Yet Another Effect of Climate Change

Marine mammals can reflect climate change intrinsically, though changes in their diet and condition, as well as extrinsically, through shifts in their range and habitat, Moore said. Many research reports presented at the conference document the way climate change is affecting species from polar bears to sea otters. Depending on regional conditions, climate change is likely to present new opportunities for some species such as humpback whales that will have access to new habitat, even as it poses new problems for other species, such as walrus and polar bears that have less ice to haul out or hunt on.

Source: Rapid Arctic warming drives shifts in marine mammals — ScienceDaily

Researchers must partner with subsistence hunters and local fishermen to track ecosystem changes in the Arctic, scientists said.  The Society of Marine Mammology’s conference was held in San Francisco this week, with researchers from several universities presenting reports.  The consensus was that there have already been many changes, and more are coming.

The potential for increasing competition between species from whales to polar bears reflects just one of many examples of how climate change is affecting marine mammals globally, introducing new interactions, altering food sources and shifting habitat, researchers at the conference reported. More than 2,000 researchers are attending the conference, the world’s largest gathering of scientists studying marine mammals, with climate change one of the leading themes.

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