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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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Whales and Whaling in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea Oceanographic Insights and Ecosystem Impacts

Whales and Whaling in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea Oceanographic Insights and Ecosystem Impacts

Chapter:
(p.245) Nineteen Whales and Whaling in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea Oceanographic Insights and Ecosystem Impacts
Source:
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems
Author(s):

ALAN M. SPRINGER

GUS B. VAN VLIET

JOHN F. PIATT

ERIC M. DANNER

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248847.003.0019

Did the removal of megatons of upper-trophic-level consumers significantly alter food-web dynamics by removing significant levels of predatory controls over prey populations, removing an important prey resource for predator populations, and changing the sensitivity of the ecosystem to physical forcing because of new predator-prey functional relationships? In order to address this question, it is necessary to understand where and when whales were harvested in the North Pacific Ocean, and how this ultimately affected whale distribution. Whales were not uniformly distributed across this broad region, and the roles they played were concentrated in relatively small areas. This chapter shows where great whales formerly were found in abundance in the North Pacific, relates those distributions to oceanography, and briefly explores some examples of the magnitude of change that might have resulted from the loss of great whales in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea.

Keywords:   great whales, Bering Sea, oceanography, Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, predator-prey relationships

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