Gulf Apex Predator-Prey Project
Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center
University of Alaska Fairbanks • School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences • Kodiak, Alaska

News Archives


Wynne and Witteveen fly first aerial survey of 2016

floating dead whale

May 2016

On May 6, 2016, Kate Wynne and Bree Witteveen conducted the first aerial surveyof 2016 to document any whale carcasses that may be indicative of a continuation of the Large Whale Unusual Mortality Event in the Western Gulf of Alaska during this summer feeding season.

Dana Wright

Former GAP graduate student publishes chapters from thesis

April 2016

Former graduate student Dana Wright had both chapters of her master's thesis published.

  • Wright, D.L., B.H. Witteveen, K. Wynne, and L. Horstmann-Dehn. 2015. Evidence of two subaggregations of humpback whales on the Kodiak, Alaska, feeding ground revealed from stable isotope analysis. Marine Mammal Science 31(4): 1378–1400.
  • Wright, D.L., B.H. Witteveen, K. Wynne, and L. Horstmann-Dehn. 2016. Fine-scale spatial differences in humpback whale diet composition near Kodiak, Alaska. Marine Mammal Science.


Dana Wright

Wynne and Witteveen investigate large whale die-off in western Gulf of Alaska

June 2015

In the summer of 2015, Marine Advisory Program Marine Mammal Specialists and GAP principle investigators, Kate Wynne and Bree Witteveen, were on the front lines of the Large Whale Unusual Mortality Event in the western Gulf of Alaska. Wynne and Witteveen were critical players in the field response, documentations and investigation of the ongoing event. As UME Onsite Coordinator, Witteveen participates in bimonthly team meetings as the investigation into the cause of this large whale die-off continues.

The event garnered national, state and local attention.

Jennifer Marsh

New publication

February 2015

Former graduate student Jennifer Marsh recently had a chapter of her GAP related thesis published. Marsh, J.M., R.J. Foy, N. Hillgruber, and G.H. Kruse. 2015. Variability in trophic positions of four commercially important groundfish species in the Gulf of Alaska [PDF; 2.7 MB]. Fisheries Research 165: 100–114.

Bree Witteveen

GAP researcher in Huffington Post article


GAP researcher Bree Witteveen was featured in On the Trail of the Whales: Kodiak, Last Chance Island, a Huffington Post article about gray whale migration.


Dana Wright

GAP graduate student successfully defends thesis

December 2014

Dana Wright successfully defended her thesis, Variability in foraging by humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangaliae) on the Kodiak, Alaska, feeding ground [PDF; 6.3 MB], and graduated with an MS in Marine Biology in December 2014. Dana was hired as contractor at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, and is working on publishing chapters of her thesis.

New publication!

September 2014

tagged whale

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article:

Witteveen, B.H., A. De Robertis, L. Guo, and K.M. Wynne. 2014. Using dive behavior and active acoustics to assess prey use and partitioning by fin and humpback whales near Kodiak Island, Alaska. Marine Mammal Science 31(1): 255–278.

This article describes prey use and potential prey partitioning between fin and humpback whales by combining analysis of vertical whale distribution obtained from tagged individual whales with concurrent assessment of pelagic prey.

AMSS posterKodiak Area Marine Science Symposium

April 2014

GAP research was very well represented at the second triennial Kodiak Area Marine Science Symposium

Alaska Marine Science Symposium

January 2014

dana wright



Dana WrightGAP welcomes new graduate student!


The GAP project is pleased to welcome Dana Wright as a master’s student. Dana comes to the project after receiving a B.S. in Marine and Aquatic Sciences from the University of Maine in May 2012. During her tenure at UM, she received a prestigious NOAA National Hollings Scholarship in 2010 and was also Division I swimmer.  Dana’s project will be to revise and update abundance estimates of humpback whales around Kodiak Island while also exploring fine scale differences in their stable isotope signatures.

Dana's student profile

dead humpback whale on beachDead humpback whale washes ashore near Kodiak


Bree Witteveen examined a dead male humpback whale that likely was the victim of a killer whale attack.

The Baranov Museums hosts “Thar She Blows!”


Kodiak’s own Baranov Museum hosted Bree Witteveen as she summarized 12 years of whale research around the Emerald Island. The talk was a free event open to the public made possible by a grant from the National Park Foundation.

CTD castGAP completes 2012 vessel-based surveys


GAP researchers completed 15 days of vessel based surveys throughout the Kodiak archipelago. The purpose of these surveys was to document whale distribution and relative abundance while concurrently documenting prey availability through hydroacoustics and oceanographic conditions using CTD casts.  Kate Wynne and Bree Witteveen led the whale component of these surveys and collected photographs and biopsy samples of individual fin and humpback whales. The prey assessment and oceanographic component of the surveys were led by Lei Guo. While the researchers hoped to tag whales as well, weather conditions did not allow for this to occur. These surveys will continue in 2013.

GAP whale research featured on KMXT


Getting Up Close and Personal with Kodiak's Whales

Kate Wynne and Bree Witteveen present at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Land and Sea Lecture Series


Alaska's Land and Sea Lecture Series


collecting scat Scat collection


GAP researchers conducted a quarterly scat collection at Cape Ugat and Long Island haulouts on December 23 and 29. They collected almost 180 scats.

right whalePhoto courtesy Beth and Amy Pingree, Kodiak, Alaska.

Right whale sighting


Extremely rare sighting of a right whale in Kodiak waters.

acoustic tag on whale

Whale tagged with acoustic/ultrasonic recorder


GAP researchers tagged a humpback whale with three-dimensional Acousonde tag to assess behavioral reactions to acoustic deterrents.