MEPS 200:297-301 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps200297

Species diversity of the whale community in the Antarctic

Fujio Kasamatsu*

Marine Ecology Research Institute, 3-29, Jinbo-cho, Kanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0051, Japan

ABSTRACT: The impact of commercial exploitation of whales on species diversity in the Antarctic whale community has not yet been documented. I report a correlation between the lowest species diversity and the largest biomass in the high productivity region near the ice-edge. Species diversity was higher and constant in waters beyond 60 n miles (~111 km) away from the ice-edge. Density and biomass showed the opposite trend. Species diversity increased with time in a part of the study area where large whales were depleted, but numbers are now recovering. This suggests that the whale community is moving toward a new balance of species composition during its recovery from past whaling impacts.

KEY WORDS: Cetacean · Distribution · Species diversity · Community · Antarctic · Sightings

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