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- Sound production and associated behavior of tagged fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Southern California Bight
- Background: For marine animals, acoustic communication is critical for many life functions, yet individual calling behavior is poorly understood for most large whale species. These topics are important for understanding whale social behavior and can also serve as a baseline for behavioral studies assessing whale response to disturbance. Using a new technique for identifying the calling individual, we measured body orientation, dive behavior, and surface social behavior in relation to call production for tagged fin whales in Southern California. Results: Behavioral metrics associated with elevated call rates included shallow maximum dive depths (10–15 m), little body movement, negative pitch in body orientation, and moderate body roll. Calling whales were also more likely to be traveling than milling, in groups rather than solitary, and without change in group size compared to non-calling whales. Conclusions: These are the first descriptions of body posture and depths at which fin whales are most likely to call, and some possible sound propagation and/or anatomical reasons for these results are considered. The call behavior characterizations presented here will help in predicting calling behavior from surface behavior, informing interpretation of passive acoustic data, and determining the effects of anthropogenic sound on whales in Southern California.
- Stimpert, DeRuiter, Falcone, Joseph, Douglas, Moretti, Friedlaender, Calambokidis, Gailey, Tyack, Goldbogen
- Multiple-stage decisions in a marine central-place forager
- Air-breathing marine animals face a complex set of physical challenges associated with diving that affect the decisions of how to optimize feeding. Baleen whales (Mysticeti) have evolved bulk-filter feeding mechanisms to efficiently feed on dense prey patches. Baleen whales are central place foragers where oxygen at the surface represents the central place and depth acts as the distance to prey. Although hypothesized that baleen whales will target the densest prey patches anywhere in the water column, how depth and density interact to influence foraging behaviour is poorly understood. We used multi-sensor archival tags and active acoustics to quantify Antarctic humpback whale foraging behaviour relative to prey. Our analyses reveal multi-stage foraging decisions driven by both krill depth and density. During daylight hours when whales did not feed, krill were found in deep high-density patches. As krill migrated vertically into larger and less dense patches near the surface, whales began to forage. During foraging bouts, we found that feeding rates (number of feeding lunges per hour) were greatest when prey was shallowest, and feeding rates decreased with increasing dive depth. This strategy is consistent with previous models of how air-breathing diving animals optimize foraging efficiency. Thus, humpback whales forage mainly when prey is more broadly distributed and shallower, presumably to minimize diving and searching costs and to increase feeding rates overall and thus foraging efficiency. Using direct measurements of feeding behaviour from animal-borne tags and prey availability from echosounders, our study demonstrates a multistage foraging process in a central place forager that we suggest acts to optimize overall efficiency by maximizing net energy gain over time. These data reveal a previously unrecognized level of complexity in predator-prey interactions and underscores the need to simultaneously measure prey distribution in marine central place forager studies. © 2016 The Authors., Cited By :1, Export Date: 27 May 2016, Article
- Friedlaender, Johnston, Tyson, Kaltenberg, Goldbogen, Stimpert, Curtice, Hazen, Halpin, Read, Nowacek