Subject: Global warming threatens whale (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 15:22:54 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 97 11:21:00 GMT 
Subject: Global warming threatens whale

Global warming threatens whale's favourite food

     LONDON, June 25 (Reuter) - Global warming could be
contributing to killing off krill, the favourite food of whales,
penguins and other sea animals, scientists said on Wednesday.
     The tiny, shrimp-like creatures are being undermined  by
salps, according to Valerie Loeb of Moss Landing Marine
Laboratories in Moss Landing, California 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
     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.