Subject: Re: water pollution

Courtney E. Stirling (stirling@gsosun1.gso.uri.edu)
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 11:14:44 -0500 (EST)

Eric,
	It would help me in answering your qustion if I knew if you were a
teacher or a student.  But, until then I will give you several
possibilities about how water pollution is affecting the lives of whales. 
First, it is important to define pollution.  I will use a definition that
includes habitat disruption, like overfishing, as well as traditional
pollution types, like plastics and chemicals.
	Overfishing is a relatively new thing in the oceans.  A good
example of bad management of fisheries is George's Bank.  This is a prime
region for summer feeding and calf rearing for the western North Atlantic
humpback population.  In the past five years summering populations have
shifted to other areas of the western North Atlantic.  So, habitat shift
and possible food depletion are two effects of pollution - directly
impacting whales.
	More classical pollutants like oil spills, plastics and
chemical runoff from farms and agriculture operations effect whales
negatively also.  It is well known now that coastal cetacean populations,
individuals of these populations more specifically, can choke on plastics
or become entwined in loose fishing nets - causing death in extreme cases
and swimming impairment otherwise.  Chemicals are a particular threat to
whales because many of the agro-chemicals in use (and no longer in use in
the US, DDT) are lipophilic and accumulate in the blubber of cetaceans. 
Reproductive disorders, genetic damage, and immune-suppression result from
long-term accumulation of these compounds.
	SO, this is an overview of some of the pollution problems facing
whales.  Please let me know which of these issues interests you most and I
can get you some references.

Sincerely, 

Courtney


On Thu, 21 Nov 1996, EJGAUDET wrote:

> Hello,my name is Eric.I am in an Environmental Science class,here at
> Sanborn Regional High School.I am writing to you as my project.I am to
> establish an email communication with an environmental scientist.I must
> mantain this communication about my essential question for at least 10
> communications.My question is: How is water pollution effecting the
> lives of whales? 
> Thank You,
> Eric
> -- 
> E.J. Gaudet- teacher
> Project Whaleboat
> Sanborn Regional High School