Ocean Regime Shift is Driving Collapse of the North Atlantic Right Whale Population

Meyer-Gutbrod, EL; Greene, CH; Davies, KTA; Johns, DG. 2021 Ocean Regime Shift is Driving Collapse of the North Atlantic Right Whale Population. Oceanography, 34 (3). 22-31. https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2021.308

[img] Text
article/ocean-regime-shift-is-driving-collapse-of-the-north-atlantic-right-whale-population - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (76kB)
Official URL: https://tos.org/oceanography/article/ocean-regime-...

Abstract/Summary

Ocean warming linked to anthropogenic climate change is impacting the ecology of marine species around the world. In 2010, the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf regions of the Northwest Atlantic underwent an unprecedented regime shift. Forced by climate-driven changes in the Gulf Stream, warm slope waters entered the region and created a less favorable foraging environment for the endangered North Atlantic right whale population. By mid-decade, right whales had shifted their late spring/summer foraging grounds from the Gulf of Maine and the western Scotian Shelf to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The population also began exhibiting unusually high mortality in 2017. Here, we report that climate-driven changes in ocean circulation have altered the foraging environment and habitat use of right whales, reducing the population’s calving rate and exposing it to greater mortality risks from ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement. The case of the North Atlantic right whale provides a cautionary tale for the management of protected species in a changing ocean.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Oceanography
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Knowledge Exchange
Depositing User: Tamar Atkinson
Date made live: 11 Feb 2022 10:41
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 10:41
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/9572

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item