HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Collapse of seals, sea lions & sea otters in North Pacific triggered by overfishing of great whales

A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences hypothesizes that overfishing of whales in the North Pacific Ocean triggered one of the longest and most complex ecological chain reactions ever described, beginning in the open oceans 50 years ago, and leading to the decimation of Alaska's kelp forest ecosystems today.

The paper, Sequential megafaunal collapse in the North Pacific Ocean: An ongoing legacy of industrial whaling?, offers a unified explanation for why populations of harbor seals, fur seals, sea lions and sea otters in Western Alaska have crashed during the last several decades.

Lead author Alan Springer (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) and his co-authors propose that the decimation of great whale (baleen and sperm) populations by overfishing removed a major source of food for killer whales. This may have forced some killer whales to "fish down the food web," preying on other marine mammals which in turn has had devastating impacts on marine ecosystems.

"The lightening rod issue in Alaska is the decline of Steller sea lions," says Springer. "100 million dollars have been spent in the last three years to study Stellers because they are so intimately connected with species of commercial interest. But Stellers aren't the only species of marine mammals in collapse up here." Harbor seals declined first, followed by fur seals, then sea lions and most recently sea otters.

Springer, an oceanographer who was investigating causes of marine mammal collapse due to food limitation and ocean changes, approached coauthor Jim Estes (University of California, Santa Cruz) to explore the possibility that the declines might also be linked to the historical removal of great whales. Estes had demonstrated (Science 282,1998) that killer whale predation was driving down sea otter populations and affecting kelp forest ecosystems. Springer had researched the whaling records and wondered whether the massive extraction
'"/>

Contact: Jessica Brown
jbrown@seaweb.org
202-497-8375
SeaWeb
22-Sep-2003


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Scientists: Collapse of coastal ecosystems tied to past overfishing
2. Collapse of simple life forms linked to mass extinction 200 million years ago
3. Multi Drug Resistant-TB: Russian Economic Collapse Will Lead To Global Spread Of "Ebola With Wings"
4. Video cameras reveal seals, whales, and other marine mammals take a laid-back approach to deep diving
5. Health of worlds sea lions the focus of Wakefield Symposium
6. Study finds anti-HIV protein evolved millions of years before the emergence of AIDS
7. SensorNet proposed as system to protect millions nationwide
8. Drug developed for rare disease may help millions more as treatment for cancer, autoimmune diseases
9. Hydrothermal vent systems could have persisted millions of years, incubated life
10. NIH awards millions to Rutgers for genetics research
11. Electric vehicles promise economic benefits in the billions

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/14/2017)... (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups ... collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built with ... France is one of the ... percent increase in the number of startups created between 2012 ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 16, 2017   Bridge Patient Portal , ... MD EMR Systems , an electronic medical ... GE, have established a partnership to build an ... the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice Solution ... These new integrations will allow healthcare delivery ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... New York , April 19, 2017 ... competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by the ... the market is however held by five major players ... Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of ... of the leading companies in the global military biometrics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and interpret datasets, ... Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the double-helix ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most ... you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and ... unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading ... a nationwide oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will ... need for communication among health care professionals to enhance the ... nurses, office staff, and other health care professionals to help ... breast cancer. ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) ... and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: