Subject: Global warming threatens whale's favorite food (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Tue, 1 Jul 1997 10:54:37 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 1997 09:06:08 -0400
From: Dagmar Fertl <Dagmar_Fertl@smtp.mms.gov>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: newsclip - Global warming threatens whale's favorite food

     06/25/97   Global warming threatens whale's favorite food


     LONDON (Reuter) - Global warming could be contributing to killing
     off krill, the favorite food of whales, penguins and other sea
     animals, scientists said Wednesday.

     The tiny, shrimp-like creatures are being undermined by salps,
     according to Valerie Loeb of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Moss
     Landing, Calif. and colleagues.

     Salps are tunicates -- simple, pouch-like sea creatures that are
     not eaten by many animals but which create dense blooms that interfere
     with krill reproduction and kill off their larvae.

     "Our data suggest that decreased krill availability may affect the
     levels of their vertebrate predators. Regional warming and reduced
     krill abundance, therefore, affect the marine food web," they wrote in
     a report in the science journal Nature.

     They noticed the salps flourished in years when there was less
     sea ice, while the krill, the primary food of many sea-going animals,
     did better in colder years.

     The salps also seemed to eat up the krill's food in warmer years,
     they said.

     "A warming trend has been documented for the Antarctic Peninsula
     region since the 1940s, and a decreased frequency of extensive winter
     sea-ice conditions has been associated with this trend," they wrote.

     The krill population had already become noticeably smaller and
     predators could already be suffering, they said. Adelie penguins on
     King George Island had already suffered a 30 percent population
     decline.