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A reconnaissance sidescan sonar survey in Bristol Bay, Alaska revealed extensive areas of seafloor with features related to walrus foraging. They are similar to those seen in areas such as the outer Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. Two types of feature were observed: (a) small (<<1 m diameter) shallow pits, often in clusters ranging in density from 5 to 35 pits per hectare; and, (b) more abundant, narrow, sinuous furrows, typically 5 to 10 m long with some reaching 20 m or more. Most foraging marks were in less than 60 m water depth in areas of sandy seafloor that were smooth, hummocky or characterized by degraded bedforms; the absence of foraging marks in other areas may be related, in part, to their more dynamic nature. The distribution of foraging marks was consistent in a general way with walrus locations from satellite telemetry studies.
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Walrus foraging marks on the seafloor in Bristol Bay, Alaska: a reconnaissance survey