When a whale dies and sinks, its carcass creates an entire ecosystem on the ocean floor, nourishing thousands of organisms. Ocean pollution affects this process and disrupts the food chain, impacting species from krill to whales.
Whales are some of the longest living mammals on the planet, with lifespans from 10 to 200 years. When a whale dies and sinks, its carcass on the ocean floor, called a “whale fall,” creates an entire ecosystem. This massive food source supports a wide range of wildlife. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of organisms and animal species are sustained by a single whale fall for decades–from scavengers eating the soft tissue to microbes living off the skeleton. Scientists believe that whale falls and the resulting deep-sea species that colonize the ocean floor are essential components to a healthy ocean and a healthy planet. Global warming and pollution are altering ocean chemistry and many oceanic processes like this one, leading to massive disruptions in the food chain and impacting myriad ocean species from krill to whales.
“Whale Fall Feast invites players into a surprising and transformative recognition of oceanic aliveness, while not forgetting the many ways our current modes of producing, consuming, and wasting endanger that vast and vital part of our planet. Moving through the ecological diversity and nutritional bonanza that every whale death generates, players will learn about the ocean’s extraordinary creatures and processes and be inspired to honor, emulate, and above all safeguard nature’s generative ways.”Una Chaudhuri, Dear Climate