Dorsal Fins vs. Dorsal Humps Humpback Dorsal Fins Gray Whale Dorsal Humps
Identify Individuals by Dorsal Hump and Sometimes Tail Fluke
Behaviors Breach Kelping
Friendly Whales Found in San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja Cal. Mexico
What are you looking at?
Ecological Interrelationships Between Resident Gray Whales and Mysid Shrimp
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.
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 don’t go to Alaska.
Porcelain Crab Larvae Mysid Shrimp Amphipod
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.
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
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!
What is in Whale Fecal Material? What is in Whale Fecal Material? Mysid with Telson Statocyst Neomysis telson to Left Holmesimysis to right
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
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
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
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
Determining Density and Nearest Neighbor Distances (NND) Mysids NND can be from ½ body length to 2 body lengths Acrylic Cube
Determining Mysid Thickness with a Fish Finder
What Do We Know About the Life History of Mysids? Female Holmesimysis with brood pouch of 32 eggs-Stage 1 Mysids undergo 3 stages while in the brood pouch. To the right is: Stage 1-the Egg Stage
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 the “Cookie Monster Stage”
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
What Happens to Gray Whales in Years with Poor Mysid Biomass? 2005 was a poor year for mysids and 2006 was an excellent year for mysids 2006 2005
Model Comparing Years of Continual Upwelling and Sporadic Upwelling 2005 and 2010 - weak winds 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 - strong winds
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.
Body Condition varies with changes in Biomass Depression in Profile Straight Profile Good Body Condition seen in 2006 Poor Body Condition seen in 2005
They can become undernourished due to lack of food supplies Whales are sensitive to changes in their environment as seen by the scapula protruding
Orca Attacks Transient Orcas kill seals, sea lions and whales Tooth rakes on tail fluke or neck
Orcas Attack Star Star’s fluke in 1999 Star’s fluke in 2006 Evidence of an orca attack with tooth rakes on ventral and dorsal flukes
Orcas Attack mom Matrix Slasher and calf Nifer
Boat Propeller Cuts on Residents Cutter Rambolina Zebra Stripe rdh Zebra Stripe-left dorsal hump Zebra Stripe-rdh Football
Scarback Our most famous resident got hit by a harpoon Hit by exploding harpoon between 1985-1987 Whale lice
Scarback’s Tail Flukes changing with age-she’s turning gray New Discovery
Entanglement in Crab Pot Lines Humpback entangled in crab pot line
They can get lesions over their body due to toxins in the water or a depressed immune system Gray Whales with Toxins
Identification of Individual Gray Whales by Dorsal Hump Region Eagle Eye was born in 1994 to Snake Eyes and is a male Rare Flukeage Poopage Eagle Eye
White Whales and Dark Whales Chunky Ghost 8-Ball
Spike named for spikey dorsal hump and knuckles Ridgeback named for long ridge-like dorsal hump
Vinnie -A young whale named for the V-shaped dorsal hump and nn on neck
Morisa named for Morse Code-Dot and Dash
Milky Way -Scarback’s 2004 calf that returned as a 5-year old
2002 LDH RDH Stretch named for stretch-mark like horizontal lines and stretching/breaching out of the water 2004
Patches named for barnacle patches on body
U-Fish Notice the U and Fish on each side of the dorsal hump
Am I Dotsee or Trio
Valentine Notice the white heart and smooth dorsal hump-been here since 2003
Comet Notice the long white comet tail in front of the dorsal hump, c on the knuckles and how she blows underwater
Arrow Notice the white arrow on the left dorsal hump and he’s a lefty
Pointer Notice pointed dorsal hump and killer whale tooth rakes and bite marks
New Discovery-Gray Whale DD Bubble Net Feeding
Dotty Meteor Winky How would you distinguish these individual whales?
Oregon’s Resident Whales Courting Fluking In Synchrony Courting Behavior, late summer, female on left
. Olivia P. Dorsi- a very promiscious young female
Oh No it’s two Pink Floyds-only 6 feet long, hot pink and prehensile
Curious Oregon Gray Whales
Resident gray whale Localities Whale Cove Cape Foulweather Boiler Bay Eagle Eye heading towards Depoe Bay
My Zodiac with my dog and first mate, Kida
Close Encounters of the Whale Kind
Kida and the Whales
Good Bye From Ribbon
Good Bye From Snowflake
Good Bye From Stretch
Good Bye From Wishbone
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