Whales, Interaction Webs, and Zero-Sum Ecology


in Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248847
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933200 | DOI:
Whales, Interaction Webs, and Zero-Sum Ecology

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This chapter begins with a brief summary of experimental studies that identify the importance of employing interaction webs as a format for further discussion of whales and ocean ecosystems. Next, it develops a crucial aspect of the argument that interaction webs provide a legitimate and useful framework, called “zero-sum ecology”. It invokes a mass balance equilibrium, implying that carbon is not being meaningfully sequestered from or released to global ecosystems over time spans appropriate to current whale ecology. The last section discusses a varied set of studies that collectively suggest that whales, including O. orca, at oceanic spatial scales could have played roles analogous to those demonstrated for consumers of secondary production in much smaller, experimentally tractable systems.

Keywords: food webs; whales; ocean ecosystems; mass balance equilibrium; carbon; whale ecology; orca whale

Chapter.  5943 words. 

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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