Optimal foraging theory predicts diving and feeding strategies of the largest marine predator
AbstractAccurate predictions of predator behavior remain elusive in natural settings. Optimal foraging theory predicts that breath-hold divers should adjust time allocation within their dives to the distance separating prey from the surface. Quantitative tests of these models have been hampered by the difficulty of documenting underwater feeding behavior and the lack of systems, experimental or natural, in which prey depth varies over a large range. We tested these predictions on blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), which track the diel vertical migration of their prey. A model using simple allometric arguments successfully predicted diving behavior measured with data loggers. Foraging times within each dive increased to compensate longer transit times and optimize resource acquisition. Shallow dives were short and yielded the highest feeding rates, explaining why feeding activity was more intense at night. An optimal framework thus provides powerful tools to predict the behavior of free-ranging marine predators and inform conservation studies. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.