Olga V. Shpak

Olga V. Shpak
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution · Laboratory for Behavior and Behavior Ecology of Mammals

PhD

About

73
Publications
18,409
Reads
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486
Citations
Additional affiliations
March 2009 - present
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Position
  • Research Associate
February 2003 - February 2009
Utrish Dolphinarium, ltd., Moscow, Russia
Position
  • Research Associate
September 1996 - June 1999
V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
October 2008 - October 2008
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Field of study
  • Physiology of Higher Nervous Activity
September 1991 - June 1996
V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
Field of study
  • Zoology and ecology of vertebrates

Publications

Publications (73)
Article
Full-text available
Aim Identify hotspots and areas of high species richness for Arctic marine mammals. Location Circumpolar Arctic. Methods A total of 2115 biologging devices were deployed on marine mammals from 13 species in the Arctic from 2005 to 2019. Getis‐Ord Gi* hotspots were calculated based on the number of individuals in grid cells for each species and fo...
Article
Full-text available
The East Greenland-Svalbard-Barents Sea (EGSB) bowhead whale stock (Balaena mysticetus) was hunted to near extinction and remains Endangered on the International Union of Conservation of Nature Red List. The intense, temporally extensive hunting pressure may have left the population vulnerable to other perturbations, such as environmental change. H...
Article
Cetacean species are highly mobile, most of them regularly travelling over long distances, thereby presenting complex obstacles to their conservation. Identification of their critical habitats, specifically those parts of a cetacean’s range that are essential for day‐to‐day survival and for maintaining a healthy population growth rate, is necessary...
Article
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Several Arctic marine mammal species are predicted to be negatively impacted by rapid sea ice loss associated with ongoing ocean warming. However, consequences for Arctic whales remain uncertain. To investigate how Arctic whales responded to past climatic fluctuations, we analyzed 206 mitochondrial genomes from beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas)...
Article
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Environmental change and increasing levels of human activity are threats to marine mammals in the Arctic. Identifying marine mammal hotspots and areas of high species richness are essential to help guide management and conservation efforts. Herein, space use based on biotelemetric tracking devices deployed on 13 species (ringed seal Pusa hispida ,...
Chapter
Bowhead whales from the East Canada-West Greenland (ECWG) and East Greenland-Svalbard-Barents Sea (EGSB) populations are associated with cold water in the North Atlantic. Here they make highly variable seasonal migrations between coastal areas and offshore waters. The range of EGSB population reaches as far east as the Kara Sea. Sex and age classes...
Article
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Full mitochondrial genomes were assembled for 12 recently sampled animals from the Svalbard bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) stock via high-throughput sequencing data, facilitating analysis of the demographic history of the population for the first time. The Svalbard population has retained noticeable amounts of mitochondrial genome diversity des...
Article
Full-text available
Full mitochondrial genomes were assembled for 12 recently sampled animals from the Svalbard bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) stock via high-throughput sequencing data, facilitating analysis of the demographic history of the population for the first time. The Svalbard population has retained noticeable amounts of mitochondrial genome diversity des...
Article
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The monodontids—narwhals, Monodon monoceros, and belugas, Delphinapterus leucas—are found in much of the Arctic and in some subarctic areas. They are hunted by indigenous subsistence users. In the past, some populations were substantially reduced by commercial hunting and culling; more recently, some populations have declined due to uncontrolled su...
Article
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In 2000, the International Whaling Commission conducted a global assessment of beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas. Following this assessment, five beluga stocks were recognized in Russian Far East waters: Western Chukchi-East Siberian Sea, Anadyr Gulf, Shelikhov, Sakhalin-Amur, and Shantar. This paper provides a revised assessment of beluga abun...
Article
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Spitsbergen's bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) were hunted to near extinction in the world's first commercial whaling enterprise; this population clearly remains threatened, but nothing is known about its distribution, making assessment unfeasible. In this study, we document range, movement patterns and habitat preferences of this population, ba...
