Arctic Whale Survey Research Summary

Arctic Whale Survey Research Summary

Oceans North Canada’s Lancaster Sound 2011 expedition conducted two research projects in coordination with Canadian and international institutions.

Expedition members collected valuable new data for studies about marine mammals in the Eastern Arctic. Non-invasive methods were used, to ensure that wildlife was not disturbed.

Research expedition leader, Kristin Westdal, is a marine biologist with Oceans North who specializes in marine mammals. She has worked extensively in the Eastern Arctic researching narwhal, beluga and killer whales.

Marine Mammal Acoustic Survey

Passive acoustic monitoring, a method for collecting underwater vocalizations and studying marine mammals without disturbing them, was used to determine the presence of species, estimate population sizes and describe the acoustic behaviour of a species or individuals. The data was collected using a stereo hydrophone setup and recorded at fixed positions and time intervals. The frequency band of the recording systems covered the frequency range of most vocalizations produced by marine mammals that were encountered. Visual observations and photographic documentation of observed species were made during the recording sessions and throughout the expedition. 

Expedition member Outi Tervo is a Ph.D. student in marine biology at the University of Copenhagen.

Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) Profiling

This study collected data on conductivity, temperature and depth through the water column to a depth of 500 metres. The instrument used was a Sea-Bird SBE19plus SEACAT Profiler that was deployed using a winch installed on the Arctic Endeavour. Profiling took place at stations five kilometres apart in a straight line transect in the Upernavik Icefjord. The data will be used by oceanographers to study localized circulation in this icefjord.

States of Innovation