[MARMAM] New Paper: Age-specific foraging performance and reproduction in tool-using wild bottlenose dolphins

Eric Patterson eric.m.patterson at gmail.com
Thu Oct 8 17:36:37 PDT 2015

Dear MARMAM colleagues,
My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our latest

Patterson, E. M., Krzyszczyk, E., Mann, J. (2015) Age-specific foraging
performance and reproduction in wild tool-using bottlenose dolphins.
Behavioral Ecology. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv164.

Effective foraging is necessary for nearly all animals, but most animals
are not born with adult-like foraging performance. Instead, foraging skills
are developed during an individual’s lifetime. Life-history theory predicts
that adult-level foraging performance should be reached prior to the start
of reproduction, but for most species, we know little about age-specific
foraging in the wild. Here, we examine lifetime changes in foraging
performance for a group of female wild bottlenose dolphins that use marine
sponge tools to forage. After controlling for ecological effects and
developmental changes in activity budgets, we show that females continue to
improve in 3 aspects of foraging until a peak at around midlife, well after
dolphins reach physical and sexual maturity. The factors that lead to this
improved performance are unknown, but likely include learning and
increasing physical ability. Dolphins’ peak in foraging performance also
coincided with a peak in reproduction, with middle-aged females maximizing
foraging efficiency and having the highest probability of lactating. Thus,
inadequate mastery of foraging behaviors, such as tool use in bottlenose
dolphins, does not limit the onset of reproduction, but improvement in
foraging skill may help maximize age-specific reproduction and lifetime

If you are unable to obtain a pdf of the complete text through the journal,
please email me directly at eric.m.patterson at gmail.com.

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