Subject: Re: whale migration and pollution

Courtney E. Stirling (stirling@gsosun1.gso.uri.edu)
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 16:17:58 -0500 (EST)

Rachel, 
	I am not aware of any studies specifically about the equatorial
region.  However, I am sure they do exist.  I would venture to guess that
unless the pollution you are asking about is spilled oil, that migration
patterns would not be effected directly by it.  I would also suggest
however, that if pollution was a major problem and fish and krill
populations were effected, that whale feeding grounds could be altered. 
Generally, while whales are migrating they are very busy swimming, and
don't spend much time feeding.  The breeding grounds (winter time) are also
not a time of feeding (they tend to spend their summers fattening up). 
	Pollution does pose a major threat to whales because many of them
bioaccumulate in the lipids (fat) stores of cetaceans and are passed on
to the calf during nursing, and also serve to supress the immune system of
adults.  Your concern about how whales are effected by pollution is
warranted.  Please let me know if I can be of any more help.

Good luck! Courtney 







On Fri, 22 Nov 1996, Rachel Massey wrote:

> 
> Dear Courtney,
> 
> Thank you for your reply to my question on whale migration in the Atlantic.
> I have another question related to whale migration and pollution - have
> there been studies of toxic waste conditions in equatorial waters and would
> toxic waste affect whale breeding patters and migration routes?
> 
> Many thanks,
> 
> Rachel Massey
> 
>