Another ‘pocket-lining’ Australian looking for a grant:
THE core habitat of one of the world’s largest mammals could be halved by the end of the century based on current climate predictions, according to scientists at Murdoch University.
A team of researcher recently investigated the response of Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) to previous climate shifts in order to make predictions about the species future survival.
Historic climate change is known to be a major driver of extinction and population decline, however little research has been conducted into the responses of marine species to rapid climate shift.
Murdoch University expert Dr Tom Gilbert says it is important to identify and plan out which species will need help in the future.
They studied ancient whale DNA from the Pleistocene period (2,588,000 – 11,700 years ago) and coupling it with habitat suitability modelling developed an analysis of population dynamics for the species.
The results document the survival of whale lineages through the Pleistocene-Holocene climate shifts.
The study tested the hypothesis that the bowhead whale would have suffered demographic decline and distribution changes during the Pleistocene period.
Using current climate predictions, the team also estimated that 50 per cent of the whale’s core habitat would be lost by 2100.
He says they were surprised how accurate their predictions were in that the whales would need to move as their habitat moves.
“As bowhead whales moved northwards to escape the impacts of climate shifts, there is evidence of an increase in effective population size as core habitat increased,” Dr Gilbert says.
In contrast, many terrestrial species became extinct during the Pleistocene period, highlighting that response to climate change is likely to be varied depending on species.
Historically the whales, which are highly dependent on sea ice, have survived by following the suitable habitat during climate shifts.
“Its pretty clear that in the past the species was able to move its range,” Dr Gilbert says.
“It is not that surprising as there aren’t really barriers in the marine environment.”
“The energetic cost of movement may also make habitat tracking more feasible for marine species,” says Dr Gilbert.
What is more important are the predictions of how their habitat will change into the future, he says.
“Soon they won’t have any habitat left. No more bowhead whales,” Dr Gilbert says.
If this is what passes for science, I am not surprised that the climate debate has failed the science of warmists. My bold throughout.
It’s more likely the Canberra Whale will become extinct far sooner: WONDER WHALE
Tim Blair – Saturday, May 11, 2013 (3:13pm)
The ABC salutes its fellow tax-funded repulsive behemoth:
The wondrous Skywhale balloon commissioned by the ACT Government to commemorate Canberra’s centenary has taken flight in our nation’s capital.
Skywhale creator Patricia Piccinini comments at the linked clip, but declines to acknowledge any possible inspiration provided by late Labor politician Mal Colston:
Meanwhile, an ominous development to Canberra’s north spells trouble for our whaley friend. Sashimi, anyone?