HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Killer Whales Have Begun Preying On Sea Otters, Causing Disruption Of Coastal Ecosystems In Western Alaska

SANTA CRUZ, CA--With seals and sea lions in short supply in the North Pacific, killer whales are now feeding on sea otters, causing an abrupt decline in sea otter populations in western Alaska, according to researchers studying the area's marine ecosystems. The decline in sea otters has allowed their primary prey, sea urchins, to increase in number and strip coastal kelp forests over large areas, said James Estes, a marine ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The new phenomenon of killer whales preying on sea otters appears to be one link in a chain of interactions extending from the open sea to the coastal zone and involving a wide range of species at different levels of the food chain. Overexploitation of certain North Pacific and Bering Sea fisheries may have initiated this cascade of ecological effects, Estes said.

Estes and his coworkers reported their findings in the October 16 issue of the scientific journal Science.

The researchers have been studying the role of sea otters in the coastal ecosystem of Alaska's Aleutian archipelago since the early 1970s. During their field studies they often saw killer whales swimming near sea otters, but never saw one attack a sea otter until 1991. Since then, about a dozen such attacks have been reported.

Sea otter populations, meanwhile, have declined by about 25 percent each year during the 1990s throughout large areas of western Alaska. In waters inaccessible to killer whales, however, sea otter numbers have remained stable. Otters maintain the coastal kelp forests by controlling populations of sea urchins and other animals that graze on kelp. The kelp forests in turn provide food and habitat for a broad range of species.

Where sea otter populations have dropped, the kelp forest ecosystem is collapsing, said Estes, who has spent years documenting the central role of otters in the ecology of the kelp forests. Exploding sea urchin populations have
'"/>

Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@cats.ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
15-Oct-1998


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Killer virus
2. Tracking A Killers Progression
3. USGS Finds Sea Otters At Risk From Killer Whales In A Changing Ocean
4. French Researchers Breed Flightless Ladybirds As Pest-Killers
5. University Of Kentucky Researcher Awarded MERIT Extension For Study Of Third World Killer
6. How A Common Protein Becomes A Cancer Killer
7. Weevils Wipe Out Killer Weeds In Papua New Guinea
8. Virginia Tech Scientists Study Killer Molecules
9. Whales, seals or men? Who stole all the fish?
10. Whales get the bends
11. Whales drawn to waters off Mississippi River Delta

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


(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 25, 2021 , ... Phlexglobal announced ... Planet Group, has selected Phlexglobal and its innovative regulatory SaaS software, PhlexSubmission, as ... a comprehensive review of five regulatory software companies, with the review team including ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... 25, 2021 , ... The 2021 Virtual Conference on Clinical Trial Supply-Europe ... More and more, clinical trial supply conferences are featuring speakers and forums that ... Asymmetrex’s founder and CEO, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., presented a talk ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... ... March 23, 2021 , ... G-CON Manufacturing (G-CON), the ... by Matica Biotechnology (Matica Bio), a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing ... the cleanroom build out for its new GMP production facility in College Station, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ... Life Sciences and Healthcare firms of all sizes, adds depth to its team ... specialist. Pardillo, who earned his doctorate in computational chemistry from Florida International University ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... March 24, 2021 , ... ABI Wellness, ... and reporting approach designed under CEO Mark Watson, today announced a webinar dedicated ... featuring guest speakers Dr. Cameron Clark, Neuropsychologist and Founder of Sharp Thinking, and ...
(Date:3/27/2021)... ... ... The Xtalks editorial team is pleased to announce the launch of the ... joined by editorial team members Ayesha Rashid, Sydney Perelmutter and Mira Nabulsi to discuss ... including insights from industry experts. , The Xtalks Life Science podcast will feature ...
(Date:3/23/2021)... Conn. (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2021 , ... ... develops solutions for characterizing microbiome populations down to the strain level, recently unveiled ... applications. , Not all microbes are created equal: some are easy to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: