[MARMAM] New publication: Cheap gulp foraging of a giga-predator enables efficient exploitation of sparse prey

Simone Kristine Alexandra Videsen simone.videsen at bio.au.dk
Fri Jul 14 00:30:20 PDT 2023

Dear MARMAM community,

We are pleased to share our recent publication in Science Advances:

Videsen SK, Simon M, Christiansen F, Friedlaender A, Goldbogen J, Malte H, Segre P, Wang T, Johnson M, Madsen PT. Cheap gulp foraging of a giga-predator enables efficient exploitation of sparse prey. Science Advances. 9 (25) : eade3889.

The giant rorqual whales are believed to have a massive food turnover driven by a high-intake lunge feeding style aptly described as the world's largest biomechanical action. This high-drag feeding behavior is thought to limit dive times and constrain rorquals to target only the densest prey patches, making them vulnerable to disturbance and habitat change. Using biologging tags to estimate energy expenditure as a function of feeding rates on 23 humpback whales, we show that lunge feeding is energetically cheap. Such inexpensive foraging means that rorquals are flexible in the quality of prey patches they exploit and therefore more resilient to environmental fluctuations and disturbance. As a consequence, the food turnover and hence the ecological role of these marine giants have likely been overestimated.

Best regards,

Simone K. A. Videsen
Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Biology - Zoophysiology
Aarhus University
Marine Bioacoustics lab
Simone.videsen at bio.au.dk

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