Interactions between baleen whales and krill

Foraging ecology and predator-prey interactions between baleen (minke and humpback) whales and krill: a multiscale comparative study across Antarctic regions

Little is known about the dynamics of predator-prey interactions and the response of baleen whales to the distribution of their prey in the Antarctic. As a particularly important marine ecosystem (e.g. climate change impacts and international management of marine living resources) research focused on cetacean foraging ecology in the Antarctic represents a critical data gap.

Researchers are using novel tagging technologies combined with traditional scientific hydroacoustic methods to quantify the types and frequency of prey consumed and daily consumption rates of poorly understood yet ecologically integral and recovering krill predators in the Antarctic, the humpback and minke whale. Phase 1 involves collaborators from the USA and Australia, while Phase 2 will potentially include reserachers from Brazil, South Africa and Germany.

The theme leader is Dr Ari Friedlaender.


Papers from this IWC-SORP project submitted to the International Whaling Commission can be found on IWC papers and reports.

'Mysterious bio-duck sound attributed to the Antarctic minke whale' [PDF] (2014) Biology Letters 10: 20140175.

'Distribution and abundance of Antarctic minke whales in sea ice regions of East Antarctica: a summary of results' [PDF] (2014) IWC.

'Extreme diel variation in the feeding behavior of humpback whales along the Western Antarctic Peninsula in autumn' [PDF] (2013) Marine Ecology Progress Series 494: 281-289.

'Humpback whales staying in Antarctic bays later into Autumn' (2012) Duke University-Nicholas School of the Environment News.

'Super-aggregations of krill and humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula' [PDF] (2011) PLoS ONE.

'Study sheds light on ecological ties of whales and krill' (2011) CORDIS Community Research and Development Information Service.

'Biggest ever assemblage of whales isn't necessarily good news' (2011) ScienceNOW.

This page was last updated on 13 November 2019