Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Distribution, abundance, and feeding ecology of baleen whales in Icelandic waters: have recent environmental changes had an effect?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Gisli A Vikingsson, Daniel G Pike, Héðinn Valdimarsson, Anna Schleimer, Thorvaldur Gunnlaugsson, Teresa Silva, Bjarki Þ Elvarsson, Bjarni Mikkelsen, Nils Øien, Geneviève Desportes, Valur Bogason, Philip Steven Hammond

School/Research organisations

Abstract

The location of Iceland at the junction of submarine ridges in the North-East Atlantic where warm and cold water masses meet south of the Arctic Circle contributes to high productivity of the waters around the island. During the last two decades, substantial increases in sea temperature and salinity have been reported. Concurrently, pronounced changes have occurred in the distribution of several fish species and euphausiids. The distribution and abundance of cetaceans in the Central and Eastern North Atlantic have been monitored regularly since 1987. Significant changes in the distribution and abundance
of several cetacean species have occurred in this time period. The abundance of Central North Atlantic (CNA) humpback and fin whales has increased from 1800 to 11,600 and 15,200 to 20,600, respectively, in the period 1987–2007. In contrast, the abundance of minke whales on the Icelandic continental shelf decreased from around 44,000 in 2001 to 20,000 in 2007 and 10,000 in 2009. The increase in fin whale abundance was accompanied by expansion of distribution into the deep waters of the Irminger Sea. The distribution of the endangered blue whale has shifted northwards in this period. The habitat selection of fin whales was analyzed with respect to physical variables (temperature, depth, salinity) using a generalized additive model, and the results suggest that abundance was influenced by an interaction between the physical variables depth and distance to the 2000 m isobaths, but also by sea surface temperature (SST) and sea surface height (SSH), However, environmental data generally act as proxies of other variables, to which the whales respond directly. Overall, these changes in cetacean distribution and abundance may be a functional feeding response of the cetacean species to physical and biological
changes in the marine environment, including decreased abundance of euphausiids, a northward shift in summer distribution of capelin and a crash in the abundance of sand eel.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2015

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Finwhale, Common minke whale, Whale abundance, Feeding ecology, Humpback whale, Oceanic warming, Habitat modeling

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Disentangling natural and anthropogenic forms of mortality and serious injury in a poorly studied pelagic dolphin

    Ashe, E., Williams, R., Morton, A. & Hammond, P. S., 21 Apr 2021, In: Frontiers in Marine Science. 8, 10 p., 606876.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Assessing pinniped bycatch mortality with uncertainty in abundance and post-release mortality: a case study from Chile

    Punt, A. E., Sepúlveda, M., Siple, M. C., Moore, J. R., Francis, T. B., Hammond, P. S., Heinemann, D., Long, K. J., Oliva, D., Reeves, R. R., Sigurðsson, G. M., Víkingsson, G., Wade, P. R., Williams, R. & Zerbini, A. N., Mar 2021, In: Fisheries Research. 235, 14 p., 105816.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Minding the data-gap trap: exploring dynamics of abundant dolphin populations under uncertainty

    Ashe, E., Williams, R., Clark, C., Erbe, C., Gerber, L. R., Hall, A. J., Hammond, P. S., Lacy, R. C., Reeves, R. & Vollmer, N. L., 18 Feb 2021, In: Frontiers in Marine Science. 8, 10 p., 606932.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Distribution and abundance of sei whales off the west coast of the Falkland Islands

    Weir, C. R., Taylor, M., Jelbes, P. A. Q., Stanworth, A. & Hammond, P. S., 13 Feb 2021, In: Marine Mammal Science. Early view, 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Can we manage marine mammal bycatch effectively in low-data environments?

    Punt, A. E., Siple, M. C., Francis, T. B., Hammond, P. S., Heinemann, D., Long, K. J., Moore, J., Sepúlveda, M., Reeves, R. R., Sigurðsson, G. M., Víkingsson, G., Wade, P. R., Williams, R. & Zerbini, A. N., 3 Jan 2021, In: Journal of Applied Ecology. Early View, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Journal)

    David Ellard Keith Ferrier (Member of editorial board)

    2017 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Journal)

    David Ellard Keith Ferrier (Member of editorial board)

    2014 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Manipulative and technological skills do not require a slow life history

    Breen, A., Sugasawa, S. & Healy, S. D., 9 Feb 2021, In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

  2. Modeling recruitment of birth cohorts to the breeding population: a hidden Markov model approach

    Worthington, H., King, R., McCrea, R., Smout, S. C. & Pomeroy, P., 1 Mar 2021, In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9, 13 p., 600967.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. The shape of species abundance distributions across spatial scales

    Antão, L. H., Magurran, A. E. & Dornelas, M., 7 Apr 2021, In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9, 11 p., 626730.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Social recognition and social attraction in group-living fishes

    Ward, A. J. W., Kent, M. I. A. & Webster, M. M., 2 Feb 2020, In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 8, 16 p., 15.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  5. Young birds switch but old birds lead: how barnacle geese adjust migratory habits to environmental change

    Oudman, T., Laland, K., Ruxton, G., Tombre, I., Shimmings, P. & Prop, J., 9 Jan 2020, In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7, 15 p., 502.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 169907108

Top