Title

Trophic Levels of North Pacific Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) Through Analysis of Stable Isotopes: Implications on Prey and Resource Quality

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Publication Title

Aquatic Mammals

Keywords

North Pacific, Prey quality, Stable isotopes, Trophic level, Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae

ISSN

0167-5427

Volume

37

Issue/No.

2

First Page

101

Last Page

110

Abstract

Trophic levels of 1,105 humpback whales from six geographically and isotopically distinct North Pacific feeding groups were calculated using δ15N of humpback whales and regional primary consumers. The overall mean trophic level for North Pacific humpback whales was 3.6 ± 0.02, indicating a diet of both fish and zooplankton, and, thus, supporting assumptions of humpback whales as generalist predators. The highest mean trophic level was calculated for the north Gulf of Alaska group (4.0 ± 0.03), while the lowest was found for the Russian and the western Aleutian Islands group (3.3 ± 0.08). Differences in mean trophic levels suggest that feeding groups differ in the proportion of fish and zooplankton in their diets.

Additional Comments

NOAA grant #: NA16FX1270

DOI

10.1578/AM.37.2.2011.101

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