Yet when most people think of these cartilaginous fish, a single image comes to mind: a large, sharp-toothed and scary beast. That generalization does sharks a huge disservice, as they have far more variety than that. They range in size from the length of a human hand to more than 39 feet 12 meters long; half of all shark species are less than one meter or about 3 feet long. They come in a variety of colors including bubble gum pink , and some feed on tiny plankton while others prefer larger fish and squids.
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- Fishing & Farming Methods
- The Whale Pump: Marine Mammals Enhance Primary Productivity in a Coastal Basin
- Ocean Resources
- What do blue whales eat?
- Rhincodon typus
- The Sperm Whale’s Deadly Call
- Smithsonian Ocean
- The importance of Antarctic krill in biogeochemical cycles
- Heartbreaking Images That Show the Impact of Plastic on Animals in the Oceans
- Website access code
Fishing & Farming MethodsVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Killer Whales Hunt Sea Lions - Trials Of Life - BBC Earth
What if an animal could entertain and educate millions of people annually, enhance productivity thereby increasing the number of fish in the sea , mitigate climate change, feed billions of marine animals, generate billions of dollars in revenue globally, and even help get tough stains out of your clothes? Does such an animal exist? Whales—animals that humans nearly exterminated—can do all that and more.
The unsubstantiated claims that whales compete with humans for fish or that they must be killed to ensure global food security are nonsense. Instead, a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that saving whales could help save the planet and, in turn, humankind. The era of large scale commercial whaling lasted nearly years, from the early 17th century to During that period, whalers mercilessly pursued their prey, exploiting and depleting one species after the next.
While the exact death toll amassed over these four centuries is not known, scientists have estimated that during the 20th century alone, over 3 million whales were killed, mainly for their valuable oil.
By the time a global moratorium on commercial whaling, approved by the International Whaling Commission IWC , went into effect in , scientists estimated that whale numbers had plummeted from 66 to 90 percent of their pre-whaling abundance, with some populations, like blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere, declining by 99 percent. A previously ignored consequence of the slaughter was that it prevented whales from fulfilling their evolutionary role in the ecosystem.
In every ecosystem, every native species has a role in the ecology of their habitat, from the smallest microorganisms to the most dominant predator. Far from just providing huge amounts of meat, blubber, and oil for human consumption, whales provide important ecosystem services that have gone overlooked in debates about commercial whaling and whale conservation.
Whale fecal plumes contain valuable nutrients like iron, nitrogen, and phosphorus. They stimulate production of microscopic marine algae, or phytoplankton, which form the base of many marine food chains. Phytoplankton, via photosynthesis, convert chlorophyll, sunlight, and a variety of nutrients including carbon dioxide into energy, while expelling oxygen.
Phytoplankton feed zooplankton, tiny animals that live in surface waters, and both are critical food sources for many marine species such as krill and other marine invertebrates, fish, and even marine mammals, including whales.
In a study of blue whales in Antarctica, scientists determined that iron concentration in blue whale feces is 10 million times that of Antarctic seawater. As iron is a limiting micronutrient in the Southern Ocean, its availability triggers phytoplankton blooms. Another study determined that blue whales in the Southern Ocean, via fecal plumes, increase primary production available to support fisheries by , metric tonnes of organic carbon which all animals in the oceans need to survive per year.
If blue whales recover to pre-industrial whaling levels, this benefit will increase to 11 million tonnes of carbon per year—increasing, not decreasing, fishery yields. While this is only a small fraction of the overall primary production in the Southern Ocean, at the local scale where such fertilization benefits are realized, the impacts may be significant.
Indeed, scientists have determined that the slaughter of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean caused a long-term decline in primary production, which, in turn, caused the krill population to plummet to as low as 20 percent of pre-industrial whaling levels.
Today, although whale stocks in the Southern Ocean are recovering—some more quickly than others—krill numbers have not recovered to pre-industrial whaling levels and are now threatened by direct harvest and climate change.
