[MARMAM] New paper: Respiratory behaviors and prey access in sympatric rorqual whales

Eric Keen ericmkeen at gmail.com
Thu Feb 1 13:25:29 PST 2018

*Dear colleagues,On behalf of my co-author I am pleased to announce the
release of the following publication in Journal of Mammalogy:**Keen EM,
Qualls KQ. (2018) *Respiratory behaviors in sympatric rorqual whales: the
influence of prey depth and implications for temporal access to prey. *Journal
of Mammalogy 99(1): 27–40. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx170

Please let me know if you would like a copy.

Best wishes,
Eric Keen


Energetically costly lunge feeding at depth causes the respiratory patterns
and feeding performance of rorqual whales (Family Balaenopteridae) to hinge
in part upon prey patch depth. This contingency has the potential to
precipitate differences in prey preference and habitat suitability for
sympatric species and may be a factor in competitive interactions, but
comparative respiration studies are a necessary first step in assessing
this hypothesis. We concurrently sampled dive behavior in sympatric,
euphausivorous humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and fin whales
(Balaenoptera physalus), as well as prey depth distribution within a
British Columbia fjord system over the course of 2 summers. Ventilation and
dive patterns differed significantly between species, including
differential respiratory response to increasing prey depth, despite their
foraging upon a common prey resource. Thanks to longer dives and shorter
surface recoveries, fin whales spent a greater proportion of their time on
dives. This behavior, coupled with faster swim speeds during descent and
ascent reported in previous studies, afford fin whales greater periods of
time at the depth of their prey. These interspecific discrepancies in dive
behavior determine the whales’ relative temporal access to prey.
Simulations based on our observations indicate that the fin whale’s
relative advantage in this fjord system increases with increasing prey
depth when all other prey parameters are held constant. Simulation results
emphasize the importance of swim speed in rorqual foraging strategy. Small
differences in prey access per dive can have important implications over
the course of a foraging season, which may precipitate differences in
habitat suitability. Our findings, when coupled with the body of knowledge
from tagging studies, highlight this link and point to its potential role
in the habitat preferences of foraging whales.

Eric M Keen <http://www.emkeen.org>

PhD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Captain, RV Bangarang <http://www.rvbangarang.org>  (Instagram:
Co-Founder, International Manatee Day
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