Article
Killer whales are top predators in marine trophic chains, and therefore their feeding preferences can substantially affect the abundance of species on the lower trophic levels. Killer whales are known to feed on many different types of prey from small fish to large whales, but a given killer whale population usually focuses on a specific type of pr...
Poster
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Natural elements of anomalous white hair or skin coloration are observed in many animals. These elements can be either small patches lacking pigmentation (piebaldism) or fully depigmented body surface. Such cases are relatively rare among cetaceans. Here we present the first report on one fully white and several piebald bottlenose dolphins Tursiops...
Article
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Animal-borne electronic instruments (tags) are valuable tools for collecting information on cetacean physiology, behaviour and ecology, and for enhancing conservation and management policies for cetacean populations. Tags allow researchers to track the movement patterns, habitat use and other aspects of the behaviour of animals that are otherwise d...
Article
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The work is based on an analysis of archival documents containing quantitative information on harvests of beluga whales in the White, Barents, and western Kara seas from 1930. Also, information is provided on the possible places where the documents containing data of beluga whaling could still be preserved. The probable causes of the reduction in c...
Article
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Top predators strongly impact the structure of ecosystems through the top-down cascading effects on prey species. Killer whales (Orcinus orca), the top predators in marine ecosystems, are increasing their presence in the Arctic following the ice cover loss. The impact of killer whales on marine ecosystems differs dramatically across ecotypes: 'resi...
Article
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The structure of the papillomatous junction between epidermis and dermis (papillomatous netting, PN) in the skin of cetaceans (white whales, bowhead, and gray whales) and sirens (American manatee, dugong) was studied and compared using histophysiological and morphogeometric methods. The relative extent of PN development proved to be similar in memb...
Article
In the North Pacific, fish-eating R-type 'resident' and mammal-eating T-type 'transient' killer whales do not interbreed and differ in ecology and behavior. Full-length mitochondrial genomes (about 16.4 kbp) were sequenced and assembled for 12 R-type and 14 T-type killer whale samples from different areas of the western North Pacific. All R-type in...
Article
Full-text available
The structure of the papillomatous junction between epidermis and dermis (papillomatous netting, PN) in the skin of cetaceans (white whales, bowhead, and gray whales) and sirens (American manatee, dugong) was studied and compared using histophysiological and morphogeometric methods. The relative extent of PN development proved to be similar in memb...
Article
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Abstract⎯The data on sightings of the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus Linnaeus, 1758) in the western Sea of Okhotsk collected during eight field seasons, as well as information obtained from interviews with local residents in the study region, are presented. The major areas of concentration of the bowhead whale population in the ice-free period a...
Article
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The data on mtDNA sequences of the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) from the central Eastern Arctic as well as coastal waters of the Chukchi Peninsula and different parts of the White Sea are presented and analyzed for the first time. Certain sequences found in the region form a separate phylogenetic clade. The distinctness of composition of ma...
Article
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The Black Sea subspecies of the bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ponticus ) is threatened and has a small range. Its population structure is little known: it possibly includes a few local coastal populations. We assessed connectivity between coastal groupings in six localities along 800 km of the coastline based on records of photo-identifie...
Article
Abundance of 388 ± 108 whales for the Okhotsk Sea bowhead whale population based on individual genotyping was estimated using the capture–recapture method for the open population model. The data demonstrate that this endangered population shows no signs of recovery.
Article
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Epidermal molting in the bowhead whales that regularly enter Ulbanskiy Bay of the Sea of Okhotsk in summer has been reported and proven by histological methods. Longitudinal delamination and detachment of thin or thick sheets of a considerable area have been established for the surface layer (stratum externum) of the whale epidermis during molting....
Article
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Serological detection of some pathogens in the beluga whale Delphinapterus leucas population from Sakhalinsky Bay of the Sea of Okhotsk (Sakhalin–Amur beluga whale stock) was performed in 2013–2014 after the largest recorded flood of the Amur River (among observations since 1896). The percent of this population that is immune to the causative agent...
