Diel changes in humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae feeding behavior in response to sand lance Ammodytes spp. behavior and distribution
Friedlaender, Ari S.
Hazen, Elliott L.
Nowacek, Douglas P.
Halpin, Patrick N.
Weinrich, Mason T.
Hurst, Thomas P.
Wiley, David N.
MetadataShow full item record
Humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae have adopted unique feeding strategies to take advantage of behavioral changes in their prey. However, logistical constraints have largely limited ecological analyses of these interactions. Our objectives were to (1) link humpback whale feeding behaviors to concurrent measurements of prey using scientific echo-sounders, and (2) quantify how sand lance behavior influences the feeding behaviors and foraging ecology of humpback whales. To measure, in fine detail, the 3-dimensional orientation and movement patterns of humpback whales underwater, we used a multi-sensor tag attached via suction cups (DTAG). We tested the specific hypothesis that the diel movement patterns of sand lance between bottom substrate and the water column correlates to changes between surface and bottom feeding strategies of humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, MA. We collected over 96 h of both day- and nighttime data from 15 whales in 2006, and recorded 393 surface and 230 bottom feeding events. Individual whales exhibit both surface and bottom feeding behaviors, switching from one to the other in relation to changing light and prey conditions. Surface feeding behaviors were individually variable in their constitution but ubiquitously biased towards daylight hours, when prey was most abundant in the upper portion of the water column. Bottom feeding behavior occurred largely at night, coincident with when sand lance descend to seek refuge in the substrate. Our data provide novel insights into the behavioral ecology of humpback whales and their prey, indicating significant diel patterns in foraging behaviors concurrent with changes in prey behavior.
Author Posting. © Inter-Research, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of Inter-Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Ecology Progress Series 395 (2009): 91-100, doi:10.3354/meps08003.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Watkins, William A.; Daher, Mary Ann; George, Joseph E.; Haga, Scott H. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2000-12)The seasonal distribution of calling ble whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (B. physalus), and singing humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) has been analyzed from acoustic data recorded by the U.S. Navy Sound ...
Evidence of resource partitioning between humpback and minke whales around the western Antarctic Peninsula Friedlaender, Ari S.; Lawson, Gareth L.; Halpin, Patrick N. (2008-09-20)For closely related sympatric species to coexist, they must differ to some degree in their ecological requirements or niches (e.g., diets) to avoid inter-specific competition. Baleen whales in the Antarctic feed primarily ...
Whales and waves : humpback whale foraging response and the shoaling of internal waves at Stellwagen Bank Pineda, Jesus; Starczak, Victoria R.; da Silva, Jose C. B.; Helfrich, Karl R.; Thompson, Michael A.; Wiley, David N. (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-02)We tested the hypothesis that humpback whales aggregate at the southern flank of Stellwagen Bank (SB) in response to internal waves (IWs) generated semidiurnally at Race Point (RP) channel because of the presence of their ...