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Quasi-planktonic behavior of foraging top marine predators


Della Penna, A and De Monte, S and Kestenare, E and Guinet, C and D'Ovidio, F, Quasi-planktonic behavior of foraging top marine predators, Scientific Reports, 5 Article 18063. ISSN 2045-2322 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1038/srep18063


Monitoring marine top predators is fundamental for assessing the health and functioning of open ocean ecosystems. Although recently tracking observations have substantially increased, factors determining the horizontal exploration of the ocean by marine predators are still largely unknown, especially at the scale of behavioral switches (1-100 km, days-weeks). It is commonly assumed that the influence of water movement can be neglected for animals capable of swimming faster than the current. Here, we challenge this assumption by combining the use of biologging (GPS and accelerometry), satellite altimetry and in-situ oceanographic data (ADCP and drifting buoys) to investigate the effect of the mesoscale ocean dynamics on a marine predator, the southern elephant seal. A Lagrangian approach reveals that trajectories of elephant seals are characterized by quasi-planktonic bouts where the animals are horizontally drifting. These bouts correspond to periods of increased foraging effort, indicating that in the quasi-planktonic conditions energy is allocated to diving and chasing, rather than in horizontal search of favourable grounds. These results suggest that mesoscale features like eddies and fronts may act as a focal points for trophic interactions not only by bottom-up modulation of nutrient injection, but also by directly entraining horizontal displacements of the upper trophic levels.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:behavior ecology, marine mammals, marine predators
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Della Penna, A (Ms Alice Della Penna)
ID Code:106812
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2016-02-22
Last Modified:2016-09-06
Downloads:156 View Download Statistics

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