[MARMAM] New publication: Influence of foraging behavior on energy expenditure of California sea lions

Elizabeth McHuron emchuron at ucsc.edu
Thu Apr 5 21:24:38 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of the
following paper in Ecology and Evolution.

E McHuron, SH Peterson, LA Huckstadt, SR Melin, JD Harris, and DP Costa.
2018. The energetic consequences of behavioral variation in a marine
carnivore. Ecology and Evolution.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3983

Intraspecific variability in foraging behavior has been documented across a
range of taxonomic groups, yet the energetic consequences of this variation
are not well understood for many species. Understanding the effect of
behavioral variation on energy expenditure and acquisition is particularly
crucial for mammalian carnivores because they have high energy requirements
that place considerable pressure on prey populations. To determine the
influence of behavior on energy expenditure and balance, we combined
simultaneous measurements of at‐sea field metabolic rate (FMR) and foraging
behavior in a marine carnivore that exhibits intraspecific behavioral
variation, the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Sea lions
exhibited variability in at‐sea FMR, with some individuals expending energy
at a maximum of twice the rate of others. This variation was in part
attributable to differences in diving behavior that may have been
reflective of diet; however, this was only true for sea lions using a
foraging strategy consisting of epipelagic (<200 m within the water column)
and benthic dives. In contrast, sea lions that used a deep‐diving foraging
strategy all had similar values of at‐sea FMR that were unrelated to diving
behavior. Energy intake did not differ between foraging strategies and was
unrelated to energy expenditure. Our findings suggest that energy
expenditure in California sea lions may be influenced by interactions
between diet and oxygen conservation strategies. There were no apparent
energetic trade‐offs between foraging strategies, although there was
preliminary evidence that foraging strategies may differ in their
variability in energy balance. The energetic consequences of behavioral
variation may influence the reproductive success of female sea lions and
result in differential impacts of individuals on prey populations. These
findings highlight the importance of quantifying the relationships between
energy expenditure and foraging behavior in other carnivores for studies
addressing fundamental and applied physiological and ecological questions.

This article is open access and can be accessed here:

Best regards,

Liz McHuron

Elizabeth McHuron, Ph.D.
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Coastal Biology Building
130 McAllister Way
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
emchuron at ucsc.edu
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