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Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems$
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James Estes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248847

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248847.001.0001

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(p.1) One Introduction
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems


University of California Press

This chapter introduces the themes covered by the book. The volume is divided into five sections. The first provides a backdrop by reviewing the theory and evidence for food web processes and summarizes what is known about the history and ecological role of large consumers in other ecosystems. The second section presents a variety of relevant information on the natural history of whales and on the consequences of whaling to the whales themselves. The third section examines how and why food web interactions involving great whales might occur. It considers relevant aspects of their morphology and physiology, as well as general assessments of their potential roles as predators, prey, and detritus. The fourth section includes a variety of more specific accounts of the effects of whales and whaling in various ocean ecosystems. The final section considers whaling from the perspectives of economics, policy, and law.

Keywords:   whaling, food web, natural history, great whales, ocean ecosystems

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