[MARMAM] New publication on potential climate change effects on the diet of minke whales

Gisli Vikingsson gisli at hafro.is
Thu Oct 17 07:49:23 PDT 2013

Dear colleagues

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following article on 
potential effects of climate change on the feeding ecology of common 
minke whales:

Víkingsson, G.A., Elvarsson, B.Þ, Ólafsdóttir, D., sigurjónsson, J., 
Chosson, v. and Galan, A. 2013. Recent changes in the diet composition 
of common minke whales
(Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in Icelandic waters. A consequence
of climate change? Marine Biology Research, 10:2, 138-152, DOI:

The common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is the most abundant 
mammalian top predator in Icelandic continental shelf waters. Here, an 
account is given on the first systematic research programme into the 
feeding ecology of common minke whales in Icelandic waters based on an 
analysis of minke whale stomach contents data collected in Icelandic 
waters during 20032007. The results show pronounced spatial and 
temporal variation in the diet. The temporal changes include a decrease 
in the proportion of sandeel in the diet over the study period and a 
corresponding increase in herring (Clupea haerengus) and haddock 
(Melanogrammus aeglefinus), particularly in the southern area. The diet 
also differed markedly from the previously available, limited data from 
Icelandic waters with less krill and the cold water species capelin 
(Mallotus villosus) and more gadoids and herring in the more recent 
period. These changes in diet composition are consistent with recent 
changes in the Icelandic continental shelf ecosystem, including 
increased sea surface and bottom temperatures and changes in 
distribution and abundance of several fish species, including sandeel 
(Ammodytidae) and capelin. Although
natural fluctuations cannot be ruled out at this stage, these dietary 
changes, together with decreased abundance in coastal waters, may 
reflect the responses of minke whales to a changed environment possibly 
driven by global warming.

The article can be obtained at the Journal website

or by a request for a pdf to gisli at hafro.is


Gísli A. Víkingsson
Head of Whale Research
Marine Research Institute
Skulagata 4
PO Box 1390
121 Reykjavík

Tel. +354 575 2000
Fax +354 575 2001

Email: gisli at hafro.is

If you experience difficulties with this email, please try: gisliviking at gmail.com

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