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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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Legacy of Industrial Whaling

Legacy of Industrial Whaling

Could Killer Whales Be Responsible for Declines of Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and Minke Whales in the Southern Hemisphere?

Chapter:
(p.262) Twenty Legacy of Industrial Whaling
Source:
Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems
Author(s):

TREVOR A. BRANCH

TERRIE M. WILLIAMS

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248847.003.0020

An intriguing hypothesis that has recently been raised for the North Pacific Ocean and southern Bering Sea (Springer et al., 2003) holds that the reduction in large-cetacean biomass from whaling caused killer whales to prey on other species. This chapter examines the plausibility of that hypothesis for the Southern Hemisphere. It specifically looks for evidence of the following corollaries of Springer et al.: marine mammal species that are frequently preyed on by killer whales should have declined in the 20th century; marine mammal species not often preyed on by killer whales should have increased or remained stable; and any declines should be consistent with increased killer whale predation. The chapter suggests that it is plausible that these declines in southern elephant seals and southern sea lions were caused by increased predation by killer whales; but in minke whales, it is too precipitous for predation to be the sole cause.

Keywords:   large-cetacean biomass, whaling, Springer hypothesis, marine mammal populations, killer whale predation

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