Environmental benefits of whale strandings are being overlooked in coastal regulations, study finds - University of Stirling

The environmental benefits of stranded whale and dolphin carcasses are being undermined by coastal regulations which require remains to be quickly disposed of, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Stirling studied the benefits these carcasses bring, and how they are managed by different authorities around the world. They found that, in most places, the environmental benefits are being overlooked.

Dr Martina Quaggiotto, Lecturer in Ecology in Biological and Environmental Sciences, led the research at the University of Stirling. She said: “Forty per cent of the human population – more than three billion people – now live in coastal areas, putting considerable environmental pressure on the other organisms that live in these areas. Decomposing whale, dolphin and porpoise – collectively known as cetacean – carcasses provide important nutrients to scavengers such as crabs, seabirds and even polar bears. In South America, the reduction in carcasses has changed the behaviour of condors, large birds from the vulture family, who rely on them for food. “They also increase the nutrients in the soil and sediment where they lie.”

Dr Quaggiotto worked with the Universities of Granada and Glasgow, as well as other international institutions, on the research.

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Posted On: 17/02/2022

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