Killer whales are moving northward into Pacific Arctic possibly spelling trouble for

first_img By Joshua Rapp LearnJan. 25, 2019 , 1:05 PM Hiroya Minakuchi/Minden Pictures Killer whales are moving northward into Pacific Arctic, possibly spelling trouble for local mammals Orcas aren’t necessarily new to the Chukchi Sea, which lies just north of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia. But the whales were only occasionally seen in the area and only for the warmest few weeks of late July and early August. That may be bad news for marine mammals in these areas, and climate change seems to be to blame.In a new study in Marine Mammal Science, a researcher reports detecting acoustic recordings of the clicks and whistles of killer whales in the Chukchi Sea as early as 1 June, and as late as 16 November. The percentage of days when killer whale calls were detected in the southern Chukchi Sea—from September to November—also increased from about 10% in 2009 to about 30% in 2015.Orcas normally have trouble migrating through areas with lots of ice because of their massive dorsal fins. As far back as 1985, they would have been blocked from access to the Chukchi Sea in June and November as it and the Bering Strait would have been iced over, spending their time farther south in areas such as the Prince William Sound of southern Alaska, pictured here. But warming in the Chukchi has opened up new habitat for the whales during these months. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country This may mean an expanded range for orcas. But previous research has shown the entrance of a new apex predator into other northern ecosystems, such as Canada’s Hudson Bay, can take a bite out of the populations of belugas, bowheads, and narwhals.The same could happen in the Chukchi Sea, according to the study, which also harbors walrus, belugas, bowheads, and, with the increasing loss of sea ice, the occasional swimming polar bear.last_img read more