Understanding the relationship between the Bering Sea Cold Pool and vocal presence of odontocetes in the context of climate changea).

Academic Article


  • The Cold Pool is a subsurface layer with water temperatures below 2 °C that is formed in the eastern Bering Sea. This oceanographic feature of relatively cooler bottom temperature impacts zooplankton and forage fish dynamics, driving different energetic pathways dependent upon Bering Sea climatic regime. Odontocetes echolocate to find prey, so tracking foraging vocalizations acoustically provides information to understand the implications of climate change on Cold Pool variability influencing regional food web processes. Vocal foraging dynamics of ice-associated and seasonally migrant marine mammal species suggest that sperm whales spend more time searching for prey in warm years when the Cold Pool is reduced but are more successful at capturing prey during cold years when the Cold Pool is stronger. Beluga whale foraging vocal activity was relatively consistent across climate regimes but peaked during the warm regime. Killer whale foraging vocal activity peaked in both warm and cold regimes with indicators of different ecotypes exploiting changing prey conditions across climate regimes. Foraging activity of odontocete apex predators may serve as a sentinel indicator of future ecosystem change related to prey availability that is linked to a diminishing Cold Pool as water temperatures rise and seasonal sea ice decreases due to climate change.
  • Authors

  • Miksis-Olds, Jennifer
  • Seger, Kerri D
  • Johnson, Jennifer J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 1, 2024
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Beluga Whale
  • Ecosystem
  • Sperm Whale
  • Temperature
  • Water
  • Whale, Killer
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 38568142
  • Start Page

  • 2392
  • End Page

  • 2406
  • Volume

  • 155
  • Issue

  • 4