Niche of the fin whale

From: Erich Hoyt (EHoyt@compuserve.com)
Date: Sun Oct 20 2002 - 18:25:39 EDT

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    Message text written by "Srdjan Bukvic"

    "
    I am doing a project on fin whales and can't find what the niche of the fin
    whale is. Could you tell me please?

    Thank you.

    Srdjan Bukvic"

    -------------------- End Original Message --------------------

    Srdjan,

    The niche (at least in terms of feeding behavior during the winter) varies
    by location, depending on the other large baleen whales and
    zooplankton-feeding fish (such as basking sharks) that may be in the
    particular area.

    But niches are often shared among various species of baleen whales: For
    example, in some studies in the Antarctic, fin, sei and humpback whales are
    most frequently found around areas of dense krill, and there certainly is
    potential interspecies competition among these as well as other
    krill-feeding marine predators.

    In the North Atlantic, however, researchers note that although there is
    some overlap in food preferences by baleen whales, that right whales and
    some of the planktonic sharks tend to prefer copepods, while humpbacks may
    go for schooling fish, leaving krill more often to blue and fin whales. In
    some areas such as in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence, it is noticeable
    that the minkes and hupmbacks tend to feed fairly close to shore, while the
    fin whales are a little farther out and the blues tend to be the farthest
    away. Also the blues may spend longer feeding in an area than fins whales
    until ice forces them out of an area. So niche can be prey-specific,
    temporal and/or spatial.

    Sincerely,

    Erich Hoyt



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