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When a two-day old Hawaiian monk seal named Kauai Pup 2, or KP2, is attacked and abandoned, environmental officials must decide whether to save the new-born animal or allow nature to take its course. Being one of only 1100 remaining Hawaiian monk seals, and facing certain extinction within 50 years, this decision is a particularly difficult one. KP2 is soon rushed on a journey, taking him across the ocean and into the lab of eminent wildlife biologist Dr. Terrie M. Williams, an expert who refuses to give up on KP2 and his species.
This unprecedented volume presents a sweeping picture of what we know about the natural history, biology, and ecology of whales in the broad context of the dynamics of ocean ecosystems. Innovative and comprehensive, the volume encompasses multiple points of view to consider the total ecological impact of industrial whaling on the world's oceans. Combining empirical research, ecological theory and modeling, and historical data, its chapters present perspectives from ecology, population biology, physiology, genetics, evolutionary history, ocean biogeography, economics, culture, and law, among other disiplines. Throughout, contributors investigate how whaling fundamentally disrupted ocean ecosystems, examine the various roles whales play in food webs, and discuss the continuing ecological chain reactions to the depletion of these large animals. In addition to reviewing what is known of the current and historic whale populations, Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems considers how this knowledge will bear on scientific approaches to conservation and whaling in the future and provocatively asks whether it is possible to restore ocean ecosystems to their pre-whaling condition.
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