The richness (quality and biomass) of the Chukchi Sea, especially the forage fishes, are necessary for those marine mammals summering in the Chukchi, in order for them to enter winter in maximum health and associated indices.
- Chukchi Sea
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- Water Resources-Aquatic Habitats
The richness (i.e. quality and biomass) of the Chukchi Sea, especially the forage fishes, is necessary for those marine mammals summering in the Chukchi, in order for them to enter winter in maximum health and associated indices. The abundant forage and quality environment found in the Chukchi allows them to be able to make it through the winter and grow healthy fetuses in the arguably ecologically compromised Bering Sea (as demonstrated by ecological investigations and the current downward trajectory status of those marine mammals that summer in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands).
The spatial extent of the Chukchi Sea leaves an uninformed impression that it is a huge geographic area with plenty of room to allow for development of all kinds without impacting significantly on marine mammals and other wildlife that are found scattered across the entire area. Recent tracking studies of belugas, seals and other marine mammals belies this impression, in that it shows that the entire Chukchi sea can be traversed in short periods of time (a few days) by many of these species and that there is a continuous shifting of feeding areas throughout the open water period that over the course of the seasons encompasses the entire Sea.