Biology Letters (2007)

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0298


(…) Based on the evidence of a link between the likelihood of starvation and a lack of sandeels in the diet of porpoises in the Scottish North Sea in spring, we suggested that if climate change has a negative effect on sandeel availability, this could result in more starving porpoises in this area (MacLeod et al. 2007). In their reply, Thompson et al. (2007) raise a number of concerns and suggest that our study may confuse current conservation efforts for porpoises.
In European waters, conservation efforts primarily focus on fishery by-catch, disturbance, biocontaminants, distribution and changes in abundance (Hammond et al. 2002). While impacts of food availability on seabirds have received much attention, little consideration has been given to its effects on porpoises and other small cetaceans. We have been careful to stress that our conclusions were based on a small dataset from a localized area but we argue that highlighting a possible concern worthy of further research is a positive contribution to conservation. (…)