[MARMAM] New publication: Hawaiian monk seal feeding strategies

Sarah Kienle sarah.stachura at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 17:01:24 PST 2019

Dear MARMAM members,

My co-authors and I are excited to share our new manuscript "Hawaiian monk
seals exhibit behavioral flexibility when targeting prey of different size
and shape" published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Kienle SS, Cacanindin A, Kendall T, Richter B, Ribeiro-French C, Castle L,
Lentes G, Costa DP and Mehta RS 2019. Hawaiian monk seals exhibit
behavioral flexibility when targeting prey of different size and
shape. *Journal
of Experi**mental Biology*, jeb-194985.

Abstract: Animals use diverse feeding strategies to capture and consume prey,
with many species switching between strategies to accommodate different
prey. Many marine animals exhibit behavioral flexibility when feeding to
deal with spatial and temporal heterogeneity in prey resources. However,
little is known about flexibility in the feeding behavior of many large
marine predators. Here, we documented the feeding behavior and kinematics
of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal (*Neomonachus
schauinslandi, *n=7) through controlled feeding trials. Seals were fed
multiple prey types (e.g., night smelt, capelin, squid, and herring) that
varied in size and shape to examine behavioral flexibility in feeding.
Hawaiian monk seals primarily used suction feeding (91% of all feeding
trials) across all prey types, but biting, specifically pierce feeding, was
also observed (9% of all feeding trials). Suction feeding was characterized
by shorter temporal events, a smaller maximum gape and gape angle, and a
fewer number of jaw motions than pierce feeding; suction feeding kinematic
performance was also more variable compared to pierce feeding. Seals showed
behavioral flexibility in their use of the two strategies. Suction feeding
was used most frequently when targeting small to medium sized prey and
biting was used with increasing frequency on larger prey. The feeding
kinematics differed between feeding strategies and prey types, showing that
Hawaiian monk seals adjusted their behaviors to particular feeding
contexts. Hawaiian monk seals are opportunistic marine predators and their
ability to adapt their feeding strategy and behavior to specific foraging
scenarios allows them to target diverse prey resources.

I am happy to provide a pdf copy. Please email me directly at:
sarah.stachura at gmail.com.

Sarah Kienle

PhD Candidate
University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(512) 413-6431
sarah.stachura at gmail.com

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get
better.  It's not."   ~The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
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