Antarctic Nutrient Cycles and Food Webs (1985)

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-82275-9_77


This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of the food habits of the poorly known small cetaceans of the Southern Ocean and presents new information obtained through a study of stranded specimens in Tierra del Fuego. In the Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic, food data are available for only 10 of the 22 species present. Adding to this all the food records known from the South Temperate Zone south of 30° S, there is still no information at all for 5 species (Mesoplodon layardii, M. hectori, M. bowdoini, Cephalorhynchus eutropia and Phocoena dioptrica); that of 8 species is based on fewer than three samples, and more than 10 samples are available for only 2 species (Orcinus orca and Cephalorhynchus commersonii. Since these cetaceans are among the larger animals of the Southern Ocean, their role in the food web of the ecosystem cannot be determined until more information is available.