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Side-Scan Sonar Records and Diver Observations of the Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) Feeding Grounds

John S. Oliver and Rikk G. Kvitek
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 167, No. 1 (Aug., 1984), pp. 264-269
DOI: 10.2307/1541353
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1541353
Page Count: 6
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Side-Scan Sonar Records and Diver Observations of the Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) Feeding Grounds
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Abstract

Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) excavate infaunal invertebrates and sediment by suction, producing many large depressions in the sea floor. Diver observations indicate that side-scan sonar provides accurate estimates of the size of feeding excavations and the area of bottom covered by excavations (>30% of the bottom). Although side scan does not detect some excavations because of small size (particularly $<3\ {\rm m}^{2}$) or their orientation with respect to the side-scan track, it gives a quantitative impression of the relative intensity of bottom disturbance by whales. This disturbance is directly related to habitat and prey utilization by whales.

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