Science Spotlight


The limited knowledge that we have about walrus diet in Bristol Bay comes from Traditional Ecological Knowledge of local residents. Studies on walrus diets in other regions have been based on stomach contents which has limitations. Walruses find prey such as crustaceans, worms, snails and sea cucumbers, on the ocean floor. Soft prey can be digested quickly and not leave any traces in the stomach of the walrus; therefore, some species of prey are not accounted for in their diet. Relying on stomach contents also requires hunter-killed animals. Therefore, we are developing methods to determine the diet of walruses using scat and blubber samples from live walruses. 


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