Meeting Abstract

61.1  Jan. 7  Utilization of the North Pacific By Marine Mammals and Others Top Predators: Tagging of Pacific Pelagics: Using Electronic tags to discover Hotspots in the Pelagic Realm COSTA, D.P.*; BLOCK, B.; BOGRAD, S.; KOCHEVAR, R; TOPP-SCIENCE-TEAM, ; Univ of California, Santa Cruz; Stanford University; ERD-SWFCS-NMFS; Monterey Bay Aquarium costa@biology.ucsc.edu

In an effort to understand and locate biological hotspots in the North Pacific Ocean, the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics program is using biologging technology to simultaneously map the location of marine vertebrates including sharks, tuna, albatrosses, seals and whales. Hot spots are regions of high biological activity where linkages occur between physical forcing, primary production, secondary consumers and top pelagic predators. Although it is generally accepted that these hotspots occur and are important, surprisingly little is known about these congregating spots for marine organisms in the open ocean. Our lack of understanding of the aggregating forces in the pelagic ocean ecosystem stems largely from limitations of available technology. Prior studies have focused on single species tracking and few have attempted to examine interactions among top pelagic species. TOPP is coupling electronic tagging data with satellite remote sensing technologies to simultaneously map the movements of diverse pelagic species and link their movements to oceanographic processes. To date we have tagged and tracked mako, salmon and white sharks, elephant seals, bluefin and yellowfin tuna, black-footed and Laysan albatross, California sea lions and leatherback sea turtles. To date our analysis indicates that frontal features associated with the North Pacific Transition zone and the California Current are the major regions of common habitat utilization for these species.