A warming Southern Ocean may compromise Antarctic blue whale foetus growth

Smith, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-3285-0379, 2021. A warming Southern Ocean may compromise Antarctic blue whale foetus growth. Journal of Vertebrate Biology, 70 (2): 20114. ISSN 2694-7684

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Abstract

After declining in abundance due to commercial whaling during the 20th century, populations of the Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) have failed to recover to pre-exploitation levels. Using historical whaling data from 1926-1954, in combination with temperature data for the Southern Ocean, a gamma GLM with temporal dependency was fitted to 20,144 records of B. m. intermedia foetus size using Bayesian inference. There was a negative relationship between antecedent winter sea surface temperature (SST) in the Southern Ocean on foetus size. This relationship is proposed as being mediated by a positive effect of the extent of winter sea ice on Antarctic krill (Euphasia superba) abundance on which B. m. intermedia feed. There was also a positive density-dependent effect of a “krill surplus” at low B. m. intermedia population sizes. However, the positive effect of a “krill surplus” at low B. m. intermedia population size on foetus growth was reversed at elevated winter SST due to a proposed negative impact on E. superba recruitment. Projected increases in temperature in the Southern Ocean are predicted to compromise the growth rates of B. m. intermedia foetuses, with implications for the capacity of the subspecies to recover from overexploitation.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Vertebrate Biology
Creators: Smith, C.
Date: 2 April 2021
Volume: 70
Number: 2
ISSN: 2694-7684
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.25225/jvb.20114DOI
1451717Other
Rights: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 16 Jul 2021 15:08
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2021 15:08
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/43516

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