[MARMAM] New Publication: Humpback Whales as Sentinels of the Antarctic Sea-ice Ecosystem

Susan Bengtson Nash s.bengtsonnash at griffith.edu.au
Tue Jan 30 15:18:43 PST 2018

Dear MARMAM Subscribers,

The *SOPOPP* team are pleased to announce the following *Global Change
Biology* publication

Bengtson Nash, S., J. Castrillon, P. Eisenmann, B. Fry, J. Shuker, R.
Cropp, A. Dawson, A. Bignert, P. Bohlin-Nizzetto, C. A. Waugh, B.
Polkinghorne, G. Dalle Luche and D. McLagan (2017). "*Signals from the
South; Humpback Whales Carry Messages of Antarctic Sea-ice Ecosystem
Variability*" Global *Change Biology*

The Article is available via Early View at:

*Abstract *

Southern hemisphere humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*) rely on
summer prey abundance of Antarctic krill (*Euphausia superba*) to fuel one
of the longest-known mammalian migrations on the planet. It is hypothesized
that this species, already adapted to endure metabolic extremes, will be
one of the first Antarctic consumers to show measurable physiological
change in response to fluctuating prey availability in a changing climate;
and as such, a powerful sentinel candidate for the Antarctic sea-ice
ecosystem. Here, we targeted the sentinel parameters of humpback whale
adiposity and diet, using novel, as well as established, chemical and
biochemical markers, and assembled a time trend spanning 8 years. We show
the synchronous, inter-annual oscillation of two measures of humpback whale
adiposity with Southern Ocean environmental variables and climate indices.
Furthermore, bulk stable isotope signatures provide clear indication of
dietary compensation strategies, or a lower trophic level isotopic change,
following years indicated as leaner years for the whales. The observed
synchronicity of humpback whale adiposity and dietary markers, with climate
patterns in the Southern Ocean, lends strength to the role of humpback
whales as powerful Antarctic sea-ice ecosystem sentinels. The work carries
significant potential to reform current ecosystem surveillance in the
Antarctic region.

If you have any questions, or have trouble downloading the publication,
please email *s.bengtsonnash at griffith.edu.au
<s.bengtsonnash at griffith.edu.au>*

Kind regards,


*Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash*
Program Director

*Southern Ocean Persistent Organic Pollutants Program (SOPOPP)*
Environmental Futures Research Institute (EFRI), Griffith University,
Nathan Campus.
170 Kessels Road, Nathan QLD 4111 Australia.

*Email*: s.bengtsonnash at griffith.edu.au
*Phone*: +61 (0)7 3735 5062
*Mobile*: +61 (0)437 888 711

*Twitter: *@Antarctica_POPs; *Skype:* s.bengtsonnash; *Website*:
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