The distribution of seabirds and fish in relation to ocean currents in the southeastern Chukchi Sea

By: , and 
Edited by: W.A. Montevecchi and A.J. Gaston



In late August 1988, we studied the distribution of seabirds in the southeastern Chukchi Sea, particularly in waters near a major seabird colony at Cape Thompson. Foraging areas were characterized using hydrographic data obtained from hydroacoustic surveys for fish. Murres (Uria spp.) and Black-legged Kitttiwakes Rissa tridactyla breeding at Cape Thompson fed mostly on Arctic cod, which are known from previous studies to be the most abundant pelagic fish in the region. Our hydroacoustic surveys revealed that pelagic fish were distributed widely, but densities were estimated to be low (e.g., 0.1-10 g∙m-3) throughout the study area and a few schools were recorded. Large feeding flocks of murres and kittiwakes were observed over fish schools with densities estimated to exceed 15 g∙m-3. Fish densities were higher in shallow Alaska Coastal Current waters than offshore in Bering Sea waters, and most piscivorous seabirds foraged in coastal waters. Poor kittiwake breeding success and a low frequency of fish in murre and kittiwake stomachs in late August suggested that fish densities were marginal for sustaining breeding seabirds at that time. Planktivorous Least Auklets Aethia pusilla and Parakeet Auklets Cyclorrhynchus psittacula foraged almost exclusively in Bering Sea waters. Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris and Tufted Puffins Fratercula cirrhata foraged in transitional waters at the front between Coastal and Bering Sea currents.

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Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title The distribution of seabirds and fish in relation to ocean currents in the southeastern Chukchi Sea
Year Published 1991
Language English
Publisher Canadian Wildlife Service
Publisher location Ottawa, CA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Studies of high-latitude seabirds. 1. Behavioural, energetic, and oceanographic aspects of seabird feeding ecology (Occasional Paper 68 of the Canadian Wildlife Service)
First page 21
Last page 31
Conference Title Population Biology and Conservation of Marine Birds Symposium
Conference Location St. John's, NL
Conference Date April, 1989
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Chukchi Sea
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