Article
Описана и гистологическими методами доказана линька эпидермиса у гренландских китов, регулярно заходящих летом в Ульбанский зал. Охотского моря. Установлено, что поверхностный слой (stratum externum) эпидермиса линяющих китов продольно расслаивается и отторгается в виде тонких или толстых значительных по площади пластин. Отмечено, что интенсивность...
Article
Full-text available
Based on satellite tracking of eight beluga whale males in the White Sea, their habitats in the autumn, winter, and spring periods have been identified. A correlation between the distribution of beluga whales, ice dynamics, and migration of Atlantic salmon has been revealed. It has been found than beluga whale males do not leave the White Sea durin...
Article
In bowhead whales summering in Ulbanskiy Bay of the Okhotsk Sea, molting of epidermis has been found and histologically confirmed. The outer layer of the molting whale epidermis is longitudinally stratified and rejected in the form of relatively large plates up to several millimeters thick, each representing a lamellar formation consisting of longi...
Article
Full-text available
Based on the satellite tracking of eight beluga whale males in the White Sea, their habitats were identified in autumn, winter and spring periods. The correlation between the migration of beluga whale, ice dynamics and the migration of Atlantic salmon was revealed. Beluga males were found not to leave the White Sea during the whole ice period. The...
Article
We found and histologically detected the molting of epidermis of the bowhead whales in the summer in Ulbansky Gulf of the Sea of Okhotsk. The outer layer of the epidermis of molting whales longitudinally stratified and rejected as a significant area for plates (up to several mm thick), each of which represents a lamellar formation of longitudinal r...
Article
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The summer distribution of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the Sea of Okhotsk is typical for boreal and subarctic seas that are seasonally ice covered and support numerous anadromous fish species. During summer in the Sea of Okhotsk, beluga whales aggregate where rivers flow into estuaries, gulfs, and bays. Beluga whales are currently foun...
Conference Paper
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Demand for live-captured killer whales (KWs), both in Russia and internationally, has grown in the past decades. Since 2012, KWs have been captured in the western Okhotsk Sea: 2012 – 1, 2013 – 6, 2014 – min 3 (official number is unavailable). In 2015, the total allowed take for this area is 6. Recent studies confirm two KW ecotypes present in the R...
Article
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Two ecotypes of killer whales—fish-eating and mammal-eating—have been found in the seas of the Russian Far East, but confirmation of their status required genetic studies of animals with known phenotype and foraging specialization. In this paper we combine the results of the analysis of nuclear genetic markers, isotopic composition of tissues and p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The bowhead whale population residing in the Okhotsk Sea (OS) is the southernmost in the range of this species. Though the wintering grounds remain unknown, these whales spend summer in the Shantar region of the western OS, a temperate zone at 53-54˚N latitude. Bowheads are regularly encountered in the shallow bays and along the coast from July to...
Conference Paper
Satellite tracking of cetaceans provides valuable information on biology of the studied species. However, the capture and technology of tag deployment is often a rather invasive procedure; and it is necessary to weigh the significance of acquired data and the health risks associated with tagging. In 2007-2010, we deployed 23 satellite transmitters...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The endangered Okhotsk Sea (OS) bowhead whale (BW) population remains poorly studied. It is suggested that in summer the whales move fr om the northern part of the OS south-west, to the bays of Shantar region. In 2009-2013, during the beluga and mammal-eating killer whale studies in the western part of the OS, opportunistic observations of BW and p...
Conference Paper
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The North Pacific right whale (NPRW) is one of the rarest baleen whales in the world. In this study we combined for the first time sightings of the western population of right whales, collected opportunistically in Russian Far East waters from 2003 to 2014 with other published to date sightings in an attempt to evaluate distribution and potential r...
Article
Full-text available
The results of molecular genetic analysis (full-length sequences of the cytochrome b gene and mtDNA control region and the allelic composition of 14 microsatellite loci) of 65 tissue samples from the endangered bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) population in the Sea of Okhotsk are presented. The data obtained enable the suggestion that the current...
