Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Oregon Coast Scientists Worry About Some Gray Whale Populations

Published 01/23/2016 at 4:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Newport, Oregon) – Scientists from Oregon State University in Corvallis and its Newport facility the Hatfield Marine Science Center say one segment of the gray whale population in the Pacific Ocean is not doing well. (Photo above: a whale near Russia, courtesy OSU).

Gray whales are divided into two segments: the eastern gray whale commonly known along the Oregon coast, and the western gray whale that inhabits the waters of north Asia. The western gray whale, according to local scientists, is not faring as well as its Oregon counterpart, after both at least started to recover from whaling after the 1970's.

Researchers believe that a lack of prey is hurting the recovery of the Asia-dwelling population. Only about 200 of them reside in their feeding area near Russia, and it's theorized a small crustacean called Ampelisca eschrichtii that is their biggest food source is much of the problem.

A recent study by Hatfield scientists came up with a few twists and turns, especially with the Sakhalin Shelf area of Russia, where the eastern grays feed.

“The Sakhalin Shelf could be the richest gray whale feeding area in the world,” said John Chapman, a co-author of the study who works at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. “But this discovery includes some surprises, still surrounded by mystery.”

Scientists found that on one hand the food source was too abundant to be over-consumed by the whales, yet the species was not rebounding after restrictions on whaling were put into place 40 years ago.

Chapman believes it's possible that access to the food is somehow restricted, perhaps because it is too deep or that its mixed with sediments that make them unsuitable. Plus, the distance that it takes to reach this feeding area costs more energy for the whales than they can healthily sustain.

“Such extreme migration between the feeding grounds on the Sakhalin shelf and the breeding grounds in Baja California and back may be too energetically costly to pay for the trip,” Chapman said.

Another issue may be the ice sheets of the Sakhalin Shelf, which must recede in order for the eastern grays to graze.

“The whales can’t get to this prey until the ice recedes each summer,” Chapman pointed out. “But if the ice-free areas expand too far, or persist too long, the production of these crustaceans could decrease significantly.” Oregon Coast Lodging in this area - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

More on Oregon Coast Whales here, and below.





Whale photos below courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium






More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

 

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Pacific City, Oregon

 


 


Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Warm, Sunny Portland and Oregon Coast This Week; Spring Break Starts Wet, Lar...
Temps in the 70s, but spring break gets off to a wet and dramatic start; wave perhaps 20 ft
Oregon Coast Whale Watch Week Begins Soon, Includes Live Stream
Spring Whale Watch Week festival of cetaceans returns March 23 through 31
First Ever Find on Washington Coast: Oregon Crew Discovers Pacific Snake Eel
To date, there are only three recorded incidents of one being found in Oregon. Science, Seaside Aquarium
Weird Interactions of Oregon Coast Weather and Tideline
How the temperatures can change between the tideline and the vegetation line
Who Has the Price Drops on Oregon Coast for Spring Break?
Astoria lodging, Seaside lodging, Cannon Beach lodging, Manzanita lodging, Rockaway Beach lodging deals, Pacific City lodging, Lincoln City lodging, Depoe Bay lodging, Newport lodging, Yachats lodging
Mananita, Rockaway Beach, Nehalem Bay Virtual Tour, N. Oregon Coast
All the beaches of Manzanita, Rockaway Beach, Nehalem and Wheeler in great detail
Festival of Illusions Returns to Wow the Central Oregon Coast Town of Lincoln...
The famed fest of magic comes back March 24 through April 4. Lincoln City events
Science Behind the Puffy, Bubbly Pillow Basalts of the Oregon Coast
All this happened along the Oregon coast some 14 to 40 million years ago. Geology, Yachats, Depoe Bay

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted

Oregon Coast Lodging
Rentals
Specials

Dining

Events Calendar

Oregon Coast Weather

Travel News

Search for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles

Virtual Tours, Maps
Deep Details