Deep-ocean predation by a high Arctic cetacean

K.L. Laidre, M.P. Heide-Jørgensen, Ole A Jørgensen, M.A. Treble

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A bioenergetic model for two narwhal (Monodon monoceros) sub-populations was developed to quantify daily gross energy requirements and estimate the biomass of Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) needed to sustain the sub-populations for their 5-month stay on wintering grounds in Baffin Bay. Whales in two separate wintering grounds were estimated to require 700 tonnes (s.e. 300) and 90 tonnes (s.e. 40) of Greenland halibut per day, assuming a diet of 50% Greenland halibut. Mean densities and length distributions of Greenland halibut inside and outside of the narwhal wintering grounds were correlated with predicted whale predation levels based on diving behavior. The difference in Greenland halibut biomass between an area with high predation and a comparable area without whales, approximately 19000 tonnes, corresponded well with the predicted biomass removed by the narwhal sub-population on a diet of 50-75% Greenland halibut. (C) 2004 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)430-440
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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