Article
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In the fall of 2011, two gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were observed to the west of the Novosibirskiye Is�lands archipelago during a scientific expedition on the Research Vessel “Mikhail Somov”. This is the first scientifically confirmed sighting of gray whales in the Laptev Sea. The range of the presence of this species in the Arctic shelf s...
Article
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Presented is a review of published materials and reports on aerial abundance surveys, satellite tracking of seasonal movements, and genetic studies of the Okhotsk Sea beluga whale in 2007-2012. Current situation with removal of this biological resource from the Okhotsk Sea and possible outcomes of such exploitation are described. In the absence of...
Article
Full-text available
The genetic structure of four summer aggregations of the Beluga Whale, Delphinapterus leucas, in Sakhalin Bay and Udskaya Bay, off the western coast of Kamchatka in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Anadyr Estuary of the Bering Sea was analyzed through nucleotide sequencing of the mtDNA control region and detection of the allelic composition of nine mi...
Article
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In July-August 2011, in Ulbanskiy Bay (Western Sea of Okhotsk), we frequently observed a group of mammal-eating killer whales of more than 30 individuals. Presented are results of visual observations and opportunistic interviews on killer-whale sightings in the Western part of Sea of Okhotsk. Two successful bearded seal kills are recorded; the belu...
Article
Full-text available
Boat and coastal observations of beluga whales were conducted during the expedition along the Karelian coast of the White Sea in July, 2010. The local village population was also surveyed. As a result, possible places of beluga concentrations along the southern coast of Kandalaksha Bay were revealed, sightings of traveling groups were recorded, and...
Article
Full-text available
Data on the distribution of marine mammals, including beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas Pallas, 1766), in the Arctic are scarce because of various causes and conditions, including the vast expanses of the region, its poor accessibility, severe climate, long polar night, and high cost of research. Nevertheless, the results of aerial observations...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Data presented below were collected in the course of three sailings of the research ship «Mikhail Somov», from September 6 to December 3, 2010, from Sep-tember 20 to October 30 and from September 6 to December 11 2011 (Table and fig. 1, 2, 3). In the sail-ings during the light time of day under acceptable weather conditions, constant ship observati...
Article
Full-text available
Presented are the data on the walrus, Odobenus rosmarus, sightings during four scheduled cruises of the research-expedition vessel "Mikhail Somov" in the Barents, Kara and Laptev seas (August-November, 2010; September-October, 2011; November-December 2011; and July-October 2012) and during the expedition on the "Polyaris" motor-vessel in August-Sep...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
To conduct a genetic research of beluga whale population inhabiting Russian Far East, we took skin remote biopsy samples as well samples taken from dead animals and from live animals during capture for educational and scientific purposes from the Okhotsk Sea beluga whales in the following regions: the Sakhalinsky Bay (Sakhalin-Amur summer aggregat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In summer, in the Okhotsk Sea, belugas concentrate along the seashore and in estuarine waters. Reasons for such distribution are unclear. We studied the influence of 2 ecological factors (biotic and abiotic) on the beluga distribution: amount of major summer prey (Salmonidae) and morphological type of estuary. Distribution analysis was based on coa...
Article
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The data on observation of white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) during the planned sailing of the researchscientific ship "Mikhail Somov" (Arkhangelsk-Wrangel Island-Arkhangelsk) from September 6 to December 6 2010 are presented. The results obtained confirm and correct the existing ideas of the distribution of white whales and directions of their...
Article
Seasonal migrations of beluga whales from the Sakhalin-Amur aggregation in the Sea of Okhotsk were investigated with the use of satellite telemetry. Satellite tags were attached to four females captured near Chkalova Island, Sakhalin Bay, in August 2007. At 5 weeks after tagging, the belugas left the Chkalova Island area and moved to the Nikolaya a...
Article
Full-text available
The unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, the ability to sleep during swimming with one open eye and the absence of paradoxical sleep in its form observed in all terrestrial mammals are unique features of sleep in cetaceans. Visual observation supplement electrophysiological studies and allow obtaining novel data about sleep of cetaceans. In the present...