The Blue Whale

Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 11:19:48 EDT

Hello Christine

That sounds like a very good report topic. I hope that this will help. It
sounds as though you researched blue whales, and were unable to find
information about what would happen if blue whales became extinct. You would
have to do some research on extinction, and the overall effects of what
effects extinction of various species has on the ecosystem. Sometimes the
effects are very subtle, until consequences begin to snowball. I will try to
give you some ideas.

Be sure also to check the Archives part of WhaleNet. I know there are many
questions about blue whales there, with the answers included. I would
suggest that you get some general information about extinction and toss a
couple of paragraphs into the introduction of your report. No big deal, just
a couple paragraphs. This sounds like a wonderful topic.

Q: What would the ecological effects be if there were no blue whales, and how
would it effect the food chain regarding plants and animals? And, what has
been the changes of the ecological effect of the blue whale ever since they
have been part of the ecosystem?:

Blue whale adults consume about 4 tons each day. They feed nearly entirely
on vast swarms of "krill". Krill is a term that actually means "whale food".
 For blue whales, that is species of euphausiids. Whales then help to keep
the populations of their prey species in check, which means less food for
other animals that eat krill, which in turn keeps their numbers in balance.
With any step in that food web removed, whether it is blue whales or some
other part, that balancing act is tripped, and the previous equilibrium is
Also, whales eat a lot, which also means that they "release" a lot from the
other end. That is nutrients returned into the marine ecosystem, which some
other organisms rely on and depend on. No blue whales, and that component is
gone. And, whales die, like every other living thing. A 100 ton carcass
lieing on the bottom of the ocean is a tremendous feeding opportunity for
thousands of other living thing from bacteria and fungus to large fish, for
example. And that is a lot of energy being passed through lots of other food
chains, and into the ocean ecosystem. So, for millions of years, blue whales
have been tremendous predators, and contribute to the energy flow both in
life and in death.

I hope this helps you some. Good luck, but it sounds like you are off to a
super start already.


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