Trends in the maternal investment of harbour porpoises are uncoupled from the dynamics of their primary prey.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Harbour porpoises in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine feed primarily on Atlantic herring. Herring stocks have undergone dramatic fluctuations in abundance over the past three decades due to changes in fishing intensity. In order to understand the effects of these changes in prey abundance on the patterns of maternal investment, I examined interdecadal variation in the size of porpoise calves measured in August prior to weaning. Female harbour porpoises exhibited significant variation in maternal investment between 1970 and 1999. During the 1980s, females consumed more herring and produced larger calves. Surprisingly, however, this increased maternal investment occurred during the period of lowest prey abundance, perhaps because the herring stock assessment does not reflect the availability or quality of prey to female porpoises.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Read, AJ

Published Date

  • March 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 268 / 1467

Start / End Page

  • 573 - 577

PubMed ID

  • 11297173

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1088642

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2954

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-8452

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rspb.2000.1419


  • eng