Navigation Links
Killer whale at risk due to inadequate prey population

Southern resident killer whales, found along the northwest coast of North America, are in trouble mostly because of inadequate prey, the number vessels in their habitat has much less impact, according to work published June 6 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by Katherine Ayres, who completed the work while at University of Washington in Seattle, measured two different hormone levels, fecal thyroid and glucocorticoid, to distinguish between two different theories for the whale's decline. Both measures supported the inadequate prey hypothesis, which suggests that the killer whale is primarily limited by the decrease in the population of Chinook salmon, its major food source, more than the vessel impact hypothesis, which suggests that the animals are psychologically stressed from the high number of vessels in the area.

Ayres explains, "The data support Chinook salmon being a more important driver of physiology than vessel traffic for the Southern resident killer whale population, however vessel traffic may cause added physiological stress during times of low prey availability." Researcher Samuel Wasser concurs, adding, "Recovering their Chinook salmon prey is critical to assure long-term killer whale recovery. Everything, including boats and toxins, matters more when prey is low."

Both nutritional and psychological stress lead to an increase in glucocorticoid levels, while only nutritional stress affects thyroid hormone levels, so measuring both of these levels allowed the researchers to identify which of the two models is correct. The results suggest that whale conservation efforts should focus on salmon population recovery, the authors write.

Contact: Lindsay Morton
Public Library of Science

Page: 1

Related biology news :

1. Young researcher taking fight against global killer to the next level in Vietnam
2. Killer silk: Making silk fibers that kill anthrax and other microbes in minutes
3. Scientists discover a new sensory organ in the chin of baleen whales
4. A whale of a discovery: New sensory organ found in rorqual whales
5. Whale population size, dynamics determined based on ancient DNA
6. Study amplifies understanding of hearing in baleen whales
7. New iPad, iPhone app helps mariners avoid endangered right whales
8. How to make high-end perfumes without whale barf
9. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
10. Giant squids giant eyes: The better to see hungry whales with
11. Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , ... Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary ... Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate the ...      (Logo: ) ... provide their customers enhanced security to access and ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial ... Bready , M.D., who returned to the company in ... leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver ... Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Mass. , June 23, 2016   ... development of novel compounds designed to target cancer ... napabucasin, has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from ... the treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction ... stemness inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased ... received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of ... Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware ... . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together ... built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: