Linking marine predator diving behavior to local prey fields in contrasting habitats in a subarctic glacial fjord Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/xw42n9600

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  • Foraging theory predicts that animals will adjust their foraging behavior in order to maximize net energy intake and that trade-offs may exist that can influence their behavior. Although substantial advances have been made with respect to the foraging ecology of large marine predators, there is still a limited understanding of how predators respond to temporal and spatial variability in prey resources, primarily due to a lack of empirical studies that quantify foraging and diving behavior concurrently with characteristics of prey fields. Such information is important because changes in prey availability can influence the foraging success and ultimately fitness of marine predators. We assessed the diving behavior of juvenile female harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) and prey fields near glacial ice and terrestrial haulout sites in Glacier Bay (58°40′N, −136°05′W), Alaska. Harbor seals captured at glacial ice sites dived deeper, had longer dive durations, lower percent bottom time, and generally traveled further to forage. The increased diving effort for seals from the glacial ice site corresponded to lower prey densities and prey at deeper depths at the glacial ice site. In contrast, seals captured at terrestrial sites dived shallower, had shorter dive durations, higher percent bottom time, and traveled shorter distances to access foraging areas with much higher prey densities at shallower depths. The increased diving effort for seals from glacial ice sites suggests that the lower relative availability of prey may be offset by other factors, such as the stability of the glacial ice as a resting platform and as a refuge from predation. We provide evidence of differences in prey accessibility for seals associated with glacial ice and terrestrial habitats and suggest that seals may balance trade-offs between the costs and benefits of using these habitats.
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  • Womble, J. N., Blundell, G. M., Gende, S. M., Horning, M., Sigler, M. F., & Csepp, D. J. (2014). Linking marine predator diving behavior to local prey fields in contrasting habitats in a subarctic glacial fjord. Marine Biology, 161(6), 1361-1374. doi:10.1007/s00227-014-2424-8
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Erin Clark(erin.clark@oregonstate.edu) on 2014-07-08T21:18:11Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 WombleJamieFisheriesWildlifeLinkingMarinePredator.pdf: 1030169 bytes, checksum: 94abd80e44cac050d678233ea986d80d (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Erin Clark (erin.clark@oregonstate.edu) on 2014-07-08T21:17:43Z No. of bitstreams: 1 WombleJamieFisheriesWildlifeLinkingMarinePredator.pdf: 1030169 bytes, checksum: 94abd80e44cac050d678233ea986d80d (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2014-07-08T21:18:11Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 WombleJamieFisheriesWildlifeLinkingMarinePredator.pdf: 1030169 bytes, checksum: 94abd80e44cac050d678233ea986d80d (MD5) Previous issue date: 2014-06

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