Development of Marine Mammal Health and Ecology in Different Climate Conditions
Collaborative Research: Marine mammals comprise top predators and upper trophic levels in oceanic ecosystems of the world. They are increasingly threatened by various anthropogenic impacts in their marine habitat, e.g. pollution by chemical and pharmaceutical substances, marine litter (plastics and nanoparticles), noise, changes in prey abundance, and climate change. These constraints can have serious implications for the health status of marine mammals through heightened stress response, immune suppression, and higher energy and metabolic demands caused by disturbances that may affect different populations to a varying degree.
Foto: Schädel eines Schwertwals und einzelner Pottwalzahn.
The natural history museums of northern Europe hold unique collections of skeletal parts, frozen and fixed tissue, and parasites of various marine mammal species of the North and Baltic Seas. These materials and associated data sets have been collected over several decades, in some cases centuries, and allow the analysis of different parameters in time and space for changes in health condition and population status of marine mammals over long time periods and in different marine environments.