengths Acrylic Cube 31. Determining Mysid Thickness with a Fish Finder 32. What Do We Know About the Life History of Mysids? FemaleHolmesimysiswith brood pouch of 32 eggs-Stage 1 Mysids undergo 3 stages while in the brood pouch. To the right is:Stage1-the Egg Stage 33. Mysid Larval Stages, Stage 2 and Stage 3 Female with 19 Stage 2 larva or Torpedo stage Late Stage 2, eyes pigmented Stage 3 Molted Larva have eyes on stalks -also called theCookie Monster Stage 34. Problems Facing Gray Whales Natural Problems 1. Changes in Prey Biomass ie. El Nino 2. Attacks by Orcas ie. 1/3 Calves killed each year Man-made Problems 1. Boat Hits 2. Entanglement in Fishing Gear 3. Shot or Harpooned 4. Noise Levels ie. Shell Offshore Inc., 190dB problem 5. Toxins ie. Stinky Whales 35. What Happens to Gray Whales in Years with Poor Mysid Biomass? 2005 was a poor year for mysids and2006 was an excellent year for mysids 2006 2005 36. Model Comparing Years of Continual Upwelling and Sporadic Upwelling 2005 and 2010 - weak winds2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 - strong winds 37. Changes in Prey Biomass Problems with 2005 and 2010 Gray Whales

  • Reduced NW winds resulting in lack of food
  • Whales not staying in area,move through just to check out what food is available.
  • Whales that are around are skinny with scapula showing through the skin and a depression behind blow hole.
  • Breath not stinky.

38. Body Condition varies with changes in Biomass Depression in Profile Straight Profile Good Body Condition seen in 2006 Poor Body Condition seen in 2005 39. They can become undernourished due to lack of food supplies Whales are sensitive to changes in their environment as seen by the scapula protruding 40. Orca Attacks Transient Orcas kill seals, sea lions and whales Tooth rakes on tail fluke or neck 41. Orcas Attack Star Stars fluke in 1999 Stars fluke in 2006 Evidence of an orca attack with tooth rakes on ventral and dorsal flukes 42. Orcas Attack mom Matrix Slasher and calf Nifer 43. Boat Propeller Cuts on Residents Cutter Rambolina Zebra Stripe rdh Zebra Stripe-left dorsal hump Zebra Stripe-rdh Football 44. Scarback Our most famous resident got hit by a harpoon Hit by exploding harpoon between1985-1987 Whale lice 45. Scarbacks Tail Flukes changing with age-shes turning gray New Discovery 46. Entanglement in Crab Pot Lines Humpback entangled in crab pot line 47. They can get lesions over their body due to toxins in the water or a depressed immune system Gray Whales with Toxins 48. Identification of Individual Gray Whales by Dorsal Hump Region Eagle Eye was born in 1994 to Snake Eyes and is a maleRare Flukeage Poopage Eagle Eye 49. White Whales and Dark Whales Chunky Ghost 8-Ball 50. Spike named for spikey dorsal hump and knuckles Ridgeback named for long ridge-like dorsal hump 51. Vinnie -A young whale named for the V-shaped dorsal hump and nn on neck 52. Morisa named forMorse Code-Dot and Dash 53. Milky Way-Scarbacks 2004 calf that returned as a 5-year old 54. 2002 LDH RDH Stretch named for stretch-mark like horizontal lines and stretching/breaching out of the water 2004 55. Patches named for barnacle patches on body 56. U-FishNotice the U and Fish on each side of the dorsal hump 57. Dotsee Trio 58. Am I Dotsee or Trio 59. Valentine Notice the white heart and smooth dorsal hump-been here since 2003 60. Comet Notice the long white comet tail in front of the dorsal hump, c on the knuckles and how she blows underwater 61. Shamrock 62. ArrowNotice the white arrow on the left dorsal hump and hes a lefty 63. Pointer Notice pointed dorsal hump and killer whale tooth rakes and bite marks 64. New Discovery-Gray Whale DD Bubble Net Feeding 65. Dotty Meteor Winky How would you distinguish these individual whales? 66. Oregons Resident Whales Courting Fluking In Synchrony Courting Behavior, late summer, female on left 67. .Olivia P. Dorsi- a very promiscious young female 68. Oh No its two Pink Floyds-only 6 feet long, hot pink and prehensile 69. Curious Oregon Gray Whales 70. Resident gray whale Localities Whale Cove Cape Foulweather Boiler Bay Eagle Eye heading towards Depoe Bay 71. My Zodiac withmy dog and first mate, Kida 72. Close Encounters of the Whale Kind 73. Kida and the Whales 74. Good Bye From Ribbon 75. Good Bye From Snowflake 76. Good Bye From Stretch 77. Good Bye From Wishbone 78. 20 (2.16 0 Mean Number of Juveniles/Female in August (n=75) 33 (1.59 0 Mean Number of Eggs/Female in August (n=67) 21 (1.29 19 (1.58) Mean Number of Juveniles/Female in May (n=85) 25 (4.32 22 (4.34) Mean Number of Eggs/Female in May (n=52) Mysids 0% 80% Percent of Whales in Poor Condition 90% 19% Percent of Time in Mysid Feeding 95% 20% Percent of Time of Whales in Residency 37 15 Number of Resident Whales 77 38 Days Observing 462 228 Observing Hours Resident Whales 2006 2005