In the Gulf of Maine, scientists found that marine mammals enhance primary production in feeding areas by supplying nitrogen to surface waters through release of fecal plumes and urine. They determined that whales and seals may replenish 23, tonnes of nitrogen per year in the Gulf of Maine surface waters, more than the input of nitrogen from all of the rivers feeding the gulf combined.
In another study, endangered right whales in the Bay of Fundy in Canada were found to enhance primary productivity through the release of nitrogen and phosphorus in their fecal plumes. In Hawaii, the feeding behavior of 80 sperm whales transferred tonnes of nitrogen from deep waters to surface waters, enhancing primary production by tonnes of organic carbon per year. Due to the decimation of sperm whales by commercial whaling, however, Hawaiian waters have lost 2, tonnes of new nitrogen each year, decreasing primary production in the region by 1, tonnes of organic carbon annually.
The deep diving and surfacing behavior of sperm whales and some baleen whales transports nutrients in their fecal plumes from deeper water to the surface and, for gray and humpback whales, by carrying sediment from the sea floor and redistributing it in the water column, to the benefit of sea birds and other marine species.
As noted by Drs. Scientists have determined that biomixing by marine vertebrates, including whales, contributes one-third of total ocean mixing, comparable to the effect of tides or winds. Blue whales in the Southern Ocean, for example, transport approximately 88 tonnes of nitrogen per year from their feeding to their calving grounds.
Before commercial whaling, blue whales would have transported 24, tonnes of nitrogen via the conveyor belt. Phytoplankton use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.
Thus, enhancing phytoplankton productivity via the release of nutrients in whale feces increases the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In the Southern Ocean, approximately 12, sperm whales deposit an estimated 36 tonnes of iron into surface waters each year, enhancing primary production in phytoplankton. While the carbon contained in some phytoplankton will continue to be recycled by marine animals feeding and defecating in surface waters, 20 to 40 percent of such carbon will settle to the sea floor as phytoplankton die and sink, effectively locking up the carbon for centuries to millennia.
Globally, more than , tonnes of carbon may be sequestered—and its negative effects on climate removed—each year. Sperm whales, by enhancing primary productivity, effectively remove , tonnes more carbon from the atmosphere than they add during respiration.
Since sperm whale population numbers in the Southern Ocean have not recovered to pre-industrial whaling levels, an extra 2 million tonnes of carbon that could have been removed by a full complement of sperm whales remains in the atmosphere each year.
Since Southern Ocean sperm whales represent only 3 percent of all sperm whales globally, the species may significantly contribute to iron fertilization and carbon drawdown. When whales die, their massive bodies contain a large amount of carbon. Due to the significant loss of whales to commercial whaling, current populations of large baleen whales store 9. If these whale stocks were rebuilt, they would remove , tonnes of carbon each year through whale falls, which is roughly equivalent to , hectares of forest or an area the size of Rocky Mountain National Park.
In addition to storing carbon, whale carcasses feed an array of marine and terrestrial species. When whales strand on land, bears, other mammals, scavenging birds, and marine and terrestrial invertebrates benefit from the massive windfall of food and nutrients and, in turn, expand the nutrient flow from the sea to land. Whale falls, according to the scientific literature, create habitat islands, benefiting scavengers like sharks and hagfish, crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves, clams, shrimp, anemones, bacteria, and a litany of other marine organisms, including some species heretofore unknown.
Indeed, scientists have identified new species collected from whale remains, including over considered to be whale-fall specialists, and predict that hundreds of other whale-fall specialist species remain to be discovered. The frequency of whale falls declined substantially due to industrial whaling and may have caused a substantial number of anthropogenic species extinctions in the deep sea.
Whether such species would have had any value to humans will never be known—although, in an interesting twist, enzymes of psychrotrophic bacteria bacteria adapted to extremely cold environments found at whale falls have garnered commercial interest from the laundry detergent, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries.
One biotechnology company has determined that clones of bacteria found on whale carcasses may be effective in removing stains from laundry during cold-water washing, potentially providing significant energy savings, increased profits, and cleaner clothes. Whales have an enormous economic value as the popular subject of marine tourism.
