Effects On Marine Mammals
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Item 1 07-MAR-1998 12:32 Peter Tuddenham (peter)
Welcome to the Marine Mammals Break-out session. Please check in when you arrive.
Hi, I'm here and interested in how? and if? El Nino has effected the harbor seals,sea lions, and elephant seals... especially those north of San Francisco.
I'm wondering if El Nino has had any effect on Gray Whale migration patterns.
Hello, has the food for these marine mammals decreased and is there a change in the survival of the young mammals?
Several things happen to the food. It goes deep to cooler water; it migrates north to cooler water; or it does not survive the water temperature changes. There is a whole section in the webpages that deals w. In a typical year about 50% of pups do not live past age one. In an El Niņo year, the percentage increases. It is typical for 90-100% of that years pups to not survive. The data on the actual impact of this event will not be available for some time.
Hi, Esther Klein here wondering how the mammals are faring.
We have an adult harbor seal, our first. We never get these animals. Next week we should start to get baby elephants. The others are doing OK. Our baby harbor is out of quarantine. The fur seal is swimming. The sea lions are eating and getting fat.
Cathleen---You might want to contact the Marine Mammal Center in Golden Gate National Park. They have a website but I do not know it. It is my understanding that they are not getting the same impact as those of us here in the Southern California area.
Lynn---a friend of mine is involved in the grey whale census at Point Vicente on Palos Verdes. They have seen large numbers of animals this year. I'm not sure if there is a correlation with El Niņo. The American Cetacean Society may have an answer to that.
In the Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1998, there is an article on the appearence of pelagic red crabs off the southern California coast---"Signs of the Tides". These crabs are one of the indicators of El Niņo conditions. They appear in only the strongest events, traveling on the currents from the south. The crabs are problematic for pinnipeds. They do eat them, but they are not nutritional. They expend energy and do not get much from them. The crabs can also apparently block the intestines of pinnipeds. It will probably be several weeks before their impact becomes apparent in the rehabilitation center. More on this later.
The last week of March saw the arrival of the baby elephant seals arrive. El Nino is impacting the new pups who are trying to find food. And there's only two months of El Niņo to go.