Climate Change and Cetaceans â€“ an update.
Laetitia Nunny and Mark P. Simmonds
A brief update on the latest literature is provided in the context of predicted and observed reactions from cetaceans to climate change. Increases in sea surface temperature (SST) and other climate-related alterations to ocean conditions in many regions are already influencing cetacean habitat use and prey availability. Some species in some localities seem to be exhibiting an ability to adapt, at least to some extent in the short-term, whilst others, such as the bowhead whale, may have only a limited ability to find alternative habitat. Climate-driven changes act synergistically with other stressors and threats putting further pressure on individual cetacean welfare and the conservation status of populations. Threats may increase in some regions as humans change their behaviour in response to climate change, for example through increased shipping in areas that were previously inaccessible due to sea ice cover. It is time for climate change to be treated as an urgent issue affecting cetacean welfare and conservation.