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3rd Science Compendium, Marine Mammals

Shell’s compendium series focuses on the science of the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf - Marine Mammals of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

The iconic marine mammals of the Alaskan Arctic have inspired and awed people for centuries.  The massive bowhead whale has an enormous head that is nearly a third of its body length and can be used to push large pieces of ice up high enough for the animal to breathe. 

Polar bears, the largest species of bear, inhabit the pack ice throughout the year, traveling and hunting over hundreds of miles of home range.  Respected and feared, these carnivores sit atop the food web and are the most recognized Arctic species throughout the world.

These and the other common species of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas have life histories, refined by natural selection, that are adapted to sea-ice-dominated ecosystems.  Learn more about the Marine Mammals of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

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