Kronotsky Reserve sums up the results of the field season of gray whale research

Kronotsky Reserve sums up the results of the field season of gray whale research

The press service of the Kronotsky Reserve told about the results of research on the movements of gray whales in Olga Bay and its surroundings. In the last field season, 127 individuals were identified.

"Now there are 180 gray whales in the Kamchatka catalog, which has been maintained since 2022. Many animals passed through Kronotsky Bay in early summer, without staying for long, probably on their way to their main feeding grounds. But some whales stayed for the whole season again, many of them were permanent neighbors of the researchers last year," the report says.

The scientists observed the whales from May to October. This year, during the summer, whales gradually shifted from the mouth of the Olga River along the coast of the Kronotsky Bay to the west, to the mouths of the Kronotskaya, Komarova and Tikhaya rivers. From the end of August to October, a gradual decrease in the number of these animals in the study area was recorded. During this period, scientists met only a few feeding individuals.

"Last year, in October, there were more than 15 of them feeding in Olga Bay. A decrease in the number of feeding animals during the summer and their spatial redistribution, an increase in the area of the water area where whales searched for food, may be associated with changes in the distribution and biomass of benthic (bottom-dwelling) invertebrates. This is the main food for gray whales," the press service noted.

Scientists have taken samples of benthos in the feeding areas of gray whales to confirm this assumption. Preliminary analysis showed a decrease in the size and biomass of benthic organisms during the field season.
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