Newly identified Antarctic Killer Whales at risk

Tue, 2008-08-05 11:07Todd Carmichael
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Newly identified Antarctic Killer Whales at risk

A study in the journal Polar Biology concludes that two recently discovered species of Killer Whale inhabiting the Antarctic sea are at risk due to the effects of global warming at the South Pole.

These fish-eating Killer Whales rely on the ice where fish bunch up in schools in order to evade predators. Scientists are anticipating that as the ice patterns in the Antarctic continue to be altered by climate change, the Killer Whales may not be able to adapt to their new hunting grounds.

Robert Pitman, a study co-author and marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in La Jolla, California states that:

“If there are changes in the amount of ice cover [in the Antarctic] then it means there are going to be changes in the amount of habitat that [the whales] have available to them. And we're not sure how adaptable they are to living in a different kind of habitat.”


On November 8, 2008 Todd will attempt to become the first American in history to reach the South Pole, solo and unaided.

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Scientists hope to refine ocean and climate models using new data collected by underwater robots deployed under Antarctic ice caps by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the California Institute of Technology.

Researchers travelled to the Southern Ocean off Antarctica – one of the most remote and inaccessible oceans in the world – to investigate how warm water is making its way to the ice sheets, causing them to melt.

According to the findings, published...

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