Globally, whale watching generated over 2 billion dollars in revenue in and supported some 13, jobs while providing millions of people an opportunity to observe and learn about whales and other marine species in the wild.
Such revenue is well in excess of the value of whale meat, blubber, or other products sold commercially, demonstrating the obvious fact that a live whale is worth far more than a dead one. The ecosystem services provided by whales, including increasing primary production, directly and indirectly sequestering carbon, and providing nutrients and habitat to myriad marine species, also have an economic value.
Such values have been calculated for other species, including bats and pollinators. While economists have calculated the value of whale watching, no comprehensive assessment has been done of the direct and indirect value of whales and the economic and ecosystem services they provide. The direct and indirect value of whales warrants attention. At its meeting, the IWC adopted a resolution that recognizes the contributions of cetaceans to ecosystem functioning and encourages IWC member governments to factor these contributions into decision-making.
It further envisions a central role for the IWC Scientific Committee in 1 reviewing the ecological, economic, and other contributions of cetaceans to ecosystem functioning, 2 identifying gaps, and 3 creating a plan for future research needs. It also promotes collaboration with other multilateral environmental agreements to study the issue. The subject has since been discussed at a conference about whales in Tonga.
For example, although saving whales will not fully mitigate the impacts of climate change, it should be part of a comprehensive, global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whales may not swim with capes but, based on the evidence of their immense ecological and economic value, perhaps they should be considered superheroes saving the planet. They should no longer be considered as a source of consumables. Approaching Extinction The era of large scale commercial whaling lasted nearly years, from the early 17th century to Enhancing Productivity Far from just providing huge amounts of meat, blubber, and oil for human consumption, whales provide important ecosystem services that have gone overlooked in debates about commercial whaling and whale conservation.
Sequestering Carbon Phytoplankton use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Nourishing the Depths In addition to storing carbon, whale carcasses feed an array of marine and terrestrial species. Creating Value Whales have an enormous economic value as the popular subject of marine tourism. Going Forward The direct and indirect value of whales warrants attention. Share This!
Learn which whales were hunted and why; how they captured and processed them; how technology changed the industry. Whaling was an exceptionally dangerous business both physically and economically. In the Yankee whale fishery injuries and death were common to almost every voyage. Many vessels were lost. Few individuals got rich whaling and most of those were owners and agents. The answers to why so many people went whaling are many and varied but the underlying principle is that whale products had a strong commercial value if one knew how to exploit it.
The Whale Pump: Marine Mammals Enhance Primary Productivity in a Coastal Basin
On the swells of the Sea of Cortez, everything looks like a whale. Lulled by disappointment, the rocking boat and general monotony, I drift into torpor. Then, less than half a mile away, a series of unmistakable spouts erupts, and bursts of exhalation carry across the water. The calves and juveniles are 15 to 20 feet long, and some of the larger females are more than 30 feet from head to tail a male would be almost twice as long. We approach one that appears to be sleeping, its rumpled back and bulging head rolling with the waves. It snorts awake and swims off as its companions drift away from us in loose pairs and trios. We trail after one of the pairs, a female and calf.
The clinical approaches to the chronic degenerative diseases that drain our resources, and compromise our well-being, have become almost exclusively symptom-focused. The common wisdom is that they are idiopathic with final outcomes to be managed rather than prevented or cured. That they are potentially reversible rarely enters any discussion between doctor and patient. Reversibility of Chronic Disease and Hypersensitivity, Volume 5: Treatment Options of Chemical Sensitivity , the final volume of this set, offers a much different perspective on chronic degenerative disease; one that disputes the idiopathic label attached to most, as well as the usual fatalistic prognosis. William J.
