Experimental recovery of sea otter carcasses at Kodiak Island, Alaska, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Marine Mammal Science
By: , and 

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Abstract

ound,  Alaska,  spilling  approximately  11  million  barrels  of  crude  oil.  Oil  was

deposited  on  beaches  nearly  700  km  from  the  spill  site  (Galt  and  Payton  1990,

Piatt  et  al.  1990),  affecting  thousands  of  hectares  of  sea  otter

(Enhydra  lutris)

habitat.  Two  of  the  principal  limitations  in  determining  the  initial  effects  of  the

Exxon  Valdez  oil  spill  on  sea  otter  populations  were  a  lack  of  recent  population

data,  and  a  lack  of  information  on  the  proportion  of  the  total  number  of  sea

otters  killed  by  the  spill  that  were  actually  recovered.

ound,  Alaska,  spilling  approximately  11  million  barrels  of  crude  oil.  Oil  was

deposited  on  beaches  nearly  700  km  from  the  spill  site  (Galt  and  Payton  1990,

Piatt  et  al.  1990),  affecting  thousands  of  hectares  of  sea  otter

(Enhydra  lutris)

habitat.  Two  of  the  principal  limitations  in  determining  the  initial  effects  of  the

Exxon  Valdez  oil  spill  on  sea  otter  populations  were  a  lack  of  recent  population

data,  and  a  lack  of  information  on  the  proportion  of  the  total  number  of  sea

otters  killed  by  the  spill  that  were  actually  recovered.

On 24 March 1989, the T/V Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling approximately 11 million barrels of crude oil. Oil was deposited on beaches nearly 700 km from the spill site (Galt and Payton 1990, Piatt et al. 1990), affecting thousands of hectares of sea otter (Enhydra lutris) habitat. Two of the principal limitations in determining the initial effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on sea otter populations were a lack of recent population data, and a lack of information on the proportion of the total number of sea otters killed by the spill that were actually recovered.

In late April and early May oil spread to the Kodiak Archipelago. With the oil came wildlife rescue, beach cleanup, and other spill-response activities including searches for dead birds and mammals. We took this opportunity to assess experimentally the recovery of sea otter carcasses in the Kodiak Island area. Specifically, we were interested in the proportion of the total number of dead sea otters the recovered carcasses represented.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Experimental recovery of sea otter carcasses at Kodiak Island, Alaska, following the Exxon Valdez oil spill
Series title Marine Mammal Science
DOI 10.1111/j.1748-7692.1994.tb00509.x
Volume 10
Issue 4
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center, Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 5 p.
First page 492
Last page 496
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Kodiak Archipelago, Prince William Sound
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