The less krill, the smaller the whale population

about the episode

Until now, it was thought that there were enough krill—tiny invertebrates, shrimp-like sea creatures—in the oceans to fill the stomachs of the biggest swimmers. But maybe we should think about it differently.

A new study shows that there is a link between the amount of krill in Antarctica and the size of humpback whales. The more krill there are in the year before female whales conceive, the more successful the pregnancy will be.

Researchers from California looked at 8 years of data and saw that after a year full of well, 86 percent of females became pregnant, but only 29 percent after a year of lean krill.

It is expected that due to climate change and ever-increasing fisheries, the amount of krill in the region will only decrease. For example, growing krill eat algae that grow on the ice. They also need ice for shelter. Thus, less ice due to the higher temperature also means less krill.

And this study showed that less krill likely means fewer humpback whales and other marine creatures feeding on these small shrimp-like creatures as well. Of course, there may have been other factors that affected both groups at the same time, but one thing, according to the researchers, couldn’t hurt anyway: If you have to catch krill, don’t do it in Antarctica during months when whales do. it herself. desperately needed.

Read more about research here: The study reveals the impact of krill availability on humpback whale pregnancy.

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