Research Update: Baleen whale prey consumption based on high-resolution foraging measurements
Posted January 10, 2022
An estimated 1.5 million baleen whales that lived in the waters of the Southern Ocean were killed between 1910 and 1970. Now, a recent NSF-funded study showed a surprising result: along with the decline of baleen whales, was a decline of their predominant food source - krill.
In a new study published in Nature, researchers used tagged whales with acoustic measurements of prey density to calculate the prey consumption of baleen whales. In the Southern Ocean, researchers calculate that pre-whaling populations of baleen whales annually consumed 430 million tons of Antarctic krill, twice the current estimated total biomass.