Rapid Arctic warming drives shifts in marine mammals, new research shows

The ocean update

Beluga whales could face increased competition as climate change affects the Arctic, researchers say. Credit : Laura Morse/Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Beluga whales could face increased competition as climate change affects the Arctic, researchers say. Credit : Laura Morse/Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

December 14th, 2015. New hydrophone surveys of migration gateways to the Arctic show that recent extremes in sea ice loss has opened new waters to humpback and fin whales that once ranged through the far north only in summer. And as climate change drives the ice into further retreat, such “summer” species may begin competing with bowhead whales that once had the habitat to themselves, according to research presented at the Society of Marine Mammalogy’s Biennial Conference in San Francisco this week.

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