Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whales' foraging strategies revealed by new technology

Date:
January 9, 2013
Source:
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Summary:
Despite the many logistical difficulties of studying large whales, multisensor tags attached to the animals with suction cups are revealing their varied foraging techniques in unprecedented detail. These can be related to the animals' anatomy and to the distribution and behavior of their prey.

Marine biologists are beginning to understand the varied diving and foraging strategies of filter-feeding whales by analyzing data from multisensor tags attached to the animals with suction cups. Such tags, in combination with other techniques such as echolocation, are providing a wealth of fine detail about how the world's largest creatures find and trap their prey.

Related Articles


Recent studies on the behavior of baleen whales -- which filter small fish or invertebrate animals from seawater -- are described in the February issue of BioScience. Jeremy A. Goldbogen of the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, and his colleagues point out that tags can report not only the depth but also the acceleration of the animal carrying them, which reveals information on its pitch and rolling motion. Together with special software, this can allow foraging dives to be visualized in three dimensions, along with the timing. Studying whale behavior is logistically challenging, as it may be necessary to coordinate the actions of several research vessels and large research teams. Yet despite the difficulties, patterns are becoming clear.

Right whales and bowhead whales have a very different feeding strategy from rorquals -- the group that includes the biggest animal on earth, the blue whale. Right and bowhead whales filter-feed by swimming relatively slowly through prey patches, a mode called continuous ram feeding. This keeps their energy expenditure low and makes possible dives of 10 minutes or longer, but means they miss out on prey able to take evasive action. Rorquals, in contrast, make high-speed lunges at prey patches that enable them to catch elusive species. They must then pause to filter water engulfed in their large mouths, however, and they have to surface more often to breathe than continuous ram feeders. The new tools available mean researchers can study the efficiency of diving and foraging in different whales and relate it to the availability of prey of different types. Because whales are considered keystone predators that structure oceanic food webs, such insights will shed important light on ocean ecology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Biological Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeremy A. Goldbogen, Ari S. Friedlaender, John Calambokidis, Megan F. McKenna, Malene Simon, and Douglas P. Nowacek. Integrative Approaches to the Study of Baleen Whale Diving Behavior, Feeding Performance, and Foraging Ecology. BioScience, February 2013 (in press) DOI: 10.1525/bio.2013.63.2.5

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Whales' foraging strategies revealed by new technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110606.htm>.
American Institute of Biological Sciences. (2013, January 9). Whales' foraging strategies revealed by new technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110606.htm
American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Whales' foraging strategies revealed by new technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109110606.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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