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Testing optimal foraging theory models on benthic divers


Foo, D and Semmens, JM and Arnould, JPY and Dorville, N and Hoskins, AJ and Abernathy, K and Marshall, GJ and Hindell, MA, Testing optimal foraging theory models on benthic divers, Animal Behaviour, 112 pp. 127-138. ISSN 0003-3472 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.11.028


Empirical testing of optimal foraging models on diving air-breathing animals is limited due to difficulties in quantifying the prey field through direct observations. Here we used accelerometers to detect rapid head movements during prey encounter events (PEE) of free-ranging benthic-divers, Australian fur seals, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus. PEE signals from accelerometer data were validated by simultaneous video data. We then used PEEs as a measure of patch quality to test several optimal foraging model predictions. Seals had longer bottom durations in unfruitful dives (no PEE) than those with some foraging success (PEE ≥ 1). However, when examined in greater detail, seals had longer bottom durations in dives with more PEEs, but shorter bottom durations in bouts (sequences of dives) with more PEEs. Our results suggest that seals were generally maximizing bottom durations in all foraging dives, characteristic of benthic divers. However, successful foraging dives might be more energetically costly (e.g. digestive costs), thus resulting in shorter bottom durations at the larger scale of bouts. Our study provides a case study of how the foraging behaviour of a central place forager foraging in a fairly homogeneous environment, with relatively high travel costs, may deviate from current foraging models under different situations. Future foraging models should aim to integrate other aspects (e.g. diet) of the foraging process for more accurate predictions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:accelerometry, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus, benthic foragers, biologging, marine predators
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Foo, D (Dr Dahlia Foo)
UTAS Author:Semmens, JM (Professor Jayson Semmens)
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:106007
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP110102065)
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-01-24
Last Modified:2018-03-29

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