Subject: blue whales and krill

Fred Wenzel (fwenzel@www1.wheelock.edu)
Sun, 14 Mar 1999 15:35:57 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 15:34:16 -0500 (EST)
From: Fred Wenzel <fwenzel@www1.wheelock.edu>
To: Donna Erickson <dje18@mindspring.com>
Cc: fwenzel@whale.wheelock.edu, pita@sun.simmons.edu,
    kburnett@whale.wheelock.edu
Subject: Re: blue whale



On Thu, 11 Mar 1999, Donna Erickson wrote:

> Hi, I have a extra credit question. I hope you can
> answer it!
> How does the largest whale(the blue whale)live off
> of little krill?
> The answer is not that they eat tons of them, the
> clue is in terms of energy how do they live!!!!!!
> If you can answer this it would be a great help.
> Thanks.
> Heidi
> 
Dear Heidi,
     A good question!  Krill is a Norwegian word relating to euphausids.
Blue whales are feeding trophically near primary food production.
The typical food chain (web) for a blue whale is diatoms to euphausids
(krill) to blue whales.  This energy transfer implies high production for
the blue whale, and other species which feed primarily on krill.
     Krill is rich in amino fatty acids, proteins and oil which quickly
transfer into the whales blubber as energy reserves.  Some whales may feed
for only 4- 6 months and fast for the rest of the year.  Living off their
blubber reserves.
     It should be noted....They actually eat tons of krill in a day.
So the nutritional answer is in the quality and quantity of krill
consumed.

Hope it helps.

Frederick Wenzel
Research Administrator
WhaleNet
Wheelock College
200 The Riverway
Boston, Mass. 02115
http://whale.wheelock.edu