Commercial fishing , the taking of fish and other seafood and resources from oceans, rivers, and lakes for the purpose of marketing them. In the early 21st century about million people were directly employed by the commercial fishing industry, and an estimated one billion people depended on fish as their primary source of animal protein. Fishing is one of the oldest employments of humankind. Ancient heaps of discarded mollusk shells, some from prehistoric times, have been found in coastal areas throughout the world, including those of China, Japan, Peru, Brazil, Portugal, and Denmark. Archaeological evidence shows that humans next learned to catch fish in traps and nets. These ventures were limited at first to the lakes and rivers, but as boats and fishing devices were improved, humans ventured into sheltered coastal areas and river mouths and eventually farther out onto the continental shelves, the relatively shallow ocean plains between the land and the deeper ocean areas. In some shelf areas where seaweed was abundant, this was also incorporated into the diet.
What do blue whales eat?
Blue whales eat krill - tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that live throughout Earth's oceans. The huge whales can eat up to four tonnes of krill every day. Blue whales lunge through large swarms of krill with their mouths open, taking in more food in one mouthful than any other animal on Earth.
I recommend it unreservedly it to individuals, students, and researchers, as well as libraries. I worship this book! Its amazing and a must for marine mammal fanatics. Contains all you need to know, is written my many researchers and includes references for further reading. His specialties are behavior and social strategies, especially as related to human disturbance. He has published and co-published about peer review papers, over 50 popular articles, and 7 books. His work with the sense organs of modern whales explores the impact of global change on marine mammal populations. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals.
These sharks are recognizable not just for being the largest fish in the sea, growing longer than 40 feet, but also for their unique pattern of blue-gray to brown coloration with white spots centered between pale horizontal and vertical stripes. They are filter feeders, often swimming near the surface of the open sea, gulping in water and filtering everything from plankton and fish eggs, to crustaceans and schooling fish, to occasional larger prey like squid or tuna. Despite their size, they are considered harmless to humans, and will often interact docilely with divers to the extent of allowing the divers to grab on to a fin and hitch a ride. Whale shark , basking shark, and whaleshark are common names in the English language used to refer to this fish. In the past, the whale shark has been of little interest to man.
The Sperm Whale’s Deadly Call
Performed the experiments: JR. Analyzed the data: JR. It is well known that microbes, zooplankton, and fish are important sources of recycled nitrogen in coastal waters, yet marine mammals have largely been ignored or dismissed in this cycle. Using field measurements and population data, we find that marine mammals can enhance primary productivity in their feeding areas by concentrating nitrogen near the surface through the release of flocculent fecal plumes. Whales and seals may be responsible for replenishing 2. Even with reduced populations, marine mammals provide an important ecosystem service by sustaining productivity in regions where they occur in high densities. The biological pump mediates the removal of carbon and nitrogen from the euphotic zone through the downward flux of aggregates, feces, and vertical migration of invertebrates and fish . Copepods and other zooplankton produce sinking fecal pellets and contribute to downward transport of dissolved and particulate organic matter by respiring and excreting at depth during migration cycles, thus playing an important role in the export of nutrients N, P, and Fe from surface waters  , .
The Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals , Third Edition covers the ecology, behavior, conservation, evolution, form and function of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, manatees, dugongs, otters and polar bears. This edition provides new content on anthropogenic concerns, latest information on emerging threats such as ocean noise, and impacts of climate change. With authors and editors who are world experts, this new edition is a critical resource for all who are interested in marine mammals, especially upper level undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and managers, and is a top reference for those in related fields, from oceanographers to environmental scientists.
The importance of Antarctic krill in biogeochemical cycles
Fishermen use a wide range of gear to land their catch. Every type has its own effects on the ocean. By selecting the right gear for the right job, the fishing industry can help minimize its impact on the environment.
Heartbreaking Images That Show the Impact of Plastic on Animals in the Oceans
Animal Physiology : Adaptation and Environment. Knut Schmidt-Nielsen. Cambridge University Press , 10 apr. Animal Physiology is the acclaimed textbook by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen for all undergraduate and graduate courses in physiology.
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Pollution is the introduction of contaminants — deliberately or accidentally - into our seas and oceans. It can cause harm and long term impact to whales and dolphins and of course, their home, the wider marine environment.