Study shows whales are “ecosystem engineers”
As per a new study, whales have a powerful and positive influence on the function of oceans, global carbon storage, and the health of commercial fisheries. Scientists tallied several decades of research on whales from around the world, have discovered that whales, in fact, make a huge impact on ocean ecosystem.
As per scientists, the population of whales has declined by at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90% which has likely changed the structure and function of the oceans, but recovery is possible and in many cases is already in progress.
“Great whales” which include Baleen and Sperm whales, include the largest animals to have ever existed on Earth. They are the ocean’s ecosystem engineers as they have huge metabolic demands they consume many fish and invertebrates, are themselves prey to other predators like killer whales, and circulate nutrients through the water.
Even their dead remains, excreta, provide habitat for many species that only dwell on these “whale falls.” The biomass and abundance of great whales has been dramatically reduced by commercial whaling.