Meeting Abstract

6-5  Monday, Jan. 4 09:00  Collateral Damage to Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems from Yankee Whaling in the 19th Century DREW, JA*; LóPEZ, EH; GILL, L; MCKEON, M; MILLER, N; STEINBERG, M; SHEN, C; Columbia University; Stanford University; Columbia University; Columbia University; Duke University; Columbia University; Columbia University

During the 19th century American whalers made over a thousand voyages in pursuit of great whales for oil and whalebone. These Yankee whalers undoubtedly had a major impact on the population of the great whales, but these leviathans were not the only taxa that were targeted. Here we describe the taxonomic diversity of the ‘collateral damage’ of the American whaling industry during the 19th century. Using data from 40 whaling logs spanning 48 voyages occurring between 1840 and 1899, we show that Yankee whalers captured over 5085 animals from 34 different taxonomic categories, including a wide range of marine and terrestrial species. The greatest non-great whale species targeted by numbers of individuals were walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), ducks (Anatidae) and cod (Gadus sp.). By biomass, the most targeted species were walruses, grampus (a poorly defined group of Odontoceti) and cod. These results are the first compilation of the diversity of species captured by the American whaling industry and indicate that the ecosystem impacts of whaling extended beyond great whale populations, and reverberated on both marine and coastal environments.