I am 9 years old, and studying the effects of endangered animals and plants.
I would like to know what the effect would be on the ecosystem of California
if the blue whale became extinct. Could you please help me with this?
Hello Laurel .
You have posed a very tough question. It is pretty deep as questions go.
The loss of blue whales would have some immediate impacts on some people.
The loss of the largest animals to ever live on the planet would be a true
disaster. People wanting to see blue whales while whale watching would be
The crews running whale watch boats would lose a fair amount of income and
possibly lose their boats . Those are obvious secondary losses. The really
important changes in the ecosystem are more subtle and hard to predict.
Blue whales consume huge amounts of plankton. If the numbers of those
smaller species were
not naturally controlled there would be an overpopulation imbalance. That
imbalance could flow over into a lack of foods for many other species. Some
of those other organisms might be toxic .
Fish and shellfish eating those toxic plankton might be eaten by people and
cause severe illnesses. The resulting bad publicity might cause people to
avoid ocean generated foods.
This type of impact chain is hard to predict and is an example of the Law of
What I mean to say is that the loss of blue whales would cause changes that
we cannot accurately predict. In the oceanic world of plankton the blue
whale is the top predator. An ecosystem cannot lose its top predator
without unpredictable and sometimes severe consequences.
great questioning ,
Dr. Tom Ford
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