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The humpback in a changing world. The indirect effects of global warming induced phytoplankton changes on humpbacks.

Reijden, K.J. van der (2011) The humpback in a changing world. The indirect effects of global warming induced phytoplankton changes on humpbacks. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

Since the stop of whaling in 1967, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations are slowly recovering. Still the humpbacks face many threats and global warming is predicted to cause even more threats. Many experiments have been done on phytoplankton and the reaction to changed abiotic factors, but the reaction to higher throphic levels is unclear. Here these indirect effects of global warming induced phytoplankton changes to humpbacks is studied. In this thesis I found that indirect effects of global warming on phytoplankton to humpbacks can become a serious threat, with two pathways in special: a trophic mismatch and declining krill populations. Humpbacks are known for their migration from breeding grounds in the low latitudes towards the feeding grounds in high latitudes. Global warming is causing earlier chlorophyll peaks in the Arctic feeding sites. Earlier spring blooms can cause earlier zooplankton and fish peaks. Especially females with newborn calves have a higher risk for this mismatch, since they leave the breeding areas the latest. In the Antarctic, phytoplankton community composition is shifting towards smaller species, which are less efficient grazed by krill. A decline in krill population is therefore expected. Other global warming induced factors, like melting ice cover and declining chlorophyll concentrations can only amplify this decline. Beside changes in the food chain, global warming is likely to cause other threats. Human activities in the Arctic will increase leading to more pollution and noise. Pathogenes will probably increase, with as result a decline in humpback health. All threats together can be disastrous for the humpback.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:45
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:45
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9633

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