Side-scan sonar was used to map and measure feeding pits of the California gray whale over 22,000 square kilometers of the northeastern Bering Sea floor. The distribution of pits, feeding whales, ampeliscid amphipods (whale prey), and a fine-sand substrate bearing the amphipods were all closely correlated. The central Chirikov Basin and nearshore areas of Saint Lawrence Island supply at least 6.5 percent of the total gray whale food resource in summer. While feeding, the whales resuspend at least 1.2 x 108 cubic meters of sediment annually; this significantly affects the geology and biology of the region.
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Side-scan sonar assessment of gray whale feeding in the Bering Sea