In recent years, the endangered North Atlantic right whale has effectively abandoned summer feeding grounds in the eastern Gulf of Maine, showing up instead in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, where many were mowed down by ships before officials realized what was happening and impemented a speed ban.
Now scientists appear to have nailed down why they moved. As I reported in yesteday’s Portland Press Herald, the warming of the Gulf of Maine has decimated the copepod the right whales feed on, forcing them to look elsewhere for sustenance. Details in the story.
Scientists have said the right whale could go extinct by 2040, after a spate of deaths. Last year was one of the warmest on record in the Gulf of Maine.
For more on the warming of the Gulf, copepods, and a lot of other context, consider this 2015 series.