U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Mar Biol (2007) 150:1033–1045.


Killer whale (Orcinus orca Linnaeus, 1758) abundance in the North Pacific is known only for a few populations for which extensive longitudinal data are available, with little quantitative data from more remote regions. Line-transect ship surveys were conducted in July and August of 2001–2003 in coastal waters of the western Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Conventional and Multiple Covariate Distance Sampling methods were used to estimate the abundance of different killer whale ecotypes, which were distinguished based upon morphological and genetic data. Abundance was calculated separately for two data sets that differed in the method by which killer whale group size data were obtained. Initial group size (IGS) data corresponded to estimates of group size at the time of first sighting, and post-encounter group size (PEGS) corresponded to estimates made after closely approaching sighted groups.