Share this article:
Warm waters have pushed certain kinds of whales into unstable habitats, leading to a steep decline in births, a new study found.
North Atlantic whales are facing extinction, experts say, after observing no sign of newborns in the past year.
As the ocean water temperatures have risen, depleting their food supply, the whales have been migrating to cooler waters where new hazards and "nutritional stress" are taking a toll on their population size, a March study out of Cornell University said.
Whales are now venturing farther north into cooler Canadian waters where food is more plentiful, but where boats and fishing gear have proved dangerous.
“The fishing gear has not been specially designed to break away when whales are entangled, and there are no acoustic monitoring programs in place to force ships to slow down when whales are present,” said Charles Greene, professor of oceanography at Cornell University.
Researchers said 17 right whales died last year, totaling more than 3.5 percent of the population. Right whales refer to three types of Eubalaena whales - the North Atlantic right whale, North Pacific right whale and the Southern right whale.
“Most of the dead whales that have been examined have exhibited evidence of the blunt trauma associated with ship strikes," Greene said.
Non-profit organizations, citizen activists mobilize in face of Puerto Rico's waste crisis
How rising SUV popularity globally, EPA auto emission rollbacks could hurt efforts to fight climate change
Unchecked carbon emissions could jeopardize plants, animals in world's most vital habitats
Right whales eat Calanus finmarchicus, a species of copepods as their main form of nutrition. Scientists have tracked whale reproduction rates in correlation with the amount of available C. finmarchicus. Whale reproduction can vary greatly, Greene said, depending on the abundance of the copepods.
Recently, the researchers grew concerned with the spread of C. finmarchicus away from the Gulf of Maine as water temperatures rose, bringing the whales with them.
These northern waters are not safe for the whales, and the added "nutritional stress" has likely led to the decline in new calves.
"This elevated mortality in the population paints a bleak picture for this highly endangered species’ future,” he said.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
An 11-million ton iceberg hovers over the town of Innaarsuit in Greenland. The massive iceberg floats dangerously close to shore, threatening the small town.
Two people suffered shark bites while swimming in the water off Fire Island in Suffolk County, New York, according to NBC New York.
Newly formed Tropical Storm Ampil is set to strengthen as it tracks toward Japan’s Ryukyu Islands later this week.
A rainstorm moving up from the south will coincide with a shift in the jet stream and mark the beginning of an extended period of wet, humid conditions in the northeastern US that may last into August.
Eventualmente, la aspirante a ingeniero ambiental espera trabajar tanto con gobiernos como con corporaciones para eliminar microplásticos de los océanos de manera segura y eficiente.
Drenching thunderstorms advanced into the northeastern United States Tuesday afternoon and evening, bringing reports of flash flooding throughout the region.
Weather invariably comes into play at certain points during the Tour de France, especially when some tour stages can be greater than 100 miles in length.
Heavy spring rainfall in parts of the mid-Atlantic have triggered higher-than-average mosquito rates this season. It is estimated that mosquitoes are two to three times their normal rates.