Subject: Re: whales/ role in ecosystem

Al Romero (aromero@ACC.FAU.EDU)
Sun, 13 Apr 1997 17:35:05 -0500 (EST)

At 10:52 PM 4/12/97 -0700, you wrote:
>I am trying to find some information on the role of whales in the ocean
>ecosystem.  I do not need convincing that whales are worth preserving,
>but I am trying to convince others, who are not especially interested in
>how interesting whales are, or in philosophical discussions of how we
>need to preserve such intelligent species, etc.  I would like to be able
>to tell them that killing all the whales would lead to problems with the
>general ocean ecosystem in the same way that, say, removing wolves leads
>to population explosions among deer, overgrazing, etc.  Is there any
>information about this that you can point me to, (aside from general
>ecological information about how important each species is to the
>ecosystem; I would like to get something more specific, if anything is
>known).  Maybe there is no information available about this, but any
>help you could give wuld be appreciated. Thanks!
>Jane Thorngren

Dear Jane:

Baleen whales feed on small planktonic animals and small fish while toothed
whales (like the sperm whale or the the killer whale) eat much larger preys
such as large fish, marine mammals and large mollusks. They are at the top
of the food pyramid of the ocean, i.e.,  playing a very important role in
the balance of nature. That is particularly true in Antarctic waters, off
the coasts of Norway, eastern Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and
Iceland. If they were to disappear their preys would increase dramatically
in number overeating, thus, other preys so on and so forth to the point that
the whole ecological balance of the oceans could be severely affected.

Best wishes,

Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.		
Florida Atlantic University	(954)236-1125	
College of Liberal Arts		(954)236-1150 (F)
Department of Biology		aromero@acc.fau.edu
2912 College Ave.,
Davie, FL 33314