Here comes the neighbourhood: Warm water mammals in UK waters
A new kind of immigrant is being spotted in British seas.
Species of whales, dolphins and seals, which are customarily at home in more tropical waters, are making their way to the UK, perhaps due to rising sea temperatures. If climate change continues to warm British waters, as predicted by scientists, more aquatic mammals will follow their food sources from the warmer climes of Africa and the Pacific all the way to the UK.
The widespread use of digital cameras is making it easier for scientists to confirm such sightings and collect more accurate data.
Animals from the tropics, including the dwarf sperm whale, the pygmy sperm whale, and the Fraser’s dolphin have all made recent appearances here, and the Cuvier’s beaked whale, another warm-water species, has been recorded increasingly regularly in the west of Britain. The melon-headed whale, a squid-loving relative of the killer whale, has been seen in the Channel, off the coast of Brittany. Before too long we may see giants such as the 16-metre gray whale nudging into deep water around Cornwall and into the Irish Sea.
And it’s not just warmer sea temperatures that are affecting the migratory patterns of aquatic mammals. The opening of the Northwest Passage has made it possible for whales to traverse the North Atlantic. Grey whales have also recently been spotted in the Mediterranean for the first time in perhaps 300 years.
For more on the story check out this article in the Guardian