[MARMAM] New paper on optimal foraging in blue whales

Doniol-Valcroze, Thomas Thomas.Doniol-Valcroze at dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Tue Sep 6 11:46:25 PDT 2011

Dear MARMAM members,

We are pleased to announce that the following paper has been published
in Behavioral Ecology:

Doniol-Valcroze T., Lesage V., Giard J. & Michaud R. (2011) Optimal
foraging theory predicts diving and feeding strategies of the largest
marine predator. Behavioral Ecology 22(4): 880-888.

Accurate predictions of predator behavior remain elusive in natural
settings. Optimal foraging theory predicts that breath-hold divers
should adjust time allocation within their dives to the distance
separating prey from the surface. Quantitative tests of these models
have been hampered by the difficulty of documenting underwater feeding
behavior and the lack of systems, experimental or natural, in which prey
depth varies over a large range. We tested these predictions on blue
whales (Balaenoptera musculus), which track the diel vertical migration
of their prey. A model using simple allometric arguments successfully
predicted diving behavior measured with data loggers. Foraging times
within each dive increased to compensate longer transit times and
optimize resource acquisition. Shallow dives were short and yielded the
highest feeding rates, explaining why feeding activity was more intense
at night. An optimal framework thus provides powerful tools to predict
the behavior of free-ranging marine predators and inform conservation

Key words: aerobic dive limit; blue whale; central-place forager;
dive-time budget; feeding behavior; optimal foraging.

Links to the full text versions are available here:

Questions and requests for PDF copies can be addressed to:
thomas.doniol-valcroze at dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Best regards,

Thomas Doniol-Valcroze

Biologist, Marine mammal section
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Maurice-Lamontagne Institute
850, route de la mer
Mont-Joli, QC, Canada G5H 3Z4
Telephone 418-775-0666
Facsimile 418-775-0740

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