The diving behavior of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) was studied using telemetry along the Oregon coast during the 1995 and 1996 breeding seasons and examined in relation to predictions from optimal-breathing models. Duration of dives, pauses, dive bouts, time spent under water during dive bouts, and nondiving intervals between successive dive bouts were recorded. Most diving metrics differed between years but not with oceanographic conditions or shore type. There was no effect of water depth on mean dive time or percent time spent under water even though dive bouts occurred in depths from 3 to 36 m. There was a significant, positive relationship between mean dive time and mean pause time at the dive-bout scale each year. At the dive-cycle scale, there was a significant positive relationship between dive time and preceding pause time in each year and a significant positive relationship between dive time and ensuing pause time in 1996. Although it appears that aerobic diving was the norm, there appeared to be an increase in anaerobic diving in 1996. The diving performance of Marbled Murrelets in this study appeared to be affected by annual changes in environmental conditions and prey resources but did not consistently fit predictions from optimal-breathing models.
Additional publication details
Diving and foraging patterns of Marbled Murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus): Testing predictions from optimal-breathing models