+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Migration life pattern and habitat of the greenland right whale balaena mysticetus l. 1758 in the atlantic arctic during the 17th century



Migration life pattern and habitat of the greenland right whale balaena mysticetus l. 1758 in the atlantic arctic during the 17th century



Lutra 30(2): 123-141



Two mainly historical-archeological research projects, in which 16th and 17th century whaling establishments were excavated in South Labrador and on Spitsbergen, induced a study of the behaviour, habitat en migration of the Greensland right whale in the Atlantic Arctic. Historical information was compared with the results of recent research on whales killed in the Bering Sea. In this paper new information about the species is presented. The feeding habits are discussed using publications on stomach contents of Greenland right whales killed in the Bering Sea. This reseach made it clear that Greenland right whales were sometimes benthic feeders. Historical information shows that this kind of feeding was also practiced in the bays of Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen, Disko Bugt and Pond Inlet. The information on the food of whales in Zorgdrager (1720), Bennet (1809) and Scoresby (1820) was considered and compared with recent information. This comparison makes it likely that there has been a change in the composition of the zooplankton in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans in favour of crustaceans. Using historical information an estimate is made of the initial size of the Spitsbergen (16.500-22.000) and total Greensland right whale population (41.200-69.700). These high numbers are in sharp contrast with the present-day number of Greenland right whales (3000-4000). After a description of the habitat and migration of the Greenland right whale in general, the migration patterns of the Davis Strait and Spitsbergen populations are discussed. It is made clear that at least during the Little Ice Age the Greenland right whale was found further to the south than was to be expected. It is also likely that the species was found in the Barents Sea, east of Spitsbergen. The bays of Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen were visited by female and young whales especially. They were concentrated there and mostly easy to catch. Several 17th-century historical sources inform us about great numbers of whales in the bays of Spitsbergen, both before and during the main hunt. Finally attention is paid to the influence of climatic changes on the migration of this species. Because the Greenland right whale prefers the proximity of the pack-ice, the distribution of the species is largely determined by the climate. Moreover, contrary to the conclusion of Reeves et al. (1983) based on their data on Davis Strait whaling, the migration route of the Spitsbergen population was greatly influenced by the whale hunt.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 1 workday: $29.90)

Accession: 005901661

Download citation: RISBibTeXText


Related references

Occurrence of the bowhead or Greenland right whale (Balaena mysticetus) in Canadian Arctic waters. Journal Fish Res Bd Canada 28: 1873-1875, 1971

A Right whale Balaena sp, in all probability a Greenland Right whale Balaena mysticetus observed in the Barents Sea. Norsk Hvalfangsttidende Sandefjord 53: 311-313, 1964

Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 - bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 - Gronlandwal. Unknown, 1995

Distribution and migration of the bowhead whale balaena mysticetus in the eastern north american arctic. Arctic 36(1): 5-64, 1983

Recent sightings of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) in northeast Greenland and the Greenland Sea. Polar Biology 281: 796-801, 2005

Carpus of the Greenland Right Whale Balaena mysticetus. Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 2(ix): 145-187, 1895

Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758 Bowhead whale. Robineau, D , Duguy, R , Klima, M [Handbook of European mammals, Vol 6 Marine mammals (Part I): Whales and dolphins (Cetacea): Part IA: Introduction, Monodontidae, Phocoenidae, Delphinidae, Part IB: Ziphiidae, Kogiidae, Physeteridae, Balaenidae, Balaenopteridae] Handbuch der Saeugetiere Europas: Band 6: Meeressaeuger (Teil I): Wale und Delphine (Cetacea): Teil IA: Einfuehrung, Monodontidae, Phocoenidae, Delphinidae; Teil IB: Ziphiidae, Kogiidae, Physeter, 1994

Bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758. Unknown, 1985

A comparison of gray whale Eschrichtius robustus and bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus distribution, abundance, habitat preference and behavior in the northeastern Chukchi Sea, 1982-84. International Whaling Commission Report of the Commission 36: 273-277, 1986

Aspects of the ecology of the bowhead whale Balaena mysticetus in the western Arctic. Unknown, 1989

Observations of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) in central west Greenland in March - May 1982. International Whaling Commission Report of the Commission 33: 545-547, 1983

The Bones, Articulations, and Muscles of the Rudimentary Hind-Limb of the Greenland Right-Whale (Balaena mysticetus). Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 15(Pt 2): I1, 1881

A note on the net-entanglement of a bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) in northwest Greenland, November 1980. International Whaling Commission Report of the Commission 35: 377-378, 1985

Range estimation of bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) calls in the Arctic using a single hydrophone. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 136(1): 145-155, 2014

Holocene bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) mortality patterns in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Arctic 53(4): 414-421, 2000