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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, Interaction Webs, and Zero-Sum Ecology

Whales, Interaction Webs, and Zero-Sum Ecology

(p.6) (p.7) Two Whales, Interaction Webs, and Zero-Sum Ecology
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems


University of California Press

This chapter begins with a brief summary of experimental studies that identify the importance of employing interaction webs as a format for further discussion of whales and ocean ecosystems. Next, it develops a crucial aspect of the argument that interaction webs provide a legitimate and useful framework, called “zero-sum ecology”. It invokes a mass balance equilibrium, implying that carbon is not being meaningfully sequestered from or released to global ecosystems over time spans appropriate to current whale ecology. The last section discusses a varied set of studies that collectively suggest that whales, including O. orca, at oceanic spatial scales could have played roles analogous to those demonstrated for consumers of secondary production in much smaller, experimentally tractable systems.

Keywords:   food webs, whales, ocean ecosystems, mass balance equilibrium, carbon, whale ecology, orca whale

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