Isabelle Groc. 2016. Some Whales Like Global Warming Just Fine. National Geographic.

Type
Literature
Publication
Isabelle Groc. 2016. Some Whales Like Global Warming Just Fine. National Geographic.
Year Published
2016
Description

According to a recent article from the National Geographic, whales are benefitting from climate-induced declines in sea ice. Humpback whales have been found feeding in waters off of the Western Antarctic Peninsula and the Arctic Ocean for months longer than their typical migration pattern. Rather than migrating toward tropical waters in the wintertime, these whales have lingered in the polar seas due to earlier plankton bloom onsets that lead to productive waters. Scientists from OSU have also observed humpbacks singing in Antarctic waters, indicating that they have begun breeding before migrating. The article also discussed the growing number of blue whales in the Southern Ocean and described the natural iron fertilization that is occurring because of this population increase. All of these cases suggest positive short-term impacts of climate change on whale populations, however the article also emphasized the potential long-term problems for whales. Consequences include possible feeding-time overlap between migrating whales (humpback and fin whales) and non-migrating whales (bowheads) causing atypical species competition, increased anthropogenic effects on these oceans due to ice-free ship passage (ship traffic, commercial fishing, oil spills, etc.), and the decline of organisms that whales feed on due to ocean acidification (i.e. krill).