Krill are tiny shrimp-like creatures on which baleen whales feast. Between 1910 and 1970, man depleted the Antarctic whale population by some 1.5 million baleen whales. A team of NSF-funded researchers, have found the decrease in whale population is also causing depletion of krill populations, impacting the health and productivity of ocean ecosystems. Learn more at NSF's "The Discovery Files."
Credit: National Science Foundation
Hi! I'm Mo Barrow with The Discovery Files, from NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Ah! Beautifully haunting whale sound!
But did you know that between 1910 and 1970, man depleted the Antarctic whale population by some 1.5 million baleen whales?
You might think that for krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures on which baleen whales feast, extermination of whales would be a boost. Not so!
A team of NSF-funded researchers, led by Stanford University, have found that the human-caused decrease in whale population is also causing depletion of krill populations, which impacts the health and productivity of ocean ecosystems.
By using tagging and aerial drone surveys, the research team is studying blue, fin, humpback and minke whales to assess the amount of food they take in -- in a single, gargantuan gulp. This helps us understand the impact current populations have on the ecosystem.
A half-century after whaling was outlawed, scientists are still learning the consequences of such a devastating loss but are also researching ways to bring the whales back and restore ocean ecosystems.
Perhaps we find whale sound so haunting because we were getting the message.
Discover how the U.S. National Science Foundation is advancing research at nsf.gov.
"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.
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