Why are whales important?

+16 votes
asked Aug 23, 2015 in Pets & Animals by HazelAquino2 (260 points)
What’s so great about the whales anyway? I mean other than their size. What do they actually do? Seems like the kind of animals that just float around and occupy the ocean. What do they contribute to the ocean? Why are whales important?

3 Answers

+29 votes
answered Sep 6, 2015 by PattiNaranjo (350 points)
Whales are important to the life cycle of the ocean, especially the nutrient cycling. For example, their feces make organic carbon easily accessible to the tiny organism that feeds on them. This includes the planktons or krill that whales eat as their main source of food. If the whale dies, its carcass carry tons of the organic carbons, falling down to the sea bed and become a reservoir for more sea life to thrive on. These carcasses become the main food source that keeps the deep sea environment that tends to not have a bounty of such nutrients. Also, there are the millions of krill and planktons that the whale feed on daily. What happen if you remove the whales from the food chain? There will be too much krill and planktons in the ocean, which means less food for the rest of the organism. As we know, the balance of food chain is important to ensure the balance of the ecosystem, so there is no overpopulation of one species and crowding out of resources for others. With that said, whales are just as important as any other marine animals in the ocean, playing the important role of feeding and maintaining the numbers of small organisms in the ocean.
commented Sep 16, 2015 by MitziBranson (180 points)
Yeah, definitely a significant reason why are whales important.
+7 votes
answered Sep 16, 2015 by kelsey (710 points)
Whales are integral in studying marine mammals. Like dolphins and other mammals of the sea, they are more prone to stress than their fishy counterpart. Biological studies and research are done in whale behavior, their higher intelligent, environmental impact and many others that could assist scientists in understanding these gentle giants. Like any other marine mammals, whales need to develop a healthy social life for their survival, often traveling in hordes to live together, also similar to that of elephants and primates. Furthermore, they have a complex method of communication through their echolocation, a language that we humans might be able to learn to communicate with them. The understanding this language might further our own understanding of how human language works like if whales have accents or different language if they are from different part of the world. This echolocation too has been implemented in various technology, such as sonar and how sound works in the different environments. We still have plenty to learn from them.
+2 votes
answered Sep 9, 2015 by RalfChauncy (300 points)
We can’t deny that whales are a lucrative source for business, so for me that’s why are whales important because they are now part of our economy. Whale watching, which attracts tourist every year to places such as the Scottish Isles or the western coast of Canada, generating US $413 millions in marine tourism annually (including the boost to the local economy as well). We all heard the news of how Japan whaling practice is being put to a stop, to little success anyway, which is also part of the Japan economy of whale meat trade and part of their culture as well. There is also Orcas being displayed and doing performances in Sea Worlds around the world, such as the famous Shamu the whale. The industry around whales materials are pretty huge too, their poop sought for in production in perfumes, containing Ambergris that gives the off the fragrance once aged. So whales have brought in billions in stimulating the economy.
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