[MARMAM] New Article On Climate Change And Cetaceans.

nhy038 at abdn.ac.uk nhy038 at abdn.ac.uk
Tue Jan 16 05:45:57 PST 2007

Dear Marmammers,

The following article on climate change and cetaceans has recently been
published in Biology Letters.  If you are interested in a copy, please
email: c.d.macleod at abdn.ac.uk with the subject line "Reprint Request".

All the best,


MacLeod, C.D., Santos, M.B., Reid, R.J., Scott, B.E. and Pierce, G.J.
2007. Linking sandeel consumption and the likelihood of starvation in
harbour porpoises in the Scottish North Sea: could climate change mean
more starving porpoises?  Biology Letters, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0588

Sandeels are known to be negatively affected by climate change in a number
of ways. This study investigated whether these changes are affecting the
harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a species which consumes sandeels.
Porpoise diet was examined in spring (March–May), a critical time of year
for survival when sandeels are important prey, from 1993 to 2001 to
baseline information on the proportion of sandeels consumed. When data
from spring 2002 and 2003 were compared to these baseline data, the diet
was found to be substantially different, with a significant and
substantially smaller proportion of sandeels being consumed in March and
May. There were also differences in the number of porpoises starving
between the two time periods (33% in spring 2002 and 2003 died of
starvation, but only 5% in the baseline period). This suggests that a
lower proportion of sandeels in the diet of porpoises in spring increases
the likelihood of starvation. Therefore, we suggest that the negative
effects of climate change on sandeel availability may have serious
negative effects on harbour
porpoise populations in the North Sea by increasing the likelihood of
starvation in spring.

Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Research-Teaching Fellow,
School of Biological Sciences (Zoology),
University of Aberdeen,
Tillydrone Avenue,
AB24 2TZ,

Tel: 01224 272648
Fax: 01224 272396

Email: c.d.macleod at abdn.ac.uk

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