The effects of past climate changes on abundance and migration of marine mammals in Polar regions

By professor dr. Per J. Palsböll
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, U.S.A., and Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology, Sweden

Past climate changes have had pronounced effects upon the current distribution, abundance and genetic diversity of populations of marine mammals in the Polar Regions. Here I illustrate what we have learned from genetic analyses of a number of marine mammal species that live part of or the entire year in the Polar Regions, of how different climate change events over the last 2-3 million years have led to speciation events, species expansions into new habitats as well as successive, cyclic changes in abundance of local populations. Climate changes affect not only the extent of the ice cover, but also the annual sea ice dynamics as well as the trajectory and persistence of major ocean currents.
Willem Barentsz Poolinstituut

Bundeling van kennis, onderzoek en onderwijs over de Noord- en de Zuidpool

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