Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The great God MAY is worshipped again
Sightings of dolphins in Scottish waters up -- and that MAY be due to global warming. But it MAY not be too. Why do science when you can guess? Many marine species show wide population fluctuations from time to time -- usually for unknown reasons. The waters around the British Isles seem to be warming more than waters elsewhere but again nobody knows why. Something to do with cycles in ocean currents, most probably. The only thing clear is that it is NOT a global phenomenon
Encounters with common dolphins off the west of Scotland have more than doubled over a decade, according to experts.
And now research is under way to find out why, with scientists proposing that climate change may have caused the surge in numbers.
Common dolphins were once a rare sight in the Hebrides, preferring warmer waters found further south, leading experts to believe that global warming has led to pods moving north.
Monitoring by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust teams has seen the number of encounters with common dolphins increase by 68 per cent over the past 12 years.
The dolphins come to the Hebrides in spring to take advantage of seasonal food stocks, travelling in large groups and sometimes forming ‘super-pods’ of thousands of individuals.
While they were once drawn to warmer waters above 10°C south of the area, climate change is causing sea surface temperatures in the Hebrides to rise by around 0.5 °C a decade.
And warmer water species appear to be colonising new areas further north or closer to shore, the trust said.
The shift north could be creating new opportunities for the common dolphins to find food in new areas, but may mean the species is competing for fish with other types of dolphin or seabirds.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).