Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins

Date:
November 21, 2012
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
In the marine world, high-energy prey make for high-energy predators. And to survive, such marine predators need to sustain the right kind of high-energy diet. Not just any prey will do, suggests a new study.

The common dolphin (shown here) and the striped dolphin are similar in size but have very different diets. One eats energy rich prey and the other energy poor species.
Credit: CRMM/University of La Rochelle

In the marine world, high-energy prey make for high-energy predators. And to survive, such marine predators need to sustain the right kind of high-energy diet. Not just any prey will do, suggests a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia and University of La Rochelle, in France.

Published November 21 in the online journal PLOS ONE, the study is the first to show that the survival of whales and dolphins depends on the quality of their diets and this plays an important role in conservation.

"The conventional wisdom is that marine mammals can eat anything," says co-author Andrew Trites, a marine mammal expert at UBC. "However, we found that some species of whales and dolphins require calorie rich diets to survive while others are built to live off low quality prey -- and it has nothing to do with how big they are."

The team compared the diets of 11 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, and found differences in the qualities of prey consumed that could not be explained by the different body sizes of the predators. The key to understanding the differences in their diets was to look at their muscle performance.

"High energy prey tend to be more mobile, and require their predators to spend more energy to catch them," says Trites. "The two have co-evolved."

Jιrτme Spitz, the study's first author, says the research will help better assess the impact of resource changes to marine mammals.

"Species with high energy needs are more sensitive to depletion of their primary prey," says Spitz, a post-doctoral fellow at ULR in France, who completed the research while a visiting scholar at UBC. "It is no longer a question of how much food do whales and dolphins need, but whether they are able to get the right kinds of food to survive."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jιrτme Spitz, Andrew W. Trites, Vanessa Becquet, Anik Brind'Amour, Yves Cherel, Robert Galois, Vincent Ridoux. Cost of Living Dictates what Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises Eat: The Importance of Prey Quality on Predator Foraging Strategies. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e50096 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050096

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121210246.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2012, November 21). Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121210246.htm
University of British Columbia. "Eating right key to survival of whales and dolphins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121210246.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins