Supplementary material from "Use of glacial fronts by Narwhals (<i>Monodon monoceros</i>) in West Greenland"

Published on 2016-10-20T12:27:22Z (GMT) by
Glacial fronts are important summer habitat for narwhals (<i>Monodon monoceros</i>), however, no studies have quantified which glacial properties attract whales. We investigated the importance of glacial habitats using telemetry data from <i>n</i> = 15 whales in September 1993 - 1994 and 2006 - 2007 in Melville Bay, West Greenland. For 41 marine-terminating glaciers, we estimated (i) narwhal presence/absence, (ii) number of 24h periods spent at glaciers and (iii) the fraction of narwhals that visited each glacier (at 5, 7 and 10km) in autumn. We also compiled data on glacier width, ice thickness, ice velocity, front advance/retreat, area and extent of iceberg discharge, bathymetry, subglacial freshwater run-off and sediment flux. Narwhal use of glacial habitats expanded in the 2000s probably due to reduced summer fast ice and later autumn freeze-up. Using a generalized multivariate framework, glacier ice front thickness (vertical height in the water column) was a significant covariate in all models. A negative relationship with glacier velocity was included in several models and glacier front width was a significant predictor in the 2000s. Results suggest narwhals prefer glaciers with potential for higher ambient freshwater melt over glaciers with silt-laden discharge. This may represent a preference for summer freshwater habitat, similar to other Arctic monodontids.

Cite this collection

Laidre, Kristin L.; Moon, Twila; Hauser, Donna; McGovern, Richard; Peter Heide-Jørgensen, Mads; Dietz, Rune; Hudson, Ben (2016): Supplementary material from "Use of glacial fronts by Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) in West Greenland". The Royal Society.

Retrieved: 10:43, Nov 20, 2017 (GMT)