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Blubber fatty acids of minke whales: stratification, population identification and relation to diet
Olsen, E.K.; Grahl-Nielsen , O. (2003). Blubber fatty acids of minke whales: stratification, population identification and relation to diet. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 142: 13-24
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Olsen, E.K.
  • Grahl-Nielsen , O.

Abstract
    We determined the fatty acids in the blubber of 10 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) from the Norwegian Sea and 12 minke whales from the North Sea. The composition of the fatty acids differed between the inner and outer blubber layer. The saturated, the monounsaturated with 20 and 22 carbon atoms and the polyunsaturated fatty acids had higher relative amounts in the inner than in the outer blubber, and the short-chain monounsaturated acids, i.e. with 14,16 and 18 carbon atoms, had the highest relative amounts in the outer layer. The change in relative concentration was steeper in the outer parts of the blubber than in the inner parts. Whales from the two areas had different fatty-acid profiles in both inner and outer blubber layer, although these differences were smaller than the difference between inner and outer layer. The difference between the whales from the two areas corresponds to the management stocks defined by the International Whaling Commission. Determination of the fatty-acid profile may be used for identification of whale populations. The composition of the fatty acids in the blubber differed from that of the main prey of the whales: sand eel for the North Sea whales and herring for the Norwegian Sea whales. These differences between prey and blubber fatty acids were larger for the outer blubber layer than for the inner.

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