Alaska Sea Grant

Consumers: Marine Mammals

Orcas, photo courtesy of Steve Trumble

Seals, sea lions, and killer whales live year-round in the waters near the Aleutian Islands. They eat fish, including salmon and small fish that live in schools. Gray whales and humpback whales migrate through the major passes in the Aleutian Islands to get to their summer feeding areas in the Bering Sea. These baleen whales eat small fish that live in schools and copepods, a type of zooplankton.

Two types of killer whales are found in these waters. Pods of resident killer whales stay together and stay around the same area and feed on fish, including a lot of salmon. Transient killer whales sometimes move through the area, roaming over long distances and preying on seals and sea lions. They may also prey on gray and humpback whales when they are migrating through the passes between the islands on their way to the Bering Sea.

Food chain diagram

Alaska Sea Grant University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Department of Education and Early Development NOAA