Hanson et al. 2021 seasonal diet killer whale

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Hanson MB, Emmons CK, Ford MJ, Everett M, Parsons K, Park LK, et al. (2021) Endangered predators and endangered prey: Seasonal diet of Southern Resident killer whales. PLoS ONE 16(3): e0247031. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0247031


  • Prey composition was estimated based on 152 identified prey items.
  • While Chinook Salmon provide the majority of prey, and almost exclusively in summer, during fall, their diet is stronly supplemented by coho and chum salmon.
  • Non salmon species, specifically lingcod, steelhead, big skate and flatfish are found in a relatively low proportion of fecal samples.
  • A large proportion of chinook (61.9%) were genetically identified as of "South Puget Sound" stocks, but this was not discussed in the article (What does this mean?)
  • Chum consumption predominantly occurs in inland waters.
  • During summer hunting of chinook occurs relatively close to natal waters in inland waters, compared to mid-winter to early spring on